Snap, Crackle, Arsenic?

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Recent Blog Entries From Dr. Dave Hnida


Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorTalk about a report to add a little anxiety to your life: Consumer Reports has published a study showing possibly unacceptable levels of arsenic in 60 common foods, all the way from rice cereals to baby food made with rice.

So, you see the common denominator — rice. And the hazard? Arsenic. Most of us eat rice in some way, shape, or form regularly, so does this mean you are slowly being poisoned?

Arsenic is a known carcinogen, or cancer-causer. But we don’t know how much arsenic it takes or how much you need to consume or how long a period of time it takes to consume it to have a risk.

Frankly, arsenic is commonly found in a lot of foods. Thats because it’s commonly found in air, soil, and especially water. And its the water part that’s the big issue.

You see, other grains contain arsenic, but rice has a little more, mainly because it is grown and harvested in water. So it may absorb more arsenic than other grains, or other foods for that matter.

Now the FDA says, yeah, we know there is arsenic in rice. But calm down, we’re tested more than 1,200 products and find arsenic levels have remained stable in these products for more than 20 years.

That’s nice, but I don’t care about stable levels. I want to know if any  level is bad for me. The FDA says they are ready to release their findings on 200 of those 1200 products … and “we’ll get back to you” after further analysis.

That doesn’t help me or you right now. The rice people say don’t worry. Consumer Reports says maybe there is a worry. I say, I just don’t know, but perhaps until there’s more info, you should play it safe so you don’t worry.

Heres a nice little guide developed by a group of science people that may help. Basically, it says rice is nice, but limit.

ADULTS:

Hot cereal, 2-1/2 servings per week

Cold cereal, 3 servings per week

Rice drinks, 1/2 serving per day (1 cup per serving)

Rice, 2 servings per week (white better than brown, plus rinse rice thoroughly before cooking and use 6 cups of water to cook 1 cup of rice, draining excess water after cooking)

Rice crackers, 16-18 crackers per day

Rice cakes, 2-1/3 servings per week (1-3 cakes per serving)

 KIDS:

 Infant cereal, 1 serving per day (about 3/4 cup uncooked)

 Cold cereal, 1-1/2 servings per week (1 cup per serving)

 Rice drinks, not recommended for children

  Rice, 1-1/4 servings per week (1/4 cup per serving uncooked)

  Rice crackers, 8-9 per day

It’s a lot of info, and a lot to consider. At this point dont freak, but I admit I’m waiting for more info before giving rice the all clear.

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