Which Rice Has Less Arsenic: Black, Brown, Red, White, or Wild?

Which Rice Has Less Arsenic: Black, Brown, Red, White, or Wild?
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Brown rice contains more arsenic than white, but the arsenic in brown rice is less absorbable, so how does it wash out when you compare the urine arsenic levels of white-rice eaters to brown-rice eaters?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Arsenic in rice is “a cause for concern,” according to a consensus statement of the “European and North American [Societies] for Pediatric…Nutrition.” In the very least, wherever people eat a lot of rice, “authorities should be prompted to declare which of the rice [types] have the lowest arsenic content and are, therefore, the least harmful for use during infancy and childhood.”

Extensive recent testing by the FDA found that long-grain white rice, which is what most people eat, appears to have more arsenic than medium- or short-grain rice. But this may just be because most of the shorter grains are produced in California, which has significantly less contaminated rice paddies than those in the south, like Texas or Arkansas, where most of the long-grain rice is grown. So, it’s less long versus short, than white versus brown.

What about some of the naturally pigmented varieties, like red rice or black rice, which may be even healthier than brown? They may have even less than white! That’s exciting. One sample of black rice from China, purchased in Kuwait, had higher levels. But that’s for total arsenic; so, the toxic inorganic portion may only be half that, putting it on par with U.S. brown rice, which makes how low this red rice sample from Sri Lanka even more extraordinary. But, it had a ridiculous amount of cadmium, attributed to the cadmium content of widely used Sri Lankan fertilizers, evidently.

Though colored rice samples purchased mostly in the U.S. were better than brown or white, a dozen samples of red rice purchased in Europe were as bad as brown, or worse. I was hoping that wild rice would have little or none, since it’s a totally different plant, but an average of eight samples put it nearly comparable to white, though containing only about half as much toxic arsenic as brown.

Yes, the arsenic found in a daily serving of white rice carries a hundred times the acceptable cancer risk—136 times to be exact. But brown rice is even riskier. Brown rice averages two-thirds more toxic arsenic than white rice. But is that just because brown rice tends to be a different strain, or grown in different places? No. If you take the exact same batch of brown rice, and measure the arsenic levels before and after polishing it to white, you do get a significant drop in arsenic content.

But it’s not what you eat; it’s what you absorb. And the arsenic in brown rice appears less bioavailable than the arsenic in white rice. Maybe because the texture of brown rice cuts down on the release of arsenic from the grain? Or, maybe because the bran in brown rice helps bind it up? Regardless, instead of this—taking bioavailability into account—the difference may be more like this: a third more, rather than 70% more. But this was based on an “in vitro gastrointestinal fluid system,” where they just strung together beakers and tubes to mimic our gut: like one flask with stomach acid, then another with intestinal juices. See, the problem is that it’s never been tested in humans—until now. Yes, “brown rice may contain more arsenic than white rice.” But how about just measuring the urine levels of arsenic in white rice-eaters compared to brown rice-eaters? That shows how much you actually absorbed. For the arsenic to get from the rice into your bladder, it has to be absorbed through your gut into your bloodstream.

So, if you test the urine of thousands of Americans who don’t eat rice at all, they’re still peeing out about eight micrograms of toxic, carcinogenic arsenic a day. It’s in the air; it’s in the water; there’s a little bit in nearly all foods. But, eat just one food—a cup or more of white rice a day—and your exposure shoots up 65%.

Okay. But, what about those who eat a cup or more a day of brown rice, which technically contains even more arsenic? Your exposure shoots up the same 65%. No difference between the urine arsenic levels of white rice-eaters compared to brown rice-eaters. Now, this was not an interventional study, where they feed people the same amount of rice to see what happened, which would have been ideal. This was a population study. So, maybe the reason the levels are the same is that white rice-eaters eat more rice than brown rice-eaters. So, that’s why they ended up with the same levels? We don’t know, but it should help to put the minds of brown rice-eaters at rest. But, would it be better to eat no rice at all?

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Marco Galtarossa and Yasir Bugra Eryimaz from The Noun Project.

Image credit: IRRI Images via Wikimedia Commons. Image has been modified.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Arsenic in rice is “a cause for concern,” according to a consensus statement of the “European and North American [Societies] for Pediatric…Nutrition.” In the very least, wherever people eat a lot of rice, “authorities should be prompted to declare which of the rice [types] have the lowest arsenic content and are, therefore, the least harmful for use during infancy and childhood.”

Extensive recent testing by the FDA found that long-grain white rice, which is what most people eat, appears to have more arsenic than medium- or short-grain rice. But this may just be because most of the shorter grains are produced in California, which has significantly less contaminated rice paddies than those in the south, like Texas or Arkansas, where most of the long-grain rice is grown. So, it’s less long versus short, than white versus brown.

