Is it Worth Switching from White Rice to Brown?

Is it Worth Switching from White Rice to Brown?
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What happens when brown rice is put to the test in a randomized controlled crossover trial?

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In 2012, a meta-analysis was published tying white rice consumption to diabetes—especially in Asian countries, as I explored previously. But even in the U.S., where we eat much less, the regular consumption of white rice was associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes, though brown rice was associated with lower risk, and that was after controlling for other lifestyle and dietary factors, such as smoking, and exercise, and meat, fruit, and vegetable consumption. They estimated that replacing even just a third of a serving per day of white rice with the same amount of brown rice might lower diabetes risk 16%.

The meta-analysis was published in 2012.  Since then, a study out of Spain suggested white rice consumption was associated with decreased diabetes risk. But it was a tiny study compared to the others, hundreds compared to hundreds of thousands of people involved. In Spain, rice is usually consumed in the paella, which has a spice, saffron, that may have therapeutic potential against diabetes, and white rice consumers also ate more beans, which appear to have antidiabetic properties as well.

This gives you a sense of how difficult it is to infer cause and effect relationships from population studies, since you can’t control for everything. Yes, you can control for weight, smoking, alcohol, exercise, etc. But maybe people who are smart enough to eat brown rice are also smart enough to wear seat belts, and bike helmets, and install smoke detectors, and forgo bungee jumping. What we need is a way to fund randomized interventional studies, where we switch people from white rice to brown rice and see what happens.  Until then, the effect of the consumption of white rice on the development of type 2 diabetes will remain unclear. But we didn’t have such studies, until now. 

Overweight women were randomized into two groups, a weight-loss diet with about a cup of cooked white rice every day, or a cup of cooked brown for six weeks, and then the groups switched. The white rice group ate brown, and vice versa, and when they were eating brown rice, they got significantly more weight loss, particularly around the waist and hips, lower blood pressure, and less inflammation. 

Similar effects were found for prediabetics: substituting brown rice for white rice led to significantly more weight loss, more waist loss, and better blood pressures.

And brown rice may not just help get rid of tummy fat, but also preserve our artery function. See, high blood sugars can stiffen our arteries, cutting in half their ability to relax within an hour, whether you’re diabetic, have prediabetes, or are nondiabetic—though for diabetics, their arteries go down and stay down. And we know that brown rice can have blood sugar-lowering effects, compared to white rice.

So, can switching to brown rice help preserve arterial function? In folks with metabolic syndrome, within an hour of eating about a cup of cooked white rice, we can get a drop in arterial function—but not so with brown rice.

Despite all the benefits of whole grain rice, Asian people often prefer white rice, considering it softer and tastier than brown. But in a focus group of Chinese adults, only a minority had ever even tried brown rice. Before tasting brown rice, the majority of participants considered it to be inferior to white rice in terms of taste and quality. So, the researchers just served some up, and after actually tasting it and learning about it, most changed their minds.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to suc via Pixabay

In 2012, a meta-analysis was published tying white rice consumption to diabetes—especially in Asian countries, as I explored previously. But even in the U.S., where we eat much less, the regular consumption of white rice was associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes, though brown rice was associated with lower risk, and that was after controlling for other lifestyle and dietary factors, such as smoking, and exercise, and meat, fruit, and vegetable consumption. They estimated that replacing even just a third of a serving per day of white rice with the same amount of brown rice might lower diabetes risk 16%.

The meta-analysis was published in 2012.  Since then, a study out of Spain suggested white rice consumption was associated with decreased diabetes risk. But it was a tiny study compared to the others, hundreds compared to hundreds of thousands of people involved. In Spain, rice is usually consumed in the paella, which has a spice, saffron, that may have therapeutic potential against diabetes, and white rice consumers also ate more beans, which appear to have antidiabetic properties as well.

This gives you a sense of how difficult it is to infer cause and effect relationships from population studies, since you can’t control for everything. Yes, you can control for weight, smoking, alcohol, exercise, etc. But maybe people who are smart enough to eat brown rice are also smart enough to wear seat belts, and bike helmets, and install smoke detectors, and forgo bungee jumping. What we need is a way to fund randomized interventional studies, where we switch people from white rice to brown rice and see what happens.  Until then, the effect of the consumption of white rice on the development of type 2 diabetes will remain unclear. But we didn’t have such studies, until now. 

Overweight women were randomized into two groups, a weight-loss diet with about a cup of cooked white rice every day, or a cup of cooked brown for six weeks, and then the groups switched. The white rice group ate brown, and vice versa, and when they were eating brown rice, they got significantly more weight loss, particularly around the waist and hips, lower blood pressure, and less inflammation. 

Similar effects were found for prediabetics: substituting brown rice for white rice led to significantly more weight loss, more waist loss, and better blood pressures.

And brown rice may not just help get rid of tummy fat, but also preserve our artery function. See, high blood sugars can stiffen our arteries, cutting in half their ability to relax within an hour, whether you’re diabetic, have prediabetes, or are nondiabetic—though for diabetics, their arteries go down and stay down. And we know that brown rice can have blood sugar-lowering effects, compared to white rice.

So, can switching to brown rice help preserve arterial function? In folks with metabolic syndrome, within an hour of eating about a cup of cooked white rice, we can get a drop in arterial function—but not so with brown rice.

Despite all the benefits of whole grain rice, Asian people often prefer white rice, considering it softer and tastier than brown. But in a focus group of Chinese adults, only a minority had ever even tried brown rice. Before tasting brown rice, the majority of participants considered it to be inferior to white rice in terms of taste and quality. So, the researchers just served some up, and after actually tasting it and learning about it, most changed their minds.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to suc via Pixabay

Doctor's Note

Here’s the link to the video I cited: If White Rice is Linked to Diabetes, What About China?

More on the paella spice, saffron:

If brown is good, what about all the even more colorful varieties? See Brown, Black, Purple and Red Unlike White on Rice.

For another interventional trial with whole grains, check out Whole Grains May Work As Well As Drugs.

What about the so-called “rice diet”? See:

How could the simple difference between whole and refined grains make such a difference? For a clue, you’ll have to wait until my next video: Gut Dysbiosis – Starving Our Microbial Self.

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

229 responses to “Is it Worth Switching from White Rice to Brown?

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  1. I am curious if any research has been done on an updated version of Walter Kempener’s rice diet. One could swap brown rice for white rice and date sugar for table sugar? Perhaps the fruit and fruit juice would stay the same as the original version. He used vitamin supplements as well. Obviously, not the healthiest plan but it is interesting that it worked to some degree. Dr. McDougall still talks about it using it for some of his patients.




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    1. I suspect the Kempner diet works not because of what it includes, but what it doesn’t. Compared to reference values, the diet is low in the amino acid lysine, and may be inducing fasting physiology. The substitution of brown rice and date sugar would only slightly moderate this, but their fiber and phenols would have microbiome benefits.




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    2. Kempner used white rice because it’s lower in protein. Kempner’s patients had kidney disease so they couldn’t process protein well.




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      1. I just did a quick Cronometer comparison of one cup of steamed white versus brown rice. Protein: white rice = 4.3g, brown rice = 5.0g. Fiber: white rice = 0.5g, brown rice = 5.6g. The amino acids, vitamins and minerals are a bit higher for the brown rice but not that much.




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        1. I used to think brown rice had loads more vitamins/minerals, but as you’ve seen there’s not much difference. However, there is a big difference in phytochemical/phytonutrient content, I believe.




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        2. Cronometer is a good resource. As your research points out a big difference is in the fiber in brown vs. white rice. As Dr. Greger has pointed out most Americans have a deficiency in intake of fiber. He has done video’s mentioning the value of fiber as it is digested by the bacteria in our gut to 2,3 and 4 carbon short chain fatty acids. The 3 carbon SCFA’s are absorbed and help decrease our blood glucose and cholesterol. This among other factors in our complex body would explain the results of this study.




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        3. I’m sticking with my white rice. 8kg bag of premium jasmine costs me $10. As you rightly pointed out, the only diff is the fiber. Perhaps the white rice causes diabetes in the nouveau-riche-and-overfed Asians, but even Dr. Greger’s own previous videos concede that wasn’t the case when Asians consumed a traditional, ‘peasant’ diet, which included lots of white rice.

          If fiber’s the thing that distinguishes brown from white rice, it’s safe to conclude that if one eats any whole food along with white rice as their starch, they should be fine. Whether it’s beans, greens, or other non-starchy veggies, anyone eating a WFPB diet should be fine with white rice. My go-to starches are white rice and white potatoes, with the occasional barley or corn (polenta). I average 100g+ of fiber a day.

          I guess the point of the video is if you’re a typical overfed westerner who somehow got that way by eating nothing but white rice all day every day (a virtual impossibility), perhaps you should reconsider? Curious what proportion of the population that applies to.




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          1. Forgot to add: The reason white rice has been more popular since ancient times
            1. It stores better, as storing it with the bran makes it go rancid faster;
            2. Less rice going rancid equals less calories going to waste, a critical consideration up until recently (at least in many Western countries); and
            3. Less waste equals less cost.

            White rice FTW.




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            1. Have been living in Asia for the past 20+ years and the popular consensus among locals is that ‘white rice’ represents ‘purity’. We consume daily Thai-Jasmine brown rice, and the fragrance and texture is my absolute favorite.




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            1. I’m impartial. Good jasmine or basmati I can eat every day (and actually do eat most days).

              Somewhat related, but not really. Decided to eat dangerously for lunch. 1.2kg of oven-baked fries, peeled – so no fibre from the peel. Topped those with a tonne of homemade ketchup, primary ingredients being 2 cans (320ml) tomato paste, waster, vinegar and spices (but no salt) – so no fiber from the skin. Despite going out of my way not to get any fiber, the volume of peeled baked potatoes and tomato paste ended up providing ~30g fiber for that one meal. I honestly don’t get how Americans average less than 25g/day unless they’re on the all-twinkie diet.




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              1. If you watch people you’ll see that many never have ANYTHING green or colorful on their plates. When I go out with my sister for Thai food she always orders cashew chicken, a totally beige meal. Yuk! But she isn’t unusual. Even if there are veggies on the plate they are often ignored.




