Forget about carbs. The next time you want to enjoy a meal that includes rice—a steaming bowl of it perhaps, or some rice pasta or rice drink—think about this: A study by Consumer Reports says that eating rice once a day can increase the arsenic levels in your body by at least 44 percent.
The study surveyed more than 60 different rice products ranging from infant cereals to rice pasta and rice drinks and found “worrisome” levels of inorganic arsenic in most of the products. Others suggest, however, the levels are not cause for concern.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, inorganic arsenic has been linked to liver, bladder, and lung cancer.
The Consumer Reports study found that white rice had lower levels of arsenic compared to brown rice, and that rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, generally had higher levels of arsenic.
The lead scientist on the Consumer Reports study, Urvashi Rangan, says it’s not meant to scare people; rather, Rangan hopes it will lead to the Food and Drug Administration coming up with guidelines for acceptable arsenic levels in rice products.
FDA officials say they have found no evidence that rice is unsafe to eat thus far.
The Washington Post:
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says consumers shouldn’t stop eating rice, though she does encourage a diverse diet just in case.
“Our advice right now is that consumers should continue to eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of grains — not only for good nutrition but also to minimize any potential consequences from consuming any one particular food,” she said.
...The FDA will not complete its study until the end of the year, Hamburg said, and cannot draw any conclusions from the results until then.