What about some of the naturally pigmented varieties, like red rice or black rice, which may be even healthier than brown? They may have even less than white! That’s exciting. One sample of black rice from China, purchased in Kuwait, had higher levels. But that’s for total arsenic; so, the toxic inorganic portion may only be half that, putting it on par with U.S. brown rice, which makes how low this red rice sample from Sri Lanka even more extraordinary. But, it had a ridiculous amount of cadmium, attributed to the cadmium content of widely used Sri Lankan fertilizers, evidently.

Though colored rice samples purchased mostly in the U.S. were better than brown or white, a dozen samples of red rice purchased in Europe were as bad as brown, or worse. I was hoping that wild rice would have little or none, since it’s a totally different plant, but an average of eight samples put it nearly comparable to white, though containing only about half as much toxic arsenic as brown.

Yes, the arsenic found in a daily serving of white rice carries a hundred times the acceptable cancer risk—136 times to be exact. But brown rice is even riskier. Brown rice averages two-thirds more toxic arsenic than white rice. But is that just because brown rice tends to be a different strain, or grown in different places? No. If you take the exact same batch of brown rice, and measure the arsenic levels before and after polishing it to white, you do get a significant drop in arsenic content.

But it’s not what you eat; it’s what you absorb. And the arsenic in brown rice appears less bioavailable than the arsenic in white rice. Maybe because the texture of brown rice cuts down on the release of arsenic from the grain? Or, maybe because the bran in brown rice helps bind it up? Regardless, instead of this—taking bioavailability into account—the difference may be more like this: a third more, rather than 70% more. But this was based on an “in vitro gastrointestinal fluid system,” where they just strung together beakers and tubes to mimic our gut: like one flask with stomach acid, then another with intestinal juices. See, the problem is that it’s never been tested in humans—until now. Yes, “brown rice may contain more arsenic than white rice.” But how about just measuring the urine levels of arsenic in white rice-eaters compared to brown rice-eaters? That shows how much you actually absorbed. For the arsenic to get from the rice into your bladder, it has to be absorbed through your gut into your bloodstream.

So, if you test the urine of thousands of Americans who don’t eat rice at all, they’re still peeing out about eight micrograms of toxic, carcinogenic arsenic a day. It’s in the air; it’s in the water; there’s a little bit in nearly all foods. But, eat just one food—a cup or more of white rice a day—and your exposure shoots up 65%.

Okay. But, what about those who eat a cup or more a day of brown rice, which technically contains even more arsenic? Your exposure shoots up the same 65%. No difference between the urine arsenic levels of white rice-eaters compared to brown rice-eaters. Now, this was not an interventional study, where they feed people the same amount of rice to see what happened, which would have been ideal. This was a population study. So, maybe the reason the levels are the same is that white rice-eaters eat more rice than brown rice-eaters. So, that’s why they ended up with the same levels? We don’t know, but it should help to put the minds of brown rice-eaters at rest. But, would it be better to eat no rice at all?

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Marco Galtarossa and Yasir Bugra Eryimaz from The Noun Project.

Image credit: IRRI Images via Wikimedia Commons. Image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

Wait, arsenic where? If you’re just joining in on the topic, check out these lead-up videos:

Seems like each of these videos just raise more questions—don’t worry, answers are coming! Stay tuned for:

If you can’t wait, all the rest of these videos are available as streaming video right now (for a donation).

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

134 responses to “Which Rice Has Less Arsenic: Black, Brown, Red, White, or Wild?

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      1. Is there an info available regarding rice which is not from the US? What about Basmati (white AND brown/wholegrain) from India or Pakistan? In Europe you can buy organic ones.




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        1. Hello Mike,
          there is no safety information to get about the amount of Arsenic in organic rice in Germany. All what I found are wolly formulation or sometimes stupid statements from mainstream press. We have only one paper called “Öko-Test” which pretent to be independent (I don’t think it at every point) and they testet 20 sorts or rice, from discounter to “bio” shops. They ad that all sorts of rice which have been tested have Arsenic between 49 to 139 microgram per kilogram. According to this paper most of the “Bio” rice has been “good” or “satisfying”. Other press tells the public that brown rice, called “Vollkornreis” in Germany, is the worst and you should not wast your money by bying that. Of course this stupid and cunnig writers don’t know Mr.Gregers NutritionFacts.org site and his information about bioavailable and so fort. ;-)
          I believe most people in Europe, especially in Germany, don’t have much travel with Arsenic comming from rice because most of them eat only ones or twice a week rice and then it’s more a extra for a big piece of meat. :-(
          Primary we eat yellow potatos and pasta, unfortunatly the kids nowadays, more and more “Pommes” (french fries)




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      2. Dr. Greger, I did go back and listen to that video, but I’m still not clear on eating organic rices and mushrooms? Could you let us know if there is a difference? Is organic safer?