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          2. I agree with you. my conclusion on that study is that those people were simply eating way more fiber. But what would be the results if we were to compare people following a mostly whole foods, vegan & plant-based diet??? Eating white rice with tons of veggies and some legumes versus the same but with brown rice. The total fiber would be already high in both groups, so I´m not sure whether there would be much change in glucose levels or blood pressure. My dad was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and tryglicerides. He cut out the oils and high-fat foods (avocados, nuts…) and went back to the doctor after 10 days of 100% compliance to the diet. Guess what? no loger diabetic and cholesterol & tryglicerides where within the normal range. The doctor said: “with this results…I cannot give you medication. But this is weird…come back in a couple of months and we´ll see…” He came back twice during the following months, still perfect results :) AND all that while consuming white potatoes, brown rice & white rice, whole grain bread & white bread. Plus tons of veggies and legumes.




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            1. Sonia, interesting you should mention your dad. As mentioned in this comment, I just got my dad to give a WFPB diet a try a bit over a week ago.

              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/lose-two-pounds-one-sitting-taking-mioscenic-route/#comment-2712339282

              Unfortunately, he hasn’t followed it well. I told him no animal products nor oil. Unfortunately, he eats few fruits or veggies, and I saw an empty 1lb bag of peanuts in the recycle bin when I recently visited.

              As for the brown vs white rice, I don’t think it should be suggested that people rely on brown rice as a primary source of fiber. As someone mentioned elsewhere in this thread, most brown rice has 3-5g of fiber a serving. Most people eating WFPB would be getting most of their fiber from beans, lentils, greens, other higher fibre grains (like barley, 7-9g/serv), etc. I didn’t get the point of testing a diet of nothing but either white or brown rice all day every day. An interesting academic finding with no real practical implication.




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              1. I never said “testing a diet of nothing but either white or brown rice” . I meant testing a whole-foods, plant-based diet with white rice versus another one (whole-foods, plant-based) with brown rice. Since in both case you´ll be consuming more than enough fiber, I don´t think the results would be much different. And yeah, concerning your dad, most times not following the WFPB diet just doesn´t work. My dad was already consuming a vegan and mediterranean diet when he was diagnosed. Only after eliminating oils, nuts and avocados from his diet, was he able to reverse his health issues. He´s still following the same approach, and consumes nuts/avos occasionally, but no oils. Tell your dad to really give it a try. It DOES work! :)




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                1. Sonia, I wasn’t suggesting that you said “testing a diet of nothing but either white or brown rice”. I was referring to the study Dr. Greger was referencing, where subjects ate exclusively either white or brown rice. As mentioned, interesting from an academic viewpoint, but not terribly practical.

                  You’re lucky your dad started out from a relatively healthy diet. My dad either did’t eat breakfast at all and just had coffee, or had eggs and toast occasionally with said coffee. Lunch and dinner were mostly meat, some processed junk and oil with no veggies. In hindsight, I should have expected he’d find a way to do the least healthy version of WFPB. If I now start telling him to cut out nuts, eat more greens (literally eats none, ever), etc, I worry he’ll complain that I’m changing the rules on him and quit altogether.




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                  1. poop patrol: “If I now start telling him to cut out nuts, eat more greens (literally eats none, ever), etc, I worry he’ll complain that I’m changing the rules on him and quit altogether.” I don’t know you or your dad, but for what it’s worth, I would worry about that too. My suggestion would be to take the current changes as a win, with the idea that you could work with him on tweaks as you go forward. Sometimes people can make massive changes at once. Sometimes it takes a phased approach. So, giving up for now doesn’t mean that you won’t get even more changes in the future.

                    Just sharing my perspective in the hopes of helping. I hope you are able to get some greens into your dad at some point!




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                  2. Could you introduce him to green smoothies? They can be a tasty way to add greens like spinach, chard, kale, etc. so they don’t look like veggies. Some years ago my husband had a cancer on his vocal cords, which was successfully removed. He went through five weeks of radiation and we didn’t know if he would be able to eat solid foods during that period, so I revived my 1970s-era Vitamix which needed a part. I started making green smoothies and he still likes them and makes his own, using my newer, slightly quieter and more efficient Vitamix.

                    By the way, the Vitamix people are so helpful and quick with services like sending parts. They were a joy, considering my machine was close to 30 years old!




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                2. I pay real close attention to dr Esselstyn when he yells out NO OILS. I have come to a point where I NEVER use not even no fat salad dressings, because they do have oils. I throw my salads together with all kinds of vegetables and green leafy vegetables and just eat them PLAIN. IT ACTUALLY TASTES BETTER because now you can taste the blends of the flavor of the various veggies in your mouth. If you use any kind of salad dressing on your salad, then all you really taste is just the salad dressing and not the individual veggies as they create a rainbow of flavored in your mouth.




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                  1. johan003: Dr. Greger explains what causes diabetes in the following video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-causes-diabetes/ The video says that nuts and avocadoes doesn’t cause as much of a problem as foods higher in saturated fats (say animal foods), but if someone has diabetes and wants the best chance of getting off all their meds, I would think that limiting or even avoiding nuts and avocadoes for a while would make good sense. Dr. Barnard recommends a low fat diet for people with diabetes and Dr. Barnard’s diet is 3 times more effective at reversing type 2 diabetes than the ADA diet.
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                    Make sense? What do you think?




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          3. Stick with what you want, why not! As you love consuming white rice, that is of great benefit whilst eating a foodstuff with virtually zero nutritional value.




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            1. Andrew, depends on what you consider ‘nutritional value’. It’s high in calories, almost all from carbs, which is great nutritional value.As someone else mentioned earlier in the comments, the difference in terms of vitamins and minerals between white and brown rice is minimal. You won’t be significantly healthier eating exclusively brown vs white rice. Someone who has absolutely nothing else to consume other than rice may avoid getting Beriberi with brown rice, but that’s hardly a nutrient dense diet.




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              1. poop patrol: At the moment at least, I don’t buy the argument that white rice is almost the same nutritionally as brown rice. My understanding is that those arguments are not taking into account the many (hundreds? thousands?) of phytochemicals in plants. They are only looking at a small number of nutrients. And consider this quote from a recent blog post here on NutritionFacts:

                “If the only difference between fruit and fruit juice is fiber, why can’t
                the juice industry just add some fiber back to the juice? The reason is
                because we remove a lot more than fiber when we juice fruits and
                vegetables. We also lose all the nutrients that are bound to the fiber.” from http://nutritionfacts.org/2016/06/09/juicing-removes-just-fiber/

                I find it hard to believe that rice fiber is so nutrient deficient compared to the average grain fiber as to make the rice fiber negligible in providing nutrients. Am I missing something? (That’s an honest question. I’m not understanding the point of dissing the brown rice, but I’m totally open to being educated.)

                Note: I’m not saying that people should eat only brown rice. I’m just talking about the claim that brown rice and white rice are practically the same nutritionally.




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              2. Yes it does depend on nutritional value and white rice is virtually devoid of nutrients. Being high in calories does not define a food as “great nutritional value” as you claim.

                The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be “enriched” with vitamins B1, B3 and iron.

                If you like a high glycemic load food, with virtually no nutrient value, stick to what you love!




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          4. In another video, Dr. Greger also mentions that vinegar also dulls the glycemic effect of white rice…so, eating it in the form of sushi (sans fiber) is similar to brown rice.




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          1. I contacted Cronometer who pointed my to the University of Minnesota Nutrition Research Database (NDSR). NDSR just replied to my inquiry and indicated that they have just updated their values to the most recent USDA SR 28 data. The value from USDA SR 28 is approximately 3 grams of fiber per 1 cup of cooked brown rice and this change will be reflected in the NDSR annual release in July. Good job whealy!




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  2. What happens if you eat white rice with vegetables and legumes? Will the negative effects of white rice be canceled out by the positives from legumes and vegetables?




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    1. Maybe, or eat the brown rice and have a plus-plus situation rather than a plus-minus. If it is a taste thing, palates adapt. What tastes odd now will taste good in a few weeks/months. And likely what tastes good now will taste horrible after your palate adapts.

      Also you might try different varieties. Short grain brown rice has a much starchy/sticky texture that holds more moisture external to the grain (which is why you use it to make risotto) which minimizes the impact of the higher fiber on overall texture/taste. And of course if you eat rice mixed with other ingredients rather than just plain on the side, the effects of the bran on taste and texture are modified by everything else in the dish.




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    2. The traditional Japanese diet suggests this would be true. On the other hand, one can always look to improve on even a very good traditional diet…




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    1. Arsenic readily accumulates in rice brand so where and how rice is grown has a big impact on its arsenic levels. Arsenic is used in pesticides so if one does decide to eat brown rices, it is worth buying organic rice. California grown is also lower in arsenic. Brown Basmati rice rice from India, Pakistan and California test the lowest in arsenic contamination. The following are a couple of links to Consumer Reports articles regarding arsenic and rice:
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/how-much-arsenic-is-in-your-rice/index.htm

      You can purchase your rice from growers that test there rice such as Lundberg:
      http://www.lundberg.com/info/arsenic-in-food/arsenic-testing-results/




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      1. To put rice’s arsenic toxicity into perspective, the worst rice CR found had on the order of 10 mcg per serving. This was roughly 10 times the smallest value found. A lethal dose of arsenic is about 1 mg per kg body weight, so somewhere around 50-100 mg. If I ate 5 servings of the worst rice, I would be getting something on the order of 1/1000 of a lethal dose. This may certainly be enough to produce symptoms, but I’m not going to keel over dead from eating rice.

        As with mercury, there is no safe level of arsenic consumption. Sadly, therefore, rice is no longer a staple for me.




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      1. Nice report. Arsenic is a concern. I think it is important to add the perspective about how much is in other foods and how much is consumed or the total dose… keeping in mind the saying “the dose makes the poison”. The report you cite has a list of the top 25 tested foods with arsenic. The top 7 are fish products and range from 5.5 to .4, rice comes in 12th at .07 and at 25th…. creamy peanut butter at .0126. Given what most Americans eat rice is a small part of arsenic intake. Dr. Greger has done a number of video’s on arsenic you could start with http://nutritionfacts.org/video/arsenic-in-chicken/. Of course arsenic isn’t the only substance to be concerned about…. mercury in fish comes to mind. I guess the only good news is that our bodies can get rid of arsenic (half life can range from 5 to 25 hours depending on whether it is methylated or not). Not so with some of the manufactured chemicals such as pesticides which can have half lives of several years. Keep tuned to NutritionFacts.org and spread the word so others can keep up as well.




