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Nutrition Q: Rice and arsenic (Read 64 times)

mucknort


    I use rice in a large part of my diet. I have one of those "fuzzy logic" rice cookers and the rice comes out perfect everytime.  Lunch for me often includes rice and peanut sauce (w/ chopped up pickles, spinach, onions, sometimes chicken). I've found you can dump other liquids in to cook with the rice besides water that work great, like soup stock or vegetable juice.

     

    My question is this. Anyone know the real skinny on rice and arsenic. Yes, I rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking and I've read that for some reason rice grown in CA is healthier than rice from other states. I'm a bit concerned (especially since my 14 y.o. likes it, too), but I haven't heard of any outrageous stories of Arsenic poisoning in Asian countries where rice is a huge staple. Any rice experts around here? Just more media hype?

     

    Thanks!

      Here's what I've read and understand:

      Rice apparently absorbs arsenic more effectively than most plants, in part because it's grown in lots of water--and a lot of the rice produced in the US is grown in places where a lot of arsenic-laden pesticide was used on cotton. In even small amounts, arsenic can do things like damage the brain, nerves, blood, blood vessels, heart and skin. It can also cause birth defects and cancer. So yea, bad news.

       

      Brown rice, it turns out, has on average more arsenic than white rice. Bummer. One thing you can do, though, is cook brown rice like you might cook pasta, in lots of water--and then drain the water off. That can lower arsenic levels. Also, imported basmati and jasmine rices can have about half to one-eighth the level of arsenic as regular rices grown in the Southern U.S.

       

      All in all, until a large scale epidemiological study can be done, the Consumer Reports study is probably one to listen to. I like rice too, but after reading the reports cutting back to 1-1.5 cups of cooked rice per week is what I'm going to do. (That's the amount they say you can safely consume - 1 cup for kiddos, 1.5 for adults)

       

      Hope that helps!

      They'll tell you that failure is not an option.  That's ridiculous.  Failure is always an option.  It is the easiest and most readily available option.  It's your choice though.

        I just did a quick google search and yea, it seems that California's rice is less evil:

         

        But some test results indicate that brown rice from California and India have much lower levels of arsenic than brown rice from Southern U.S. states. For now, they may be the best choice.

         

        Choose California. Of the domestic rices tested by Consumer Reports, California rices had lower levels of arsenic than those in other states. FDA rice results also indicated that some U.S. rice had lower levels of arsenic, but the data it released to the public did not specify states of origin.

        They'll tell you that failure is not an option.  That's ridiculous.  Failure is always an option.  It is the easiest and most readily available option.  It's your choice though.

        Luke79


          So many things are bad for you in some way, somehow.  Whatevs.  I just eat fucking rice.

           

           

           

           

           

           


          Bad Ass

            Will the same levels of arsenic exist in organic brown rice?

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              Brown basmati rice from India. Well rinsed and cooked in lots of water.

               

              Tastes yummy and apparently has less arsenic. I just eat it because it's not

              white rice and tastes good.   Less arsenic is a bonus.

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                It's an interesting question. It seems that arsenic comes into effect because of its presence in the water in which its grown. While the organic rice itself isn't treated with pesticides, unless the land (and water) around hasn't been exposed to any pesticides, I would think levels would be similar to non-organic rice. That's just a guess, though.

                 

                Will the same levels of arsenic exist in organic brown rice?

                They'll tell you that failure is not an option.  That's ridiculous.  Failure is always an option.  It is the easiest and most readily available option.  It's your choice though.

                mucknort


                  Thanks for the comments, all! Our supermarket has organic brown and organic basmati, both from CA, which is what I mainly use. Still, I eat like 3 to 6 cups (or more) a week. Bums me up.