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        1. I’m doing this from memory, so beware: I think he said the As is embedded in the soil, so it gets essentially the same amount of As no matter whether is is grown using organic techniques or not. So no, the organic rice would be just as bad as non-organic.

          tonyB




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        2. Hi Dede,
          organic or not organic it depent on where an who the grow. Ask your shop keeper, mybe he has a answer. I Germany, most of the moshrooms coming from organic farms have never seen the “normal soil” because they grow up at a special fertile soil – also for example the tomatos coming from Spain. Most mushrooms you can buy in Germany aren’t “wood mushrooms”. The gouverment warns ecery year the people again not to eat to much mushrooms collected in the wood because of “Tschernobyl”… ;-) but this don’t concern me much. :-)
          Like I mentioned yesterday, not knowing the video from today, I think it is a big different in absorpting Arsen from brown rice or white rice, then if you eat a whole plant-based diet you get more fiber in your gut, which draw more water in your gut, making the stool larger and faster to pass the bowel. So maybe more Arsenic can washed away. AND you can use a other cooking method, use 1 part rice and boil it in 5 parts of water until ready to eat and trow away the water (50 % less Arsenic)… ;-)




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          1. Or, switch to quinoa as your usual whole “grain”, which gives you more of the good benefits of brown rice without the arsenic issue.




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      3. Could you please address the mention by several of your readers regarding asians, both in the USA and abroad,
        eating several cups of white rice per day for decades on end, 365 days a year. Even by chance they were eating
        the low rice arsenic rice, and just the one with the organic arsenic dominant, they’d still be ingesting massive amounts
        of arsenic over a lifetime. Are they really suffering, falling off? There’s asians and central and south americans eating
        huge bowl-full amounts of rice every day. Something seems amiss, no?




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        1. As far as cancer incidence goes, arsenic clearly just seems one piece in a much bigger puzzle, and that other factors play a much more significant role. The people of Japan eat large amounts of rice (http://www.helgilibrary.com/indicators/rice-consumption-per-capita/japan/). Yet they currently have the second longest life expectancy in the world. (The United States comes in 43rd):
          https://www.infoplease.com/world/health-and-social-statistics/life-expectancy-countries-0

          What about cancer incidence? In this case, looking at the age-standardized rate, Denmark, a country that eats little rice (http://www.helgilibrary.com/indicators/rice-consumption-per-capita/denmark/) comes in first (the U.S, ranks 6th), but Japan ranks very low in cancer incidence, coming in close to the very bottom at 48th:
          http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-cancer-frequency-country

          So what does correlate with cancer risk? If you look at the charts in T. Colin Campbell’s classic book, The China Study, you can see exactly what does correlate with cancer incidence in different countries – the consumption of animal products. And this may even in large part derive from the over consumption of one kind of essential amino acid – methionine – abundant in animal protein, but not in plant protein. See: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/starving-cancer-with-methionine-restriction/ And if eating a low-methionine plant based diet can reverse cancer, it makes sense that it does an even better job in preventing tumor formation, and of nipping the effects of potential carcinogens like arsenic in the bud.




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          1. #Alef1
            You are right but take in consider what Dr. Greger mentioned about the soil – in the south of the USA the problem with the soil is the past of growing cotton and the pesticides from this time, laying still in the soil. I think Japan and maybe China too ( is a guess because the farmes ar so poor they cant affort such pesticides) has not such a past, so maybe the soil isn’t so much contaminated? Only a thought….




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        2. N, I found this page https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/arsenic.html which may interest you. Under the heading “Exposure from drinking water ” you will find general discussion of the higher rates of cancer in southeast asia and south america as a result of the arsenic. The problem is not the rice, its the soil/water its grown in. From what Dr Greger has said already, and moderators have contributed, there are various factors involved. Growing environment, cooking methods , rate of arsenic absorption in the body, rate of clearance from the body, foods eaten with the rice (selenium rich lentils or greens or deep fried sweet and sour pork?) are just some of those factors.

          It looks like from the titles that the last three or four videos in this series will address our questions.




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        1. Yes.
          I’m from Brazil and rice is a staple.We eat mostly brown rice.
          More importantly we also drink rice drink daily (including my 9 yo).
          So I am following this video series closely.
          Hope we get answers.




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            1. @Chelsea K
              For years, the FDA / USDA has known about high arsenic contamination of US-grown rice, contamination due partly to the heavy arsenic concentration of former cotton-growing soils of the Southern states. In these areas, arsenic was distributed liberally to prevent boll weevil infestation.

              More recently, in 2016, the USDA was called to task for failing to alert parents of children fed rice-based pablum and other foods. To its credit, the agency revised its policy with respect to children’s food products.

              However, it appears rice is also a natural arsenic aggregator, and concentrates arsenic from even “normal” (non-arsenic enriched) soil.