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        1. Good points, thanks

          I also suspect that the comparison between the headline arsenic content of white and brown rice may be a little simplistic. We know that fibre consumption inhibits absorption of minerals, heavy metals etc and it is reasonable to assume that the bioavailability of arsenic in brown rice is therefore less than that of white rice.

          In any case the benefits of dietary fibre are such that, to my mind, they substantially outweigh the relatively small absolute increase in risk that may be presented by the increased (inorganic) arsenic content of brown rice compared to white rice
          .
          https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002470.htm
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/




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        2. To put rice’s arsenic toxicity into perspective, the worst rice Consumer Reports found had on the order of 10 mcg per serving. This was roughly 10 times the smallest value found. A lethal dose of arsenic is about 1 mg per kg body weight, so somewhere around 50-100 mg. If I ate 5 servings of the worst rice, I would be getting something on the order of 1/1000 of a lethal dose. This may certainly be enough to produce symptoms, but I’m not going to keel over dead from eating rice.

          A kilogram of salt will kill you just as dead as a lethal dose of arsenic, yet no one gives much thought to eating a gram of salt, or 1/1000 of a lethal dose. I’m not sure if this is a perfect analogy, but maybe it still says something about how we think selectively about toxicity. Alcohol or caffeine or cyanide in flax seed would be other common examples of things whose toxicity we basically ignore.

          Officially, there is no safe level of arsenic consumption. Even though arsenic doesn’t bio-accumulate in humans as mercury does, it still seems like something one would want to keep out of one’s body if possible. So, sadly, rice will no longer be a staple for me.




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    2. I have heard that inorganic arsenic is at much higher levels in brown rice as compared to white rice. This was written up in Consumer Reports and mentioned in Nutrition Action Newsletter. Please tell us what you know.




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      1. but keep in mind the soil the rice is grown in is THE most important factor. CA organic rice from companies who test for it is the safest bet. And remember to consider rice inside supplements like protein powders if you use those. This site has done numerous articles and testing on rice/rice products http://www.naturalnews.com/arsenic.html as well as other sources of arsenic, metals, etc




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  3. The other option for pre-diabetics like me is to follow Dr. Richard Bernstein’s diet (he is diabetic himself; helped popularize the insulin testing regimen used globally today). This means eliminating all grains, including brown rice. The result? Much lower A1C and glucose levels! It has worked for me.




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    1. Have you looked at the related videos on this site? They conclude that low carb to treat prediabetes is treating the symptom, not the problem. A whole food plant based diet, without animal products and oils, with plenty of whole grains is what cures diabetes.




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        1. Russel – Would you mind giving us more information on how you structure your vegan low carb diet please? I, too, am vegan (10 yrs) and find that too much grain, bread, etc causes me metabolic difficulty i.e. pre-diabetes. I also struggle with just-over-the-high-end range of triglycerides. For me, I do a high low-carb veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus) with potato as my starch base (for calories and energy). But I have to eat my carbs early in the day so that I burn them off. I eat a giant salad (with beans, artichoke, low-carb green vegg ) at dinner so that I am not hungry but don’t have a lot of carbs in my system before going to sleep. I am within normal weight range but would like to take off about 10 lbs.
          What do you do? I’d love some additional ideas and information.
          I took a look at Dr. Bernsteins youtube posts and I think he advocates meat proteins. . . is that correct? I don’t have much info on him yet. But I see he advocates a low carb diet.
          Can you describe your diet for me? I’d so appreciate it.




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          1. I basically follow the Eco-Atkins diet that Dr. Greger has mentioned on this site, with particular emphasis upon eliminating carbs, starches (yes, including most beans and potatoes), and sugars (even most fruits). My meals consist of mostly salads, tofu, seitan, nuts and seeds such as almond, hazelnut, chia, flax, hemp. I found a low net carb barley cereal that I have for breakfast along with chia, hemp, etc. — King Arthur Flour Barley cereal — which has 15 net carbs per 1/2 cup, and a low net carb tortilla (10 net carbs per tortilla). But these are the extent of my grains. It is pretty limited, but I find that splurging a bit with berries, beans, or a banana is okay if you’re heading out the door to the gym or for a run. Anyway, there are four of us who met on this site who are all vegan and who have succeeded in controlling our pre-diabetes by severely limiting sugars, starches, and carbs. Btw, we’re all very thin, BMIs around 21 or so. Reducing carbs totally eliminates any extra weight.




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            1. I know little about this but am interested since my daughter was just diagnosed with T2DM, I’ve read Fuhrman’s the End of Diabetes and Barnard’s book (and have read/listened to McDougall on this topic.) It was my impression that which diet works depends on the degree of damage to the beta cells i.e. one’s insulin resistance (i.e. one might really be a type 1.5). If one’s insulin response is really normal (a true T2DM), then the Furhman-Barnard approach should work and get at the underlying cause — too much fat in the liver and muscle cells disrupting insulin. Do you agree with this? I’d appreciate your view, which seems to me to be quite informed.




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              1. David, yes that’s exactly my view as well. If the problem is simply insulin resistance, Barnard and Fuhrman’s approaches will work to overcome insulin resistance, and glucose levels should normalize. But if the problem is insulin deficiency, which is what the four of us have, that’s entirely different. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked by the medical world, even vegan medical practitioners. My advice is to have your daughter follow the Fuhrman/Barnard regimens for three or four weeks, and if her A1C isn’t already dropping, then she may have an insulin deficiency problem. The only way to deal with that is focusing on eating low net carbs and few sugars, going on short walks and other exercise after meals to blunt peaks, and having early dinners so that glucose doesn’t stay high all night long. There are other tricks as well but these are the most important. And she should test, test, test with glucose strips so that she knows the impact of every food in her diet.




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            2. Hi Russell, – Thank you for that extra information. I have been instinctively moving in the direction of lower/no carbohydrates. However, as I mentioned, I do eat some carbs in the morning because I work physically during the day. But your experience confirms what I’ve been thinking. I’ve started eating more seitan which I make myself (came up with a couple of good and easy recipes). It’s much less expensive to make yourself. I did take a look at Greger’s eco-Atkins information. Thanks! Don’t know how I missed it.
              I’d like to share with you some very interesting information I’ve come across lately. If you get a chance, read the book “The Fast Diet” by Michael Moseley, M.D. He is not vegan but he found himself slightly overweight and his numbers in the diabetic range. He started looking into fasting and his book outlines the many ways one can fast. But what’s interesting is that when you have not eaten for 10-12 hrs, the research shows that your body kicks into a different mode of cell renewal, protection and internal fat burning. His experience shows that if you fast 2/week you can increase your insulin sensitivity and lose weight. The easy way to do this type of fast is at night. So my method has been to eat an evening meal at 5pm and then not eat again until sometime the next morning. Depending on my schedule, I can fast for up to 16-18hrs if I don’t eat until noon the next day. You can have tea, coffee, herb teas, etc. but no calories in it. I use stevia. What’s pleasantly surprising is that I feel not an ounce of hunger.
              As you can imagine, this gives your body a good long rest from digestion and allows it to attend to some housekeeping chores. It also lets your body burn off excess calories. Not to mention you feel really good.
              Oh, . . and here’s another thing I forgot to mention. The research shows that this kind of fasting resets your immune system. It apparently allows the body to kill off older white blood cells and introduces new white blood cells that are stem cells. It kickstarts your immune system. Most of this research is by a man named Valter Longo who has spent decades studying fasting. Dr. Mosley reversed his own diabetes using this system.
              Thank you for sharing your information.




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              1. Thanks, and yes, I’m aware of this research and try to go 12 or 13 hours a night w/o food for this exact reason. Tough to go much longer because it doesn’t allow much time to pack in 2,000 calories during the course of the day, the flip side of this challenge. But all good thoughts and ideas.




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  4. Unfortunately I am forced to only eat WHITE rice vs any other kind as I have SNAS…systemic nickel allergy syndrome and must be a a VERY low nickel diet. Basically all my former nutritious vegan foods are banned or severely curtailed. I am already seeing MANY adverse health effects from my current low nickel diet, and no one can help. Normally I would never eat white rice, now I eat it daily, either as white rice, white rice crackers, or white rice thin noodles. UGH! BP doubled already, blood sugar surges, seemingly promotes things like yeast, not a good deal. And I have lost tons of weight….not good either as I was already thin. Sadly all other kinds of rice are higher in nickel, too high for my daily allotment of under 100 ug (micrograms) so I am stick with it I guess.




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      1. YOU may THINK you have a simple solution but keep in mind these factors:

        1) EVERY medical site disagrees on the “allowed” and “not allowed foods”, so knowing what is TRULY low nickel is not a simple matter. Nickel content varies due to soil content, water used, fertilizer used, part of plant eaten, age when harvested, etc etc. Unfortunately where i live Nickel is VERY high (WA State) so even “allowed” foods are going to be too high for me in any significant quantity. CA is alos high in nickel in many areas, and that is where most of our nation’s produce is grown. Sites only tend to agree on the big offenders of which I can have NOTHING, not even a BITE, ever: chocolate, spirulina, many teas, ALL beans, peas, seeds, egumes, whole grains, rices (except white) greens like kale, pineapple, raspberries, shellfish, coconut meat. Too add to the misery, you can never eat canned foods (any, they leach nickel) or cook in stainless (it ALL leaches nickel when heated)….so restaurants are out for me and I have had to replace my cookware with Visions glass cookware.

        2 My daily limit is VERY low due to the severity of my SNAS and right now my target is UNDER 100 ug per day (that is MICROgrams) in order to clear my symptoms as quickly as possible. Some on this diet can tolerate a lot more nickel, there are others in even worse constraints. In order to obtain needed daily nutrition by using most “allowed but higher foods” I would be eating in quantity to go over my limit. In other words, having one bite of something doesn’t cut it anyway for nutritional purposes. That is why I am heavy on the white rice and coconut oil (virgin cold pressed coconut OIL is allegedly ok, (not the meat) so is olive oil but I hate that).

        3) The ONLY protein powder I have found so far made from WHITE rice vs brown rice (or other non allowed plant protein) is by Metagenics (UltraMeal Rice) It is a real shame a “medical supplement” company puts TONS of added sugar in a product like this, but it is so sweet it hurts my teeth! 13 g added pure sugar per 15 g. protein. Not good for anyone! It is also potentially problematic for ME as I also have cobalt allergy, and with THAT vitamin B12 supplementation is generally not allowed (they all contain cobalt). The Metagenics powder has tons of added crap like that, so I am afraid to eat much of it. I am still hoping to find another protein powder that is white rice based, but the fact is most use brown rice, because it actually HAS some nutritional value!

