Should You Avoid Rice?

You may have seen a news story recently about arsenic in rice and how you should not feed your baby rice cereal as their first food. Well, I just want to bring some perspective to this.

First is there arsenic in rice? Yes. However, according to Professor John Duxbury, a well-known expert on arsenic in rice at Cornell University, we normally take in small amounts of arsenic in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Arsenic is found not only in rice but many other food products including seafood, poultry, juices, coffee, beer, cheese, vegetables, bread and chocolate.

There are ‘species’ of arsenic, which can be in either organic or inorganic. Generally, the inorganic forms are considered to be more toxic as studies show that acute short-term or chronic long-term exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic can cause adverse cancerous and non-cancerous effects. Because rice is generally grown submerged in water, arsenic in both the soil and water can increase concentrations in the rice plant so the total arsenic content in rice depends on the degree of arsenic contamination of irrigation water and soil. So, as with every other food, knowing the source is the most important thing, followed by proper preparation.

I always recommend soaking grains and seeds in pure water to deactivate phytates, and in this case soaking also reduces arsenic content, particularly inorganic, the most dangerous type.

As for rice cereal as baby’s first food, an entirely different study has now shown that starting baby on meat or eggs is a much safer and better option. Experts now say that rice cereal is not a healthy first food for babies as it is a very high glycemic food when eaten alone, contains high amounts of double sugar molecules, which are extremely hard for such an immature digestive system to digest since the small intestine of a baby mostly produces only lactase for digestion of the lactose in milk. It produces little to no amylase, which is the enzyme needed for grain digestion until about one year old.

So not feeding your baby rice cereal as a first food has less to do with the arsenic content in rice than it does in choosing a lower glycemic first food.

How often do you and your family eat rice?


About amusico

I am a holistic health coach and independent nutritional consultant. All my coaching plans are based on my 3-D Living program and a big part of that are the Youngevity Products and Supplements I proudly offer! Visit my website at and learn more about the products and my coaching plans!
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8 Responses to Should You Avoid Rice?

  1. Interesting. We don’t eat rice often — maybe 2x per month.

    Have a Victorious Day!

  2. Lynne Watts says:

    Ann, I’m so glad you answered this question because as with everything you hear on the news I never know what it means or what to do about it. I probably eat eat rice about once a week. How long do you soak the rice in the water? Thanks for the info!

  3. Claudia Good says:

    Nice post Ann!
    We don’t eat rice all that often… but I know if I don’t soak it doesn’t settle in my belly as well…
    I did start Jude off on eggs and meat, fruit and veggies and have now gone to grains. I especially love oatmeal soaked overnight!

  4. Cam says:

    My wife and I rarely eat rice.

    For a while, she was allergic to it; however, after starting the to oxygenate our bodies each morning, many of her allergies and food sensitivities have gone away — including the rice.

    Thanks for this info. While we are at least a year out before having any children, this is good information to keep in mind for the future. 🙂


  5. We were on our fair share of rice based products for awhile with our gluten free regimen here, but we’re not on it as much anymore. We’d heard the concern about arsenic, but honestly, we didn’t pay it too much attention since we don’t eat it much anymore. Thanks for the reminder on soaking grains. I like dried beans and always soak them.

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