              In any case, rice is off my acceptable foods list– too high in arsensic “at any feed” rate. Thanks to Dr. Greger’s provision of study data, I can conclude even my favorite Thai rice, which I had presumed free of the arsenic history of some US soils, does contain arsenic, and in significant amounts.




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      4. Dear Doctor Greger and volunteer,

        Thank you for providing extensive review about rice and arsenic, i live in south east asia Indonesia and we all live by rice night and day, at least 2 serving a day (or may be more).

        I would like Doctor Greger and the crew to consider provide a review about the studies of Prof Andrew (Andy) Meharg (Queen’s university Belfast) , regarding the cooking method of rice to reduce the arsenic level significantly. I also would like to know (if there is any study to show) whether such cooking method would reduce the nutrition quality of the red/black rice or not. Thank you




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    1. Also, David, if you carefully watch the video the ‘organic vs non organic’ is mentioned and charted just after the first minute. Stop the video and view the chart and you will see you answer.




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    2. Hi guys, thanks for the amazing info on this site! We love it. We were just looking for some content about Cheese vs meat. We now try to eat more and more vegetarian/ vegan, but cheese seems to be present everywhere. It’s not healthy to eat cheese, it’s fat and salt, so we winder whether meat/ fish is actually better the cheese? ( in small quantities of course) Do you have any materials like this? Thank you! Appreciate~l




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      1. An excellent source of vetted information (similar to Dr Greger) is Dr. Pam’s News Channel on YouTube. Perhaps Dr Greger’s info can be searched further for the meat vs cheese science. The bottom line (preponderance of evidence), as I understand it, is that 3 or fewer small servings per week of high quality animal product (never dairy or processed meat) does not appear to significantly undermine human health. My own personal choice, since I was choosing for health reasons, has been to eat vegan excepting an infrequent traditional holiday meal. Hope this helps.




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  1. Maybe the reason that the urine samples showed same amount of arsenic in brown and white rice, as you mention in
    closing, is that the excess arsenic is not being excreted from the body…..instead getting stored, buried in tissue, bone,
    who knows where else?




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    1. Was just about to make the same comment. Excretion does not account for what is being stored in your cells.
      Is hair analysis for heavy metals still considered valid in 2017?
      It was all the rage in the 1970-80’s.
      You know what? I can do without rice altogether. There’s tasty organic millet, and buckwheat and so much more.




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      1. @Dommy
        Yes, we can do without rice, if there are local alternatives. Noting the comments of forum member “N” (above). we should be concerned about those who do not have alternatives readily at hand– is there, in fact, a measurable arsenic threat to mortality of any area of South Asia? Asian governments are probably acutely concerned, and driven by not only overpopulation pressures, but climate change. Rising sea levels will reduce harvests and a warmer climate may introduce crop diseases.




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    2. Yes – I thought the same thing. We know from the studies cited, that brown rice has more arsenic than white rice, so how much is LEAVING your body doesn’t tell us much about how much is actually staying IN your body, eh?

      Or am I missing something?




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      1. I understood from his last live video that arsenic clears the body completely and doesn’t get absorbed. So the problem is about the continuous toxicity when we feed everyday, not accumulation like other heavy metals. Excess that didn’t go in urine, must have went in the stools.




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  2. Do alternatives have less arsenic? Things like quinoa, barley, oats, etc.? I try to alternate my grains, and brown rice has been in my rotation for a while now. Would dropping it have any real effect on my arsenic intake (if I eat other grains/grain-like foods)?




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  3. “All plants pick up arsenic,” John M. Duxbury, PhD, a professor of soil science and international agriculture at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., says in an email. “Concentrations in leaves of plants are much higher than in grains of plants. Thus, leafy vegetables can contain higher levels of arsenic than rice, especially when they are grown on arsenic-contaminated soils.”

    http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/arsenic-food-faq#1




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    1. Is there an info available regarding rice which is not from the US? What about Basmati (white AND brown/wholegrain) from India or Pakistan? In Europe you can buy organic ones.




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          1. Organic produces are by definition fed with real organic fertilizer and not chemical. So if we say that arsenic is in chicken manure then organic produce potentially contains more arsenic.




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      1. Instead of keeping a list on our refrigerator – or in our head – of what we are not supposed to eat, maybe we should just have a list of foods we CAN eat – getting shorter all the time. When they take away my beans, I quit!




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          1. Lectins are destroyed by the soaking / cooking process. No need to worry about them. The Lectin scare is just another straw man thrown out by the meat and dairy industry to confuse people.




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        1. There is hope. NASA just found out that the moon has water. May be they will grow kale and bean up there. But hurry up before they will spray pesticides up there.




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          1. Yes. Humans have pretty much trashed this planet. It’s real important that they get busy and go off world and do as much damage elsewhere!

            You really have to laugh at it. Humans blowing their own horns all the time…especially about their technology.

            But stop and think about it? Airplanes and cars are really only a little over 100 years old….from Model Ts and biplanes to now. So why all the bragging about tech when in the next hundred years things will change unrecognizably?