        4) I have consulted with multiple doctors and nutritionists and also many sites like these…hoping there was some source of vegan protein I overlooked, or even an alternative protein powder I could use, but so far have come up empty.I tried a potato pure protein isolate and had an immediate HUGE bad reaction to it. Don’t know if it was the potatoes themselves (CAN be high nickel) or perhaps it was processed on metal at high temps, adding nickel that way. Either way it was a disaster so potatoes are out for me for now.I find I need a min of 50 g protein a day. Sure I can survive off less, but I feel like crap. I also have the weight loss to stem. So I have been doing the best I can. Trust me no one is motivated more than me as I HATE this diet! I am not trying to be argumentative here, but only pointing out the difficulty of the situation. The facts are that meat, dairy and eggs (and a few fish, not all) and white rice and refined white flour products are the lowest in nickel. They are also the reason for many chronic health issues. I know that. I have been vegan for many years, so this diet is both nutritionally and ethically abhorrent to me.




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        1. I apologize if I came off too brash but doubled BP (I assume hovering around 220/120) is a HUGE health issue in and of itself as well. This may lead to a sudden hemorrhagic stroke/massive MI and you are done then and there.
          I sympathize to your predicament as I am fighting an autoimmune condition myself.

          My suggestion is to prioritize the BP reduction even at the expense of a (hopefully) low-intensity allergic/autoimmune reaction that can be kept at bay by medications if no natural alternative is feasible.

          This metal sensitivity may be caused by metal poisoning/toxicity. Have you tried a chelation therapy to see if it may prove helpful in your situation?




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          1. thankfully it is not that high (yet anyway)!!. Before on my healthy diet it was always on the low side. I am just disturbed that it could go up so fast with the regimen changes! and I do not wish to take prescription medications. It is very frustrating to know this issue COULD be mitigated nutritionally, but that would compromise the anti allergy diet. For now I will continue to monitor it, and hope that I will continue to improve in the SNAS related symptoms so I can add some things back to my diet. Right now I am using 1 g vitamin C with each meal to hopefully block nickel absorption and also take Chlorella several times daily. Oddly chlorella is reputed to be low nickel, while spriulina is one of the foods highest in nickel ( I Used to take it too) In my case, I had no mass toxicity/ exposure, it is just my faulty immune system is now totally sensitized to nickel.Even a low amt it seems could trigger symptoms. Some folks do develop SNAS following introduction of metal othropedic or dental implants. Some get very ill and never figure out why. This potential also exists with some women’s implanted birth control devices. Often cobalt and nickel allergy co-exist (as in my case) and cobalt can be found INSIDE other metals like titanium…..let’s just HOPE I never need an orthopedic implant!!




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    1. Nicola, with all the negatives of your low nickel diet are you seeing any positive results? Your condition is a new one for me, so I’m just curious.




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      1. My systemic symptoms from the nickel allergy have gotten MUCH better on
        this diet, when before nothing else (including strong steroids) would
        not relieve them. They were so severe I was often hospitalized. And yes I
        have proof of diagnosis via True Test as well as my symptoms and other
        medical tests and biopsies.. So I do not question the diagnosis or the
        need for me to be on this diet, however I was just saying it is
        impossible to have good nutrition on it, and that there are serious
        health drawbacks to living on white rice and coconut oil. Maybe not
        everyone is as naturally thin as I but I went down even further to a
        dangerous level, therefore I can not afford to cut back on the few
        foods I am currently allowed. Hopefully as I improve I will be able to
        tolerate an additional new food each week, but the foods I really want
        will still be off limits. Until I got this diagnosis I had never heard
        of such a restrictive diet, except a ketogenic diet, but often those are
        shorter duration. This is for the rest of my life. I am also waiting
        for more allergy testing as I don;t want to inadvertently eat another
        allergen and screw up all my progress. Basically it seems my immune
        system is screwed. Prior to this was mostly raw organic gluten free
        vegan with an excellent diet so this is very difficult for me. I spent years studying the advantages of a healthy plant based diet so I know the shortcomings of what I now get to eat, but feel I have no other options. I was that far down before, in hospital and still sick despite tons of medications, and I looked as bad as I felt. SNAS is no joke.




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        1. Nicola, I’m SO sorry you’re having to live with this situation. Is it possible that chelation could help you? But it sounds like this will always be ongoing, that it isn’t just an overload of nickel. You must even have to be careful of the water you drink. How did your doctor even diagnose it? It sounds rare, or at least I’ve never heard of it.

          Are you in eastern or western Washington? I’m in Olympia, so we’re kind of neighbors.




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          1. Yes, water is a problem, especially here in Tacoma. I live in a old apt with metal pipes which leach…..unfortunately the ONLY kind of filter which removes things like nickel and lead, etc is a WHOLE HOUSE REVERSE OSMOSIS filter. When you have heat and moisture your skin will absorb MORE allergens….so soaking in a hot bath here could be disastrous for me. I no longer take baths, but shower now. I wash my face and cook with distilled water. I drink Perrier plain, they CLAIM it is tested for nickel. Lead has been found in many water tests in Tacoma lately, but the city is off the hook as THEIR water is clean….this is due to the old pipes in homes, and I am NOT holding my breath for my building to do any renovations! I HOPE to move. Reverse osmosis filters are very pricey and permanent installation so not an option for me here. I found a local lab to test my water for $18. Worth it! The filter I have for my shower head and kitchen counter top system is only capable of removing only things like chlorine (better than nothing) but NOT heavy metals.

            I can not cook in metal cookware, for even stainless steel will release nickel into food when cooked. So that all went out the door and I am replacing it with Vsions glass pots and pans. This means restaurant eating is out, goodbye social life! Also many react to commercial coffee for the same reason, and coffee beans themselves are often very high nickel…..some can tolerate a bit of home brewed coffee. Tea is also potentially VERY high. One green tea bag is over double my daily limit! So no tea for me!

            Yes the problem for me is not a toxicity level of nickel, it is that my screwed up immune system is so sensitized to nickel and other allergens that even small exposures/ingestions can potentially cause reactions. Chlelaton can help if you have a TRUE overload. I do take a gram of vitamin C with EVERY meal to try to help my body not absorb nickel from food. I also take chlorella. Unfortunately chelation therapy is most often done by naturopathic physicians. I do currently see one at Bastyr Univ med school in Seattle, however I am a Medicare patient and Medicare does not cover naturopaths visits, tests they order or treatments they preform….so chelation therapy is likely out of reach for me, even if it would be appropriate. I have read that in cases of toxicity issues, that the drug antibuse (most often used on alcoholics) could be used to keep body from absorbing nickel….but of course this drug has many bad side effects so not a day to day option for me.

            I must also examine EVERY item I apply to my skin….the trouble here is that the word “nickel: is not going to appear on the ingredients list….instead it is contained WITHIN other plant based or mineral based ingredients. The ONLY way to know is testing……and USA does not require any testing. So far as I know, only ITALY requires nickel testing of cosmetics and beauty products….and surprisingly with over 15 MILLLION Americans with at least a contact nickel allergy, NONE of our retailers carry those brands, not even Sephora! So I am forced (if I ever want to safely wear something like makeup again), to pay the expense of ordering from Italy. PIA…many women have very bad eye irritation due to makeup (eye makeup often has nickel) but don’t know why….a real untapped market here!

            Some people develop SNAS after having a metal implant….it is in orthopedic devices, dental implants and braces,etc…..it could all start with ear piercing with nickel at a young age and go from there…..nickel can also be found in some implanted birth control devices…and it is in medical needles and IV catheters (I spent PLENTY of time in hospital with those!)….so lots of ways..not just jewelry. Some sadly get sick after the implants and never figure out WHY!!! The other wild card is that nickel allergy most often goes hand in hand with cobalt allergy (lucky me I have both, and gold too so far!!) so cobalt can be found INSIDE other metals like titanium, so even “nickel free” jewelry is not going to be safe…..personally I have opted out of wearing any metal….not worth the risk….let’s just HOPE I never need orthopedic surgery/implants!!!

            So yes SNAS is a life changing, debilitating, quality of life ruining thing. I wish more research was ongoing but it is not, esp in USA. Italy has done a few small studies on it. My only hope is some rich person will contract it. Oddly, men are rarely afflicted! To diagnose nickel allergy in general, you need skin patch testing, most often done by allergist or derm. In my case the severe systemic symptoms and medical history matched up with SNAS….and the proof was my improvement of said symptoms on the low nickel diet and lifestyle.




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  5. For me, arsenic concerns outweigh the potential benefits of brown rice cited in this video with respect to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension. Arsenic is found in pesticides, but I believe most arsenic in rice comes from ground up chicken feathers, which are used as fertilizer, especially in the Eastern seaboard rice growing regions, due to their proximity to large chicken raising facilities. Why do chicken feathers contain arsenic, you ask? It is included in feed supplements to increase growth rate, of all things!




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      1. I used to subscribe to Natural News years ago until I realised that it promotes a number of unscientific theories about diet and nutrition, and offers some very biased and one-sided interpretations of the reports it discusses.

        As an example, note the penultimate sentence in your second link:
        “A healthy diet consists of 80% raw produce, with more vegetables than fruits as the main staple of your diet – not grains of any variety.”
        And this despite all the evidence linking wholegrain consumption to reduced mortality and a host of health benefits!




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        1. I agree Tom. The Natural News is sensationalistic, simplistic, and heavily focused on conspiracy and denying climate change. Strangely, when you listen to the Health Ranger, Mike Adams, speaking, he is much more reasonable. I don’t understand why, but I listen to him talk, but I don’t read his newsletter. Many people are much more thoughtful about intact whole grains, perhaps sprouted, versus white flour, for example.
          John S




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        2. was not aware of those issues, thanks for the point. I have only used it to review issues like how heavy metals get into our foods and testing of things like rice and protein supplements for metals.




