Dr Oz: Is There Arsenic In Rice?
Dr. Oz started his show by saying that a few years ago, a lot of controversy resulted after it was revealed that there was arsenic in apple juice. Now Consumer Reports is reporting that arsenic has been found in rice. So why is one of natures most dangerous poisons in one of the most common foods?
When they investigated arsenic in apple juice, it paved the way for the FDA to form a proposal to set a limit on arsenic in apple juice. Now, Consumer Reports has widened their investigation, and took nearly 700 samples of rice and rice products. What they found was that some of the rice grown right here in America, had some of the highest levels of inorganic arsenic, which is the most harmful form.
Consumer Reports also looked at other grains like quinoa, millet and amaranth, and found they all had significantly lower levels of arsenic as compared to rice. Dr. Oz wanted to share all the information you need to.
Dr Oz: Arsenic In Rice
Dr. Oz sat down with Urvashi Rangan from Consumer Reports, who explained that they’ve been looking at rice since 2012, ever since the first investigation. She said the main points of the investigation were that rice from the south central U.S., states like Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, tends to be higher in arsenic than rice from other places, and brown rice also tends to have more arsenic in it than white rice.
Urvashi said rice is one of the commodities that likes to take up arsenic if it’s already there in the environment, and because it’s grown in water-flooded fields or conditions that lack oxygen, which are conducive environments for taking up arsenic. Rice is one of the top foods that seems to take up arsenic.
Dr Oz: Brown Vs White Rice
Dr. Oz wanted to explain more why brown rice is affected more than white rice. He said brown rice is better for you because white rice is brown rice that has had the outer shell removed. The shell is where the bran is, and what gives us fiber. Brown rice keeps the outer layer in tact, and it’s in that outer layer that arsenic is present. Dr. Oz said he’s especially concerned because he recommends brown rice on his show all the time.
Dr. Oz talked to a woman in the audience who said it was distressing because she and her family eat brown rice all the time. Another woman said she has a toddler at home, and to find out that he could be ingesting arsenic is frightening.
Dr Oz: Foods With High Levels Of Arsenic
Consumer Reports broke down rice into specific categories from highest to lowest levels of arsenic. Urvashi explained that they looked at a lot of different rice products and found high levels of arsenic in products like brown rice, hot rice cereal, rice bran cereal, brown rice pasta, brown rice cakes, and rice milk. One to two servings per adult will put them right at or over the recommended weekly limit of arsenic.
Dr Oz: Rice Products Low In Arsenic
Next, Urvashi explained that white basmati rice from areas like California, Pakistan, or India tends to be lower in arsenic. Sushi rice in general also tends to be lower in arsenic. She said you could actually have four and a half servings of those types of rice. She then explained if you want brown rice, she suggested you eat brown basmati rice from California, India, or Pakistan.
Urvashi explained that you can’t tell if arsenic is in the rice you’re eating because there are no labels for it and there are no standards for it.
Dr Oz: How To Avoid Eating Arsenic
Dr. Oz said he realized that asking people to stop eating rice isn’t the way to go. Instead, you should wash the rice your buy thoroughly before cooking it. Put it in water, shake it around a few times. You should also boil one cup of rice in six cups of water in order to cook it like pasta. Drain the excess water after cooking, and that can help lower the amount of arsenic in rice by up to half.
Lastly, vary the grains you’re eating and try substituting rice for quinoa, millet, or amaranth. Urvashi explained that the U.S. government has assessed about 1,200 different products to measure arsenic levels. She said that helped lead them to their recommendations. The government is now looking at the data to figure out what the risk actually is.
Dr Oz: USA Rice Federation Statement
Dr. Oz reached out to the USA Rice Federation who released the following statement:
“Research conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Rice Industry shows arsenic levels found in U.S.-grown rice are below safe maximum levels established this year by the World Health Organization.”
Urvashi explained that arsenic is a very potent leukemogen and there is no safe amount of arsenic. She said at the global level they are trying to set a standard, which she thinks is great, but the standard they set is not a threshold of safety. She said they’re limit is far lower than what was set at the global level, and they think rices can achieve that lower level. She said at the end of the day, lower arsenic is better.
Dr. Oz called for the FDA to take a closer look at the levels of arsenic in rice to protect our families from the toxic element.