            But there is actually a greater probability that the biosphere will crash and the poor things will go hungry. Read the writing on the brick wall you are about to hit?




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          1. Jerry I know you know this, you have been on this website for quite a while now. But the body of a dead animal is not a clean food. When you consume its body you are ingesting its entire lifetime exposure to toxins, which includes, heavy metals, Dixon, lead, mercury, and yes arsenic too. Then there is the fecal contamination on the meat and the toxic exposure you get just from eating the meat like IGF-1, various hormones and TMAO.




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            1. Hmm I’ve cleaned a few animals in my day to eat. Not likely to get fecal contamination when it’s done right. Yes, mass produced meat is a lot less clean, and could have some exposure, so clean your own meat.

              But I’m guessing you all are typing away on your keyboards and phones which have been shown to contain more fecal matter than most other things probably as much as the meat your talking about and plenty of you are nail biters too. So zip it and clean your phone in boiling water.




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      1. I actually have contacted Lotus Foods a few days ago and basically what they told me was that they frequently have their rices tested but did not disclose the arsenic level. Very disappointing. I’m switching to Lundberg.




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  4. Dear Sir,

    If brown rice contains more per kg than white rice and eating the same amounts results in the same acid levels in urine, that tells me that the body absorbs more acids when eating brown rice. So eating brown rice seems much riskier. Please correct me if I am wrong.




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    1. How do we know more As is not be excreted in the stool? Or that people that eat brown rice eat enough other foods that help cleanse out or absorb some of the AS.




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    1. Yep it is just another scare from the West and a myth of what the Asians eat to stay healthy. They eat rice, soybean, fatty meat, animal fat, bone broth, seafoods, noodles, all kind of vegetables, herbs, mushrooms. The story that Asians only munch on sweet potatoes is a myth. Go to Asia and see for yourself.




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      1. Before you start talking about the “story of Asians”, you should get your story straight.

        The story of sweet potatoes and 70% of their diet is about Japanese, specifically in Okinawa.

        Secondly, you can’t “go to Asia” to see what they eat… since we’re not referring to any of 50 Asian countries… which would include a wide variety of diets.

        Finally, you can’t even go to Okinawa today, as you suggested, since the traditional diet of Okinawa (in that ‘story’ to which you’re referring) is specifically referring to Okinawa PRE-1950.




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        1. Exactly!

          The Japanese eat seafood from ocean contaminated with radiation and we see no spike of cancer. And Chinese cities are more polluted than a coal factory in the U.S. and there is no epidemic of cancer cases. The problem with us is not meat or fat or arsenic but it is processed foods and sugar, the 2 big killers, and not eating enough of a variety of foods to suppress the cancer.




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  5. I am wondering about the Tinkyada rice noodles ? They say they are from Canada.. I have an email out to them to see where their rice is grown. Yesterday I threw away all my rice in my pantry that was from Texas… not worth the extra arsenic. I can always substitute Freekeh. Plus I ordered some of the Arsenic free rice on Amazon.




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  6. In 2009’s video https://nutritionfacts.org/video/arsenic-in-rice/ you mentioned to favor US grown rice but it seems to me that on the previous 2 videos rice from US southern states is the worse which seems to be going against what is stated in this video.
    New data?

    So when buying rice (or rice based products like rice drink) should we look into where the rice is coming from?

    The same video mentions (as many other sources have also) that white rice has no nutritional benefit.
    This video focuses on the Arsenic only and does not touch on the nutritional differences…

    Other questions:

    – Should regular rice consumers measure their urinary arsenic levels?
    – Is there a better way to cook rice to decrease Arsenic content?
    – What is the arsenic content in organic rice based protein powder (like Orgain or Vega), rice drink, and other products?

    Interesting discussion and looking fwd to the next videos




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    1. My notes either from a previous video on this topic or from the blog: California organic brown rice – no arsenic. Don’t eat rice from Texas or the South.
      Companies to order rice from on Amazon: Lundberg; Maasa Organics; Lotus Foods – but do independent check on these companies before buying.
      Rice substitutes: Quinoa and millet




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    2. True, Basmati, and also Jasmine from Thailand. I also eat Jasmine from Lundberg Farms… hope that is also… anyone know?




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  7. Does this also translate to other species? In particular, our dog is fed rice as part of a home-made holistic diet. I switched from brown rice to white rice, due to the articles about arsenic levels, etc. What should we be buying, so minimize poisoning ourselves and our fur-babies further.




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    1. If it were me, I’d buy Lundberg rice from California. As has been mentioned elsewhere they post test results. You might also switch up the carb for your dog.




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    2. I wouldn’t worry about the dog, because they don’t live long enough to catch cancer from something like arsenic in rice.