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  6. article on arsenic in rice http://www.naturalnews.com/048560_arsenic_levels_brown_rice_toxic_grains.html
    arsenic concerns in EU cereals http://www.naturalnews.com/053014_arsenic_rice_cereal_European_Union.html
    “Organic” does not mean tested for heavy metals so be aware (yes, organic IS still a better choice, but things like arsenic contaminate soil thru other means than fertilizers and certain (fossil fuels and timber industry pollution, etc) so it is even found in organic foods.




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    1. Exactly! One reason I’ve reduced my rice consumption over the last few years. More quinoa, kasha, barley, etc. Thanks for those links!




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      1. yes, there are many safer more nutritious vegan options to rice…but for me sadly I have SNAS (systemic nickel allergy syndrome) and all those are banned on a low nickel diet. The ONLY rice I am allowed is white rice now. A real bummer!




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          1. My systemic symptoms from the nickel allergy have gotten MUCH better on this diet, when before nothing else (including strong steroids) would not relieve them. They were so severe I was often hospitalized. And yes I have proof of diagnosis via True Test as well as my symptoms and other medical tests and biopsies.. So I do not question the diagnosis or the need for me to be on this diet, however I was just saying it is impossible to have good nutrition on it, and that there are serious health drawbacks to living on white rice and coconut oil. Maybe not everyone is as naturally thin as I but I went down even further to a dangerous level, therefore I can not afford to cut back on the few foods I am currently allowed. Hopefully as I improve I will be able to tolerate an additional new food each week, but the foods I really want will still be off limits. Until I got this diagnosis I had never heard of such a restrictive diet, except a ketogenic diet, but often those are shorter duration. This is for the rest of my life. I am also waiting for more allergy testing as I don;t want to inadvertently eat another allergen and screw up all my progress. Basically it seems my immune system is screwed. Prior to this was mostly raw organic gluten free vegan with an excellent diet so this is very difficult for me.




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            1. Nicola: I’ve seen your posts over these last few weeks. I have no help to offer, but wanted to let you know that I feel for you. I can’t imagine being in that position for someone who actually knows what healthy eating is and would prefer to do so. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you are able to reintroduce lots of foods back over time. Good luck!




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              1. thank you so much…..your kind word help. I have also found several support groups for SNAS on FB which are a huge help. I miss my old foods terribly, as I preferred them for taste as well as the health benefits. I guess my case is a good example of how a healthy vegan diet can improve certain conditions, only sad I am proving it by going off my old healthy diet….




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                1. Hi Nicola,
                  I have SNAS too. It was so severe, I lived in hospitals the past 3 years. I would love to talk if you don’t mind. Perhaps we can help each other?




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            2. That stinks, sorry to hear it, and unfortunately these immune issues and others are escalating. It isn’t a huge surprise considering all the toxins we are stewing in, no matter how careful we are, but very sad that it continues.




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  7. from the video: “…after actually tasting [brown rice] and learning about it, most changed their minds.” And there is one of the keys many of us have talked about on this site when it comes to helping people change their taste buds. Some of it is education and some of it is just eating good food. It’s like magic when people realize that healthy food *is* tasty food. I love this story/study.




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  8. Unless the amount of fat intake was also measured then I don’t trust the results of the study. People who are on very high carb and ultra low fat diets seem to be able to eat all the white rice they want with continued weight loss because there is no fat to make the carbs dangerous.




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    1. I agree Jeanne, my biggest dietary change was cutting the fat and actually raising the carbs including white rice, and my diabetes resolved.




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        1. Yep, I have them to thank for it! Wish I could say the same thing about my own doctors over the years and the bogus ADA and their infamous handout! I’ve been getting spammed with requests for donations to help find the “cure” for diabetes! Makes me furious that a supposed resource for diabetics is such a sham!!! Because they have no contact link I went to their forum and couldn’t believe what nonsense was being promulgated there! I decided to drop a post with my own experience and legit links, and instead of the skepticism I was expecting, I got assaulted with a slew of ad hominem tirades that I wouldn’t repeat in polite company. It was so obviously a phony, concerted agenda it blew my mind! Criminal considering the growing #’s of diabetics out there who haven’t a clue and believe this crud!




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            1. The danger of social media is the echo chamber effect where one tiny bit of information can reverberate around so that it shows up in hundreds or thousands of places. The shear repetition can lend it an air of legitimacy where in reality it might have little or none.

              Often these things start with news reporting of the newest study. Those lately have touted the evils of “carbs” and the wonders of fat. Those studies usually are funded by an animal agriculture group and done by a friendly academic and then reported on by news organizations whose prime directive is to make money, not report the most accurate news. During the ensuing social media echo storm the quality of the commentary only gets worse. So in some ways people without good reasoning skills can be even more susceptible to idiotic propaganda in the age of social media. Critical thinking skills are more important now than ever before.




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          1. There is a book called “The Vitamin Cure for Diabetes” that suggests thiamine, B1, is a treatment for high blood sugar. Some doctors have written that beriberi disease is identical to diabetes in many ways. At least in some cases, B1 could treat diabetes that might actually be beriberi. Without a daily source of B1, it is possible to get beriberi. The beriberi outbreak came from rice polishing which strips out thiamine. Thiamine has been made one of the World’s most essential medicines.




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    2. “Fat burns clean in a carbohydrate flame” is a quote I heard many years ago that makes sense of a lot of nutritional study results. When the diet is high in carbohydrates such that the body runs primarily on carbohydrates, then any fat consumed is “burned” in that clean carbohydrate flame with little residue. But a fat (and even more so protein) flame is very sooty with lots of metabolic byproducts that fouls the system.




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  9. Quick question. Do you feel the daily dozen covers children as well? Would that be the best way to structure a toddlers diet, with obvious adjustments to serving sizes? Or add or subtract something from that list? Thanks!




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    1. pistol4423: Children do have some different needs compared to adults. Children are growing and have relatively small bellies. (The belly size matters because meeting children’s calorie needs can be harder when the kids are eating less calorie dense foods. So, a focus on higher calorie dense foods like tofu and dried fruits and nuts etc can be important for younger kids.) That doesn’t mean that the Daily Dozen isn’t a good general reference for what is healthy vs not healthy. But I think you might want to also study some valid resources which specifically cover diets for younger people.

      I happen to have two recommendations for you. Dr. Greger has recommended both of these resources in the past. 1) Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina wrote an awesome reference book called Becoming Vegan. The newish “Express Edition” has an entire chapter addressing children called “From Pregnancy On”. Of course, it covers pregnant mothers, but also has sections for babies and toddlers.

      2) The Vegetarian Resource Group (which is pretty much vegan) has a page dedicated to kids. The information on their site happens to be well researched. Here is the overall kid page: http://www.vrg.org/family/kidsindex.htm Scroll down to the Nutrition section on that page, and here is one of my favorite articles (which is linked to on that page), which I think is a great first stopping place when researching this topic: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php

      You might also take a look on the PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) website. I don’t know if they address toddlers specifically, but I know that they have at least some articles about kid topics, and their information is fantastic.

      I hope this helps. Best of luck to you and the little one!




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  10. What do you think of the studies regarding rice as a whole, brown and white, and the long term effects of the low but established presence of arsenic?




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  11. use south Indian rice cooking method to reduce arsenic. use some excess
    water while boiling and finally drip the excess cooking water (it is
    full of difficult to digest starch and other chemicals wash out
    including most of arsenic). don’t use rice cooker or pressure cooker.




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    1. I was watching youtube videos and came across one (didn’t turn it off before it started playing) of a vegan cyclist showing what he eats in a typical day. It looked to me like he was consuming 4-6 servings of rice cooked in a rice cooker. On that day he was eating white basmati, but stated that typically he eats brown rice.
      As far as I know, this site has not addressed the issue of arsenic in rice.




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  12. My son is about 90% vegan (eats some cheese) but is obese and cannot seem to lose wait. I was wondering if there could be other reasons beside diet that should be considered that could be the cause of his problem. For example, what tests he could take to find out?

    Thanks




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    1. If he personally is really eager to lose weight, I would recommend a challenge diet where he eat a very simple repetitive diet for a couple months. Some folks have had success with a diet of nothing but potatoes three times a day. Those who did reported that they actually enjoyed it and didn’t find it boring as you would think they would. Now taters morning, noon and night might be a bit too far for many, but the idea is sound. Make the center of each meal one or more whole starches (any grain, white potato, sweet potato, etc.), some form of legume and some kind of non-starchy vegetable or green leafy vegetable cooked or raw. Add herbs, garlic, onion, non-fat sauces or dressings to up the flavor. If it seems too weird to eat beans and greens for breakfast, then maybe just have oatmeal, but no butter, not even vegan butter. To add some sweetness top the oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, and/or raisins, and the like. Somewhere during the day (maybe on the oatmeal or in a salad) add a little fat in the form of a half ounce to ounce of nuts. Otherwise no added fats. Fats are a problem because they are so sneaky. Just a single tablespoon of olive oil at 120 calories represents more calories than 15 cups of lettuce! So it isn’t the gigantic salad made in your largest mixing bowl that represents any issues with calories. It is the couple of tablespoons of regular high fat dressing that is causing a problem. There are a ton of simple naturally fat free dressings that will dress raw greens as well as cooked vegetables. Lots of flavored vinegars to which can be added things like Dijon mustard, garlic, herbs, etc. Lots of flavor, very few calories.

      And simply do not worry about protein. All whole plant foods with the exception of fruits provide a higher percentage of daily protein than the percentage of daily calories they contain. Some like leafy greens get 40%-50% of their calories from protein. So stuffing yourself with salad not only helps fill you up with very low calorie density foods, but also does more than it fare share to make sure you get enough protein in a day. The result is that it is impossible to not get enough protein if he is getting enough calories, even with a total calories lower than metabolic need as is required to lose weight. Just don’t even think about it. Protein can only become a problem when the diet contains any significant amounts of refined fats/oils and refined sugars which have zero protein and kick off the plate other foods that do have protein.

      At each meal have him eat until he is satisfied, but stop before he is stuffed. If later he is hungry, then have him just eat more of what he was eating earlier, or have a snack of fresh fruit. Again eat until he is satisfied. The goal is to eat larger volumes of low calorie density food that supply enough calories to avoid being perpetually hungry, but lower than the calories burned in a day so that body reserves have to be used to supply the extra calories not consumed.

      As far as all the micronutrients I think it is OK to eat the same things everyday. A whole starch, some greens/non-starchy vegetable, a piece or two or three of fruit and a small handful of nuts and he would get all the nutrients he needs. The advantage of eating the same thing is that you can fix a huge amount of it all at one time and then just serve/reheat what you want for many meals. This also removes the need to spend a lot of time and mental energy thinking of what to fix and then taking the time to fix it.

      Good luck!




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    2. I was like your son before I went vegan… I regularly ate cheese thinking it was a humane source of high quality protein and calcium. What I wasn’t fully aware of was how incredibly fat laden it was. I knew it had fat, but ignored that inconvenient truth.

      When I stopped ignoring the fact my love of cheese, yoghurt, and butter led to horrible mistreatment of cows and calves, I decided to go vegan.

      Turns out it was the best thing I’ve ever done for *my* health. I effortlessly dropped 35 additional pounds. I’ve come to know that milk is a dietary disaster for our bodies. Even through I was drinking “2%” milk (i.e., out of 100 g of milk, 2 g are fat, 5 g are sugar, 3 g are protein, and 90 g are water). However, from a *calorie* perspective, milk is 36% fat, 40% sugar, and 24% protein. Including the water in the 2% milk calculation is how the dairy industry make a *fat rich* food seem like it’s a low-fat food.

      Beyond the high-fat content is the hormone content in milk. Cow’s milk is full of growth hormones designed to grow a 60 lb calf into a 600 lb cow in about a year. In humans, Dr G has reported on how milk can foster acne, cancer, early menses, and declining sperm count.

      Being “90% vegan” could be part of the problem. Aside from the fact that being ‘90% vegan’ is like being ‘90% pregnant’, the10% milk/egg/flesh could be where the trouble lies. Meat, eggs, especially cheese, and many fish have lots of fat and other substances that make weight loss difficult.

      I personally am finding that Dr McDougall’s adage that the “the fat you eat is the fat you wear” is proving true for me. Chef AJ has had remarkable success in weight loss by focusing on the caloric density of her vegan diet. For her, the fat in avocados, nuts, seeds, nut & seed butters were what kept her extra weight on. Flours are also foods that foster heavy weight. Now, before someone says “I eat those things and am trim/thin”, not all bodies process foods the same. I have a massive skeletal frame (6′ 3″ & recruited to be a lineman at LSU, ‘Bama, Notre Dame, et al) and a body that’s *very efficient* at converting excess calories to fat. By focusing on leafy greens, non-starchy veg, beans & peas, sweet potatoes/yams, moderating rice, whole grains, & fruit, and avoiding flour, oils, nuts, avocados, I’m resuming effortless weight loss while eating all I care to. I’ve dropped 70 lbs over 4 years and hope to shed another 30-50. Hope this helps… best of luck to your son.




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    3. Michael: You have gotten some great replies already. Going vegan is not the same thing as a diet of eating whole plant foods. And 90% vegan is not enough for many people to take full advantage of all the health gains that a whole plant food diet has to offer. Hence, I don’t think the first step is to look outside of diet. Instead, I recommend that you and your son spend some time learning about the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that he doesn’t get hungry and yest still gets all the nutrients he needs. The rest of this post is full of tips on where to go from here.
      .
      ————————
      Dr. Greger covers calorie density, but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. I believe that Doug Lisle is one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, and he gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
      .
      As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” which is no longer for sale. Argh! (I mention it just in case you can get your hands on a copy. Happily, there is a very good second best source for that information: an article that Jeff wrote that you can get here:
      http://www.forksoverknives.com/the-calorie-density-approach-to-nutrition-and-lifelong-weight-management/
      Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
      .
      Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is 600 calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 600 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
      .
      It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
      http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
      (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
      At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
      .
      Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
      .
      How’s that for some tips? If your sons give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.




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  13. “We also discovered that some infant rice cereals, which are often a baby’s first solid food, had levels of inorganic arsenic at least five times more than has been found in alternatives such as oatmeal.” – Mother Jones article “Arsenic in your food”

    “To reduce arsenic risks, we recommend that babies eat no more than 1 serving of infant rice cereal per day on average. And their diets should include cereals made of wheat, oatmeal, or corn grits, which contain significantly lower levels of arsenic, according to federal information.” – Mother Jones article “Arsenic in your food”

    https://www.motherjones.com/files/finalarsenicembargo91912.pdf

    I love whole oat groats, and I eat them in preference to brown rice. They have more flavor and nutrition to boot.




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  14. We like “Lundgren” organic rices in variety, brown, black, mix. Some the husk is still visible. And of course wild rice from Trader Joe’s. The 2 to 6 cup Aroma rice cooker makes preparation a breeze. Just don’t let it sit in warm too long. Trader’s has a light brown Basmati that cooks in much less time. In Australia where our son lives there is classic brown rice with the great “nutty” flavor,
    A very few Chinese restaurants will have brown. Chinese like “Sticky” white rice because it forms clumps for chopsticks, just watch your diabetic blood sugar soar. Of coarse, talking “brown” rices, that’s whole grain personified.




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  15. I just recently finished a 15lb bag of white rice and started on brown rice. So far my wife prefers the white and I feel I do as well, yet I feel much of that is simply what we are used to. Looking forward to more use with the brown rice to see how well my taste adapts.




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    1. MikeOnRaw: I don’t know if this is any help or not, but I grew up with white rice as a kid. When I got a little older and my mom served brown, I *really* did not like it. But that’s all I got for a few years and after that, I was totally fine with it.

      Some thoughts for you: Dr. Barnard thinks that how you cook brown rice can make a difference in how people like it. I have heard Dr. Barnard suggest people try cooking brown rice the same way that they cook pasta – ie, with extra water than you drain off after the cooking.

      Also, I have noticed that there is a wide range of brown rice types and textures. You might experiment with say brown basmatti rice, which has a totally different texture than the brown short grain rice and might be closer to the white rice you are used to.

      Finally, brown is so bla. Consider trying red and black rice options. These may be even healthier and have tastes that are more appealing. (Maybe. It is just an idea.)

      Good luck. Good for you both for giving it a try!




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      1. What Thea said.

        When I need to learn liking a new food I wait until I’m so hungry and do a lot of physical work and then tear into it. Do like 3 times…I did that with Kale, pumpkin, sweet potato, br rice, brussels arrgh sprouts and so on…love em all now. Red rice is a treat!




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      2. The bag of white rice was basmatti rice. The brow rice we have now is also basmattir rice. We use a rice cooker so it has a program for brown rice. If by the time we are done with this bag of rice I have (we eat less rice in the summer) we are on board, I may consider getting a pressure cooker to speed up the cook time of the brown rice.
        Thanks for the tips.




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        1. David J: I was a fan of rice cookers for years. I do enjoy their convenience. But for people trying to get used to brown rice, they might like the texture of “rice cooked like pasta” better at first. Or maybe they will like the rice cooker version best. I think people will have to experiment. Thanks for your post. I do think using a rice cooker is very nice.




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          1. And I would also like to add that flavoring the water – whether you cook it like pasta or not – adds to the enjoyability factor. Salting the water is one option, just like you do pasta. But you can also add a cube of vegan bouillon or onion or garlic powder. I have added red pepper if I want a kick. Try adding fennel with a little sugar (not a lot, just a little). Remember that you can add vinegar and mirin (or sugar) to rice after cooking to flavor it like a sushi rice.
            Part of what is boring about rice is eating it in its plain state. Experiment and have some fun.




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            1. Spice: Great ideas. I usually eat rice as part of a bigger dish, like say part of a casserole. I almost never eat rice by itself and so flavoring the rice ahead of time is not useful for me. However, I imagine that lots of people eat rice like you describe and flavoring the cooking water is a *great* idea. Thanks for taking the time to share. For anyone interested: Lorna Sass in the cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure (which is really a vegan book), also has some ideas on flavoring the cooking water of rice.

              Maybe I’ll give one or two of your ideas a try some time. Sounds fun. :-)




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    1. According to Wikipedia, parboiling makes white rice 80% nutritionally similar to brown rice (although they don’t site the source of that information). Supposedly it’s because the parboiling process drives nutrients (mainly thiamine) from the bran to the endosperm. Here’s the link.
      In this study they found that parboiled germinated brown rice had more anti-inflammatory activity than regular brown rice.




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      1. right but it has more arsenic than white rice, because that too is driven into the rice from the bran. Personally, I don’t worry that much about arsenic from eating brown rice a few times per week (but then we eat Lundgren’s brown jasimie, which seems lower in arsenic).




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  16. Dr McDougall explained that he had a hard time getting Asians in Hawaii to switch to brown rice because a strong cultural bias inferred that not being able to afford white rice was a social stigma, and you know how those work.




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    1. Not even a valid reason, if anyone believes it. As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, white rice is actually cheaper than brown, and it’s cheaper for a reason. In addition to white rice preserving better, it dries faster making it cheaper to produce.




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      1. Well, yeah, but he was talking 40 years ago! USED to be true, not so much anymore with mass processing, but bias gets ingrained. It’s common sense that having to further process the grain would have involved more effort and expense, therefore making it more “desireable” than the brown stuff you can harvest from your own field.




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  17. I would be interested in knowing benefit of freekeh. I have been using it for the past few weeks and find the taste much better than brown rice.




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    1. Interesting you ask. I first tasted Freekeh in the Andrew Weil restaurant “True Food Kitchen” in Phoenix a couple of years ago. It was on the menu and I had never heard of it so i asked if it was gluten free and they said yes. I’m gluten sensitive and it didn’t bother me so I assumed it was. Several months later I saw it in Whole Foods and in parenthesis next to the name it said (whole spelt) which I know is in the wheat family and is not gluten free so I was puzzled. I bought some and again it didn’t seem to bother me. From that point on I assumed it was another name for the whole spelt grain although when I eat things made from spelt flour they bother my stomach. After seeing your question I decided to dig deeper. It’s most touted benefits seem to be it’s high fiber content (three times as much as brown rice) and its high protein content. Take a look at this page. This is supposedly do to the fact that it is harvested when the wheat plant is young. Interestingly though I also found out that it’s not the same grain as spelt although they are both on the wheat family. Here’s wikipedia’s definition of Freekeh and here’s Spelt’s. Perhaps that’s the reason why spelt bothers me and freekeh doesn’t. Both are wheat but Freekeh is harvested when the plant is younger so perhaps less gluten content.