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      1. Shorter lived species generally experience the long term effects of toxins on an accelerated timeline, as their cells age out and are more susceptible to assaults on that same shorter timeline. Common sense would tell you that lab animals would be useless if your theory was valid. In the real world, dogs, cats, mice, rats – all develop cancer. A shorter life span is not protective. Rice is probably not a good choice for animals which also consume animal proteins, since the higher methionine levels seem to potentiate the carcinogenic effects of toxins.




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    3. I switched to oats primarily but incorporate a pretty good variety of grains, which does still include some rice. I triple wash it and cook in excess water, but there’s a lot of nutrient loss so I don’t use too much rice in their food. If their diet was completely plant based (which is possible), I would have a little less concern, but they get local eggs and occasional human-grade leftovers from friends who are not vegan. They also get “high quality” kibble (if there is such a thing) as training treats. If I eliminated all those things I would have less concern about the rice, because for one thing their methionine levels would drop. I already supplement their B12 and vit D, so it’s a possibility.
      (I only do this for the dogs; it’s pretty daunting to do for cats although it’s possible – if you look on the commercial food you can see that the nutrients are stripped and depleted and then added back into the finished product in supplemental form, so commercial food is no more a “natural, species appropriate” diet than doing that yourself. It’s just more complicated and demanding for cats).




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    4. I would look at another starch to feed the dog. Maybe potatoes/sweet potatoes? My dog loves them. He also loves his fruit and vegies snacks.




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  8. Perhaps there are growers who use vegan, organic fertilizers. My own garden is completely vegan, and soil tests are negligible in arsenic, metals etc. I have greens from May through December and use my soil to grow indoor shoots in winter. It sounds like California is the best bet for rice. This demonstrates that any use of animal products is harmful, even poops!




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  9. Cruciferous vegetables like Kale, brussels sprouts and broccoli contain more arsenic and could potentially be more dangerous. According to Prevention, “Arsenic levels in regular (brussels) sprout eaters were 10.4% higher than in people who never ate them or ate them less than once a month.” I am going to cut back on kale in favor of spinach.




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    1. I would think, though, greenhouse grown might be safer the more it is controlled. I’d rather not drink an arsenic kale smoothie.




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      1. Green house is just where it’s grown. If they use compost with animal droppings mixed in it it doesn’t make any difference.

        Fernando Lamounier

        “The reason why people don’t become who they want, it’s because they are too attached to whom they have been.”




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    2. That’s really depressing about the kale and broccoli. I have been giving my pregnant wife steamed kale and broccoli every day. What can I substitute to make sure she gets the nutrition she needs without possible harming the baby. I have read that arsenic can lower the IQ of the baby.




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      1. That’s right Lisa. Cruciferous vegetables and rice in moderation help far more than they hurt. Eventually, I believe, the cost of vertical farming will plummet (Ray Kurzweil says the 2020’s will be the decade of the vertical agriculture revolution) such that we all can inexpensively eat hydroponically-grown vegetables free of arsenic.

        Right now, I am actually eating kale (Fresh Attitude Baby Kale Blend) Its a kale blend with spinach, baby lettuces, and baby chard. I think variety is key.




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  10. Perhaps, a hydroponic vertical rice and cruciferous vegetable farm (not one using fish like the Vertical Rice Paddy/Fish Nursery) could solve the arsenic problem.




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  11. Someone mentioned cooking rice with extra water water then dumping it. Can someone who’s used this method please explain the cooking process or lead me to a recipe? I make most of my rice in a rice cooker and love the texture. Can the other procedure get close to that?




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    1. You Boil the rice like you would pasta then drain off the water. Supposedly, that reduces the arsenic levels. Although I have not seen any science to support that theory.




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        1. hi David, re cooking rice – Use about 5 to 1 water to rice (or more) , and boil til done , then drain in a seive or fine colander. (like cooking spagetti). If you pre-wash the rice before cooking you can get even more arsenic out. We’ll see what Dr Greger says in the next video about how much this will help.




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          1. Hey thanks, after looking at cooking methods. I like where dr Greger seems to be going with this topic from background to lessoning arsenic exposure,




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          2. I tried this this morning. I thought I had plenty of water but I didn’t poor of as much I thought I would but it worked great was still able to poor off over a quart. Thanks so much for the tip. With practice I will be a rice cooking fool.




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  12. When we “wash” the rice (before cooking), what element are we cleaning off? Not arsenic, right? Arsenic is “within” the grain, right?




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  13. several more videos yet. these are real cliffhangers as far as the bottom line actionable message. will restrain digging further until the end, more time efficient




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  14. Risening the uncooked rice, soaking rice overnight, and then using the pasta cooking method to drain cooked water from the rice should reduce the amount of arsenic by 70%.




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    1. How much does this method reduce nutrient levels? If there’s little nutrition left, then first of all, whatever protective factors are at work are probably less effective, right? And also, if you’re then eating less arsenic but for no real nutritional gain, what’s the point?