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      1. That video you referenced needs to be changed.
        At one point during the reign of King Cotton, farmers in the south central United States controlled boll weevils with arsenic-based pesticides, and residual arsenic still contaminates the soil. Today, rice paddies cover fields where cotton once grew, and a large market basket survey published in the 1 April 2007 issue of Environmental Science & Technology now shows that rice grown in this area contains, on average, 1.76 times more arsenic than rice grown in California. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892142/




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    1. An easy way to deal with the arsenic in rise issue is to cook the rice like pasta – lots of water, cook till desired doneness, then strain. The arsenic is disposed of in the water.
      :-)




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  18. I researched parboiled white rice, brown rice and regular white rice because I was having problems with blood sugar spikes eating brown rice. A Harvard Medical study showed that parboiled white rice maintained 80% of the vitamin values of brown rice and had a lower glycemic index . I now eat parboiled white rice and no longer have a problem with blood sugar spikes.




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  19. Great video, but what about arsenic levels in brown rice compared to white? I am very health conscious, and have switched back to white rice due to the arsenic / cancer risk. What are your thoughts?




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    1. To my mind, the relatively small absolute increase in estimated risk from arsenic in brown rice versus white rice is dwarfed by the observed clinical benefits of consuming brown rice …
      http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9152103&fileId=S0007114513002432

      Although, if you have a choice, black rice may be the best option of all.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_rice
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/brown-black-purple-red-unlike-white-rice/




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      1. I’m with you – unless one is eating brown rice everyday, I would not be concerned about it. On the other hand, I do avoid brown rice from the US southeast.




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      1. That was great, thank you for sharing – I’m glad I bought lots of red rice, and now shall be tossing in some lentils when I cook it!




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        1. It was mentioned in another paper a week or two ago (can’t remember which one now). As soon as I saw your mention of rice and Camargue, though, the memory came back. Then I did a quick Google and that particular paper came up.




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  20. I did swap over to brown rice, but did not find it as tasty as white rice. However, when I tried brown basmati rice it tasted just great. Better than normal brown and white rice.




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  21. Why don’t you go ask traditional Chinese medicine about white rice? 1000’s of years of research ignored.The bran is removed because if you eat rice long enough it irritates the digestive tract, and has more anti-nutrient binding properties. You simply combine white rice with vegetables to reduce GI load. Because really.. who eats white rice by itself? The nutrients from brown rice are not important.

    White rice nourishes and heals the stomach while giving crucial yang energy that “moves upward.” This rising heat stimulates the metabolism and makes you hot, unlike brown rice. This Increase in body temp makes you healthy,robust,fertile,keeps your hair and many more health boosting properties. Take note Dr.Greger on the hair part. White rice is vastly superior in absorption and digestion. You have a much high nitrogen balance in fecal matter than you do brown rice and stools are formed better from the removal of the bran. White rice also becomes a resistant starch; pure food for stomach bacteria. Butyric acid is a byproduct of the starch fermentation and your GI trac, it just loves this stuff. Seals it all up so you don’t get a leaky gut.
    White rice also makes any food safe for your to eat by reducing gastrointestinal symptoms and balancing acid alkaline. Hey… that means meat is back on the plate because rice negates all of it’s negative properties. Same with most other starches like potatoes. Meat and potatoes anyone? It wasn’t just a random combination. Meatballs and spaghetti, sub sandwiches, ect. Just add starch and it’s fine. Hey, Dr. Macdougal was right… starch IS the solution.




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        1. I do not think that “yes” as an answer is particularly convincing.

          Scientific evidence in peer reviewed professional journals is what I meant not a litany of claims and theories in books.




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    1. There are little nuggets of truth in traditional medicines so the entire tradition shouldn’t be discounted because it is communicated in flowery phrases like “crucial yang energy that ‘moves upwards'”. But it is rigorous scientific research that can winnow out the useful grains of truth from the dross of cultural storytelling. So just because there are in fact some truly medically useful items in traditional Chinese medicine, there is just as much or more that is baseless and quite a bit that is actively bad for one’s health.




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    2. Dr. Greger’s video is addressing one issue: on the whole, is brown rice better for you than white rice, all else being equal? The fact that many people who eat lots of white rice are very healthy is not relevant to that question. I still recommend white rice for patients who have severe vomiting, because it is so bland, and easy to digest. However, for most of us, brown rice is superior. The only disadvantage is its shorter shelf life, and possibly increased arsenic content, depending on where it’s from.

      As you say, if you eat healthy vegetables along with your white rice, that helps. The reason is that it supplies you with what has been stripped away from the brown rice. But again, the question addressed by Dr. G. and by the study he references is not whether white rice plus healthy vegetables is as good as brown rice, it is whether brown rice alone is better that white rice alone.




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  22. I’ve lived in Japan for 11 years now. We always eat genmai – brown – rice. Most people here got into the white rice habit because it stores much longer. Also, rice was used to pay taxes to the shoguns of old and so the farmers didn’t get to keep and eat the crop themselves. This is part of how white rice came to be viewed as superior (rich people’s food). In the area where we live, people eat rice, but other major staple foods are sweet potatoes and taro.




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    1. Baru, the answer is Yes, since basmati and jasmine rice are white rice, which have been stripped of their bran layer and germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm.




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      1. Both jasmine and basmati rice — available in white or brown — are aromatic rices with a nutty flavor that make a nice alternative to your usual side dish.




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  23. It is my understanding that in the US a big problem with brown rice, and other grains, is the way they are stored here. This comes from Dr. Hulda Clark’s research. The storage leads to an unhealthy mold situation that is much worse in brown rice than white rice. Then there is the issue of arsenic in some of the rice grown here. I would love to use brown rice but for now I am using Indian basmati white rice. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.




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    1. Sorry although that seems possible, a glance at her entry in wikipedia indicates she is not a reputable source of information. Here’s one quote:

      “Clark claimed all human disease was related to parasitic infection, and also claimed to be able to cure all diseases, including cancer and HIV/AIDS, by destroying these parasites by “zapping” them with electrical devices which she marketed.”




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    2. My local Indian grocery carries Indian brown basmati rice. My understanding is that all Indian rice tends to have lower arsenic levels. And what is it about rice storage that is a problem?




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    1. Typically, white rice will bind the bowels as it’s had the beneficial fiber removed. Personally, I’ve found whole grain rice helps everything work out fine in the end.




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      1. boom boom … or should that be bum bum? Sorry – but I am a Basil Brush fan (as indeed are all people of good taste and discernment.




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      1. Please, please, please tell me we’re not branching out to competitive bowel moving! One Super Bowl a year is enuf for me…

        There’s a joke running through my impish mind just begging to be unleashed, but I’ll refrain as there are some things that should be said with our inside voices only to ourownse’fs.




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  24. The meta-study on white rice and Asians left me in a quandry – traditionally the Japanese ate a lot of white rice and had, as I understand it, very low rates of diabetes, but then they were generally thin. This seems inconsistent with the study mentioned. Anyone have any insight into this?




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    1. The causes of most chronic diseases are almost certainly multifactorial. Obesity alone can be a factor.

      I think that traditionally the Jaoanese ate fewer calories (2000 per day on average in 1950) then, ate more PUFA than either SFA or MUFA., averaged 23 grams of fibre daily and animal foods constituted only about 6% of total calories. The differences between that situation and the diet of modern Asian and Western populations is significant and probably confounds results.
      http://www.okicent.org/docs/anyas_cr_diet_2007_1114_434s.pdf




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  25. These studies have been done on women! i’m not a woman! Therfore,

    untill prove otherwise i’m continue to eat white rice.




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    1. Knock yourse’f out. I personally don’t think the differences in our reproductive plumbing & glands are terribly likely to negate the benefits whole rices bestowed upon the women in the study, but I’ve been wrong before. I think I’ll continue to heed the good doctor’s advice, even if the studies he cites have ‘cooties’ as I made sure to have a cooties ‘booster shot’ before I turned into aa teenager! ;^)




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  26. I am now torn between to loves. I’ll have both; would that be okay if I am eating a high fiber diet? And I only eat organic non GMO.




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  27. The thing is, in the States – Brown rice contains arsenic – especially Brown rice from one particular Southern State. It’s important people know this and this know it shouldn’t only be consumed no more than a certain number of times a week.




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  28. Dr. Greger, could you please do a video on Vitamin K and a vegan diet? Vitamin K1 seems to be greatly available from dark leafy greens, but the conversion to the more aktive form of Vitamin K2 seems in question. Is there any research going on? Is it worthwhile getting additional K2 from supplements as a vegan?
    Cheers from germany and keep up the good work!




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    1. Thanks for your question!

      Jack Norris RD, has made an excellent summary on vitamin K for vegans. I highly recommend you to read it as it addresses your question in further detail, however I will quote a paragraph:

      “Menaquinone (K2) is produced by a number of different bacteria species that typically live in the digestive tract of humans, and can be absorbed in the distal part of the small intestine. Unless someone has had significant antibiotic therapy, they should have plenty of such bacteria providing them with menaquinone.”

      Hope this answer helps!




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  29. “However, after tasting brown rice and *learning about its nutritional value* most expressed a willingness to consume brown rice and *participate in a future long-term brown rice intervention… ”

    In the video Gregor says they changed their mind about the taste of brown rice, and cites the above sentence as evidence. It’s seems to me that they were impressed by the evidence provided about the nutritional value of brown rice, rather than by its taste. Any parsing of that sentence which leads one to think that they changed their preference based on taste/texture, or changed their preference at all, is a tortured one indeed.




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    1. Clint: I see where you are coming from. But here’s how I work: If I really don’t like something, I won’t eat it–no matter how healthy it is. If learning about the health benefits causes me to be willing to eat something, that is a change in my preference/taste for it. Because if I really didn’t like it, I still would not eat it. That’s a different perspective for you.




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  30. I used to work with a Chinese woman, who complained to her doctor about being constipated. Her doctor told her to drink more water, which she did, but it didn’t help. I asked her if she ate white rice or brown rice. She said, white. I suggested that she switch to brown rice because of the fiber, and see if that would help. She did, and it did.




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      1. Thank you back! I was wondering about the brown rice in the picture. It’s much darker than the long grain brown rice I buy. I wonder if it might be what’s sold as red rice, in small overpriced quantities.




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  31. What about puffed rice cakes. They seem to be made from rice only, plus some odd ingredients like occasional sesame seeds. As good as just plain rice? If so, one benefit is that the whole brown version might be more palatable for some.