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    2. I also cook my white rice with quinoa 1 to 1 or 1.5 -1. The cooking time is the same. Did this last night. Cup of rice soaked for 2 hours. Drained twice then about 15 min before cooking I added the 1 cup of quinoa rinsed and drained. The. Cooked in about a gallon of water. Poured out and drained the water when it was about al dente, kept in the warm pan. Put back on the stove at lowest heat with a lid to steam it to finished for a couple minutes.
      It was as good, or better than my rice cooker.




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  15. As I mentioned earlier — you can not eliminate all risk in anything we eat, any air we breathe, or even any space we occupy (since there is always that darn runaway bus, earthquake, tornado, and/or meteor that could get you! )

    Until there is some correlation study showing that “X” amount of arsenic ingestion from plants leads to “Y%” chance of developing cancer or some other disease, it is really really really difficult to place where arsenic resides on the risk spectrum ….

    I sense a reductionist path in the discussions by focusing only on the potential level of arsenic … maybe the other chemicals in the plant and some other processes in our body have some influence on mitigating the arsenic ingestion. For some reason I suspect that ingesting arsenic straight is not the same as ingesting it as part of the whole food … (like the situation with the fructose in fruit vs just fructose alone) … otherwise we would have a ton of data showing 100’s of millions dying from arsenic poisoning among the billions in the world that consume rice and other plants as a staple in their diet …




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      1. Hi VegeTater, I would classify that particular phenomena as more of an instance of “evolutionary adaptation to environment” rather than hormesis. I’m no expert, but my understanding of hormesis is that it’s a reaction in a person’s body immediately to some slightly toxic ingredient.




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    1. I also think that eating whole grain rice as part of a whole food plant based way of eating has protective properties for our health against not only arsenic, but also other harmful elements that are in our environment and our food. Let’s not forget that the body is a self healing organism. That’s why we have the liver, the kidneys, the bike and other detoxing organs. What we should not do however is overburden and subsequently abuse them. That’s why this type of information is important. We should not go in panic mode, thinking that we should stop eating rice. Now we know from where we should get our rice and also that we should eventually lower the amount we eat, replacing it with other grains and/or starches.




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  16. Depressing… After watching Dr. Greger’s video on the “Rice Diet” (Duke Univ), I decided to give that a try and plan a 2-4 week trial of the classic (vs. today’s adaptation of the diet) so am eating 2 or 2-1/2 cups of organic brown rice (short grain) per day. Otherwise, I eat brown rice maybe twice a week. So, now I’m wondering if I should abandon ship re: the rice diet!




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  17. Six months ago I become a WFPB vegan. Before that I was a lacto ovo vegetarian with an occasional piece of chicken breast. Since becoming a WFPB vegan I was consuming one or two California grown organic brown rice servings a day. The rice was always soaked over night and the water discarded before cooking. As for the rest of my diet, meals were made from scratch and I only ate fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, filtered water, along the lines of good vegan practice. Dr. Greger has mentioned in this series that there are other arsenic contamination effects. After almost five months of daily brown rice, I developed a coordination/motor problem and could not maintain balance while walking. Today on my walk using trekking poles I walked past the non-exercising smokers who were sitting by the path having a pleasant social gathering, was passed by the speedy probable meat eaters, and even the overweight folks were walking faster. No one else needed trekking poles to walk. I am not trolling as I find such value in Dr. Greger’s research that I will not turn to meat, eggs, poultry, fish, etc. But I do think we need to be careful as WFPB vegans. I am reminded of Dr. Greger’s earlier video on the importance of B12 and omega 3. Also I can’t say with absolute certainty that there is a cause effect relationship in my case although the increased rice consumption seems to indicate that. Maybe Dr. Greger can help with some additional info about neurological effects. I am not on any medications of any sort so this wouldn’t be a side effect of anything like that. But I can say that after six weeks of not eating rice at all I can now walk across the room indoors without holding on to the wall — if I concentrate. I really hope there will be some forthcoming info on how best to detoxify.




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    1. Hi Wendy
      Have you seen somebody about this? You probably want to get looked at. It could be many different things.
      And as a side note all my vegan friends, family and patients are in the best health of their life. So please see a doctor.




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    2. hi Wendy, here is a link on the toxic effects, both acute and chronic exposure to arsenic https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=1&po=11 From what I understand, the body clears arsenic readily, and if we eat a great diet too, all the better. In the previous video I posted a link for an animal study where researchers used lentils to help remove arsenic from rats. I eat lentils all the time anyway, along with other beans, grains, vegies and fruit.
      WFPBRunner has offered great advice.. talk it over with your doctor and see what they suggest.