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    1. Tobias Brown: The process of making puffed rice loses a lot of the nutrition. Puffed grains are definitely not as good as whole, intact grains cooked normally. I first learned about the nutrition ranking of grains from a talk given by Brenda Davis. (Brenda Davis has been mentioned favorably by Dr. Greger on this website as well as in his book.) One of her slides had intact grains at the top as most nutritious and (if I’m remembering correctly), near the bottom (or at the bottom?) was puffed rice.
      .
      I don’t have a link to that particular slide, but I just found a page which at least shows you Brenda Davis’s general treatment of puffed grains: http://www.brendadavisrd.com/oat-groat-cereal/




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      1. Okay, thanks Thea. Brenda discusses this here,

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkFJZUIUeEA

        Seems pasta gets a greener light. Interesting.

        I’d need to confirm her statement about puffed rice cakes. She cites the Glycemic index. Though I was thinking that that index has been discredited, maybe by some associates of Dr McDougall. She also cites nutritional loss from the puffing process. Maybe that’s not an issue if you’re eating an otherwise nutritionally rich diet.

        A big question is at what point do we need to be concerned about the load on our liver from higher sugar foods. Personally, I have not been so concerned about this though lately I’m reconsidering this and have started to a test of drastically reducing non-whole-fruits sugars.

        Also, she’s talking about those focused on weight loss. What about those who don’t need to lose weight and exercise intensely? Is raw sugar okay in those cases?




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        1. Tobias: Great find! I’m keeping a reference to that video. It’s going to be very helpful to refer people to that video in the future. Thank you for including the link.
          .
          re: “She also cites nutritional loss from the puffing process. Maybe that’s not an issue if you’re eating an otherwise nutritionally rich diet.” I 100% agree with your second sentence. But the point I was trying to make was the first sentence. People might think (and I thought that was the crux of our original question) that puffed grain is just as good as eating natural intact grains. Puffed grains are not the same as boiled whole grains when it comes to nutrition. That doesn’t mean that eating some rice cakes are bad for you per-say. But rice cakes are a significant lessening of nutrition compared to just eating whole grain rice. I would guess that puffed rice is likely little different than eating white bread. So, people have to keep that in mind when planning an overall diet.




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          1. I’m not sure because the rice cakes I mean are made from whole rice grain, and we can see that they are not starkly white but include the browner parts of the whole grain.




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  32. You’ll beat this Antonio! Keep a positive attitude, immerse yourself in research, Greger vids, and (if you haven’t been to his site) i highly recommend ChrisBeatCancer!!




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  33. Interesting! Are there any studies on parboiled rice? I don’t have brown rice available, does parboiled provide similar benefits, or should I avoid it?




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  34. Can you comment on the effect of consuming rice following the FDA last publication?
    When eating plant base diet, rice can be a major component in the diet (from simple streamed rice, through rice crackers, or rice paper and even rice milk). The previous comments have some info but not a bottom line. Should we be worried and moderate the rice product consumption in our diet?
    and what is better white rice with less possible arsenic or whole grain rice with the additional fibers that can reduce the arsenic effect?




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  35. Can anyone explain the exact mechanism whereby white rice (or any refined starch, which is basically just immediately broken down into glucose) can contribute to type 2 diabetes?

    For the sake of our model, let’s presume we’re talking about a healthy teenager with no known metabolic or digestive problems who eats white rice regularly.




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  36. How much would brown rice compared to white rice matter if one is already vegan and already getting the nutrients that are lost when you refine the rice into white? Even eating white rice I am high fiber plenty of fruit and veg.

    I stopped with the brown rice because of the pollutants and contaminants that the husk / bran layer can retain. Now I need to go back?

    What else were these people eating in these studies in the video? Does the white or brown rice question really matter when one is already vegan?




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  37. What I don’t like about those studies they don’t reveal the whole story. Is the brown rice better because of the fiber. What was the overall diet? What else did they eat? Fieber plays a big role in blood sugar. How much fiber did they eat each day? It doesn’t proof anything.




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  38. I keep reading different sources that talk about brown rice containing arsenic (see link below). Is this true? If so, it seems a better plan to eat white rice with beans and veg.
    “Brown rice contains a very unsafe level of arsenic and the grain shouldn’t be consumed. In test, some brown rice brands contained at least 50% more arsenic than the safe limit per serving. A few brands even had nearly double the safe limit of arsenic in the product.” http://alkalinevalleyfoods.com/youve-been-lied-to-7-disturbing-facts-about-how-eating-brown-rice-can-damage-your-health/




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    1. johan003: Whether or not brown rice contains any significant amount of arsenic depends on a number of factors. There are some brands out now which are tested and certified to be arsenic free. I don’t know if the following is true or not, but poster “jj” had the following to say and you could check on it:
      .
      “Compared with the results for the 1300 rices tested by FDA and with the results for rice tested by Consumer Reports in their independent investigation, Lotus Foods rices have among the lowest levels of total arsenic of any rice on the market, and in some cases the lowest levels. None of the regions where Lotus Foods rice is grown have any known arsenic contamination. They are participating in the “more crop per drop” experiments on growing rice. I am just a happy consumer.”
      .
      “jj” also gave us a link that shows amount of arsenic by country. That link is not working now for me, but maybe you could find the data and then source your rice based on this information to lower your exposure.
      .
      You might also want to look into the following article that Tom Goff found. Does steaming rice in a coffee percolator remove most of the arsenic? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11755755/Can-rice-give-you-cancer-Not-if-you-cook-it-in-a-coffee-percolator.html (Cool find!)
      .
      My 2 cents: The issue is not of great concern to me as I just don’t eat all that much rice. When I do eat rice, I eat brown when I can and don’t worry about it. The following comment from Dr. Forrester puts things into perspective for me: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/worth-switching-white-rice-brown/#comment-2728520810. Tom Goff’s comment underneath Dr. Forrester’s comment is also helpful.
      .
      If I ate a lot of rice and/or this issue was of great concern to me, I would choose the tested and arsenic-free brown rice over eating white rice. (The information in the NutritionFacts video on this page explains why.) Here’s one more twist: Generally if I’m eating rice, I prefer black or red over brown as those varieties may be even healthier than brown. (see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/brown-rice-vs-black-rice/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/video/brown-black-purple-red-unlike-white-rice/ ) But I think the same issues re: contaminants and looking for tested brands would apply to black or red as well. You just have to pick your brand wisely.




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    2. This seems like scare-mongering, to be honest.

      It is certainly true that some brown rice is high in inorganic arsenic but the risk really depends on how much you eat on a long term basis. As a recent draft FDA risk report notes
      ” The estimated mean inorganic arsenic concentration was 92 ppb in white rice and 154 ppb in brown rice. The mean inorganic arsenic concentration in dry infant brown-rice cereal was 119 ppb, and the mean inorganic arsenic concentration in dry infant white-rice cereal was 104 ppb. These levels do not pose a health concern for immediate toxicity, but the levels may pose a risk following long-term exposure.”
      http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodScienceResearch/RiskSafetyAssessment/UCM486543.pdf

      I eat (brown) rice a couple of times a week and do not consider the risk at all meaningful. On the other hand, if you are a member of a culture that eats rice 2 or 3 times a day, then it may be worth considering reducing brown rice intake or adopting different cooking/processing methods. In addition to Thea’s very helpful summary of the issues below, you may also want to consider this study that showed that high volume cooking ie 6 or more parts of water for every 1 part of rice substantially reduces arsenic content
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/23771364_Cooking_rice_in_a_high_water_to_rice_ratio_reduces_inorganic_arsenic_content




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    1. Hi, Nicholas. I am Christine, a NF Volunteer Nutrition Moderator. It is difficult to say that one food is better than another. As you point out, pearled barley has more fiber than brown rice. It also has more calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, choline, folate, and vitamins A and K. On the other hand, brown rice has slightly more protein, more magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin E. Because you like barley, you should definitely include it in your diet, but maybe it would be a good idea to include some brown rice also. I hope that helps!




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  39. I cannot find unadulterated brown rice…this is what I found in my local supermarket, “Easy cook brown rice, part-cooked and lightly milled”(?!) Hmm, well, that “Easy cook” rice takes 25 mins to cook anyway and I suppose the lightly milled bit means that some, if not all, of the goodness has been taken away. And I bet because it has been partly cooked, what was left of any nutritional value has been washed away!




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    1. Susie: I know a lot of places now carry the more processed brown rice, but I’ve never had trouble getting the plain brown rice. I would agree with you the brown rice you are describing is not as good as regular brown rice, but I would guess that it is better than white rice.
      .
      If you can find another convenient grocery store, you might find better results? FYI: Fred Myers has a pretty good bulk section, at least where I live. You can get cheap, regular brown rice and as little or as much as you want. Good luck.




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  40. A focus group of chinese adults. I wonder if the preference/attraction/obsession for pale/lighter/whiter skin in China also transfers to their initial thoughts on white vs brown rice?? Whether it was a “did you say brown – oh then it must be worse” response.. Or if it was a matter of familiar vs unfamiliar.. Or both these reasons? And if anything was subconscious..? The psychologist in me has been excited..

    Not trying to be racist haha but just thought of this when the vid mentioned ‘chinese and white vs brown’.. What’re your thoughts?




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    1. No, it has nothing to do with skin color. It’s because historically, white rice (being more delicate, tasty, and soft) was considered an upper-class food, something for wealthier people, because it takes more time and energy to dehull rice. Only peasants ate brown rice. The association continued up until modern times. Machines made it easy and cheap to make white rice, and people of all incomes could afford it, and of course everyone wants access to a luxury good. Now everyone eats white rice and it is the norm. A similar process occurred in the west with brown bread and white bread.




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  41. But this intervention study didn’t answer on the most important question:
    Does brown rice better than nothing?
    It’s still high in both GI and GL ,
    So i still doubt about it.

    Another fault with this study,
    Is that it’s not “blind” study.




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  42. I HAVE SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO SAY ABOUT THIS ARSENIC CONTROVERSY. IT IS VERY SIMPLE, YET I AM GUESSING THE ANALYTICAL CHEMISTS TOTALLY OVERLOOKED IT. IF MY CONCLUSIONS ARE WRONG, PLEASE CORRECT ME.

    THE TESTS DID NOT WASH THE BROWN RICE BEFORE COOKING! I GOT INVOLVED IN MACROBIOTICS, WHICH IS A JAPANESE VEGAN COOKING SYSTEM