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      1. Thanks Sue, the link you gave provides very comprehensive info on arsenic toxicity. I hope you are correct about the body’s ability to remove arsenic from the system. And yes, I am totally following the beans, grains, veggies and fruit plan. I am one of the lucky never-been-sick-a-day-in-my-life people so I think I will be ok in time. I think I may have read a post somewhere — could have been yours — about the selenium in lentils being a possible effective element in arsenic detox. So if that’s the case I suppose brazil nuts would be good too. Hope Dr. Greger will comment on countering foods from the research. I’m also going to switch from methylcobalamin to cyanacobalamin to cover another neurological base. And look for a doctor who can relate to nutritional concerns….




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      2. I left a note earlier about cutting my white rice with quinoa because it cooks in about the same time. But by the same method can use lentils to mixed with brown rice because the cook time is so close to the same.

        But after seeing these videos I had to throw out my brown rice as sadly it’s from the south.




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  18. I heard that soaking rice in water for 24 hours and then cooking it in a great amount of water helps getting rid of significant dose of arcenic.




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  19. Everyone there are 8 more videos on rice coming up. What do you bet the research and questions will be clear when the series is complete?!




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    1. Thanks for your question.

      I tried looking for a study that compares the arsenic content of both varieties but was not successful.

      Only found one publication that suggests milling as a way to reduce arsenic in rice.

      Hope this answer helps.




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    1. Thanks for your question Rob.

      According to one publication & I quote:

      “Under EU legislation, total arsenic levels in drinking water should not exceed 10 μg l−1, while in the US this figure is set at 10 μg l−1 inorganic arsenic. All rice milk samples analysed in a supermarket survey (n = 19) would fail the EU limit with up to 3 times this concentration recorded, while out of the subset that had arsenic species determined (n = 15), 80% had inorganic arsenic levels above 10 μg l−1, with the remaining 3 samples approaching this value.”

      Hope this answer helps.




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  20. Dear Doctor Greger and volunteer,

    Thank you for providing extensive review about rice and arsenic, i live in south east asia Indonesia and we all live by rice night and day, at least 2 serving a day (or may be more).

    Now the important part…
    Dear Doctor and the crew, I would like Doctor Greger and the crew to consider provide a review about the studies of Prof Andrew (Andy) Meharg (Queen’s university Belfast) , regarding the cooking method of rice to reduce the arsenic level significantly. I also would like to know (if there is any study to show) whether such cooking method would reduce the nutrition quality of the red/black rice or not. Thank you




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  21. I sat down to watch this video while eating my dinner–a giant bowl of brown rice. Should I cut out the middle man, get it over with, and just down some arsenic?

    My whole family is vegan, so this series of videos has me rapt. Dr. Greger, I need clarity, bro. I know this is primarily a resource to be used to make our own informed choices, but I want to defer to the authority on this one. Please!




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  22. It would be great to read a study of the specific rice eaten by the long-lived Japanese, say in Okinawa. It would be great to know if they grow it locally, and what is the arsenic content of the rice, and the arsenic content of the urine of healthy, older Japanese who are still following the healthy Okinawan diet. So many questions! So many research projects begging to be conducted.




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  23. Where is a list of countries and the average arsenic content in their rice? We work in an Asian country that mimics the US in many, many ways. Poultry farms are hundreds of little cages…. Being semi-Tropical, there are roofs, but no walls to house the cages. Rice bran is spread on the ground. When our kids were little I found cornmeal at the open market and was using it for cornbread until the vender asked what I was doing with it. “oh, no! It has antibiotics and hormones in it for the chicks!” Where does “our” country fall in this?




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  24. So someone please tell me if I should stop eating rice altogether. I buy Lunberg organic short-grain brown rice and from the video it sounds to me like even organic brown rice from Lunberg still has sixty times the acceptable level of arsenic! Did I miss something where Dr. Greger says, “Just kidding! LOL” ? I don’t think so. Please tell me if it’s okay to continue enjoying organic short-grain brown rice from Lunberg. Thank you.




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  25. Hi Craig, Thanks for your question. I am one of the volunteer moderators at the website. In this transcript of the video it indicates that the wild rice was from Europe. “Though colored rice samples purchased mostly in the U.S. were better than brown or white, a dozen samples of red rice purchased in Europe were as bad as brown, or worse. I was hoping that wild rice would have little or none, since it’s a totally different plant, but an average of eight samples put it nearly comparable to white, though containing only about half as much toxic arsenic as brown”.
    I hope that is helpful to you.




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    1. I believe he was referring to the red rice as being sourced from Europe. Didn’t specify where the samples of wild rice were from. Canadian wild rice from Northern Manitoba is unlikely to contain these levels of arsenic.




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  26. It seems that Lectins are becoming a major health topic due to Dr. Gundry’s new book. Is Nutrition Facts going to do a book review or discuss Lectins in the future? Thank you.




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  27. Hi Andy – We actually have a direct response to this book coming out in a just a few weeks (mid-Sept)! Are you subscribed to the videos, so you can be notified when they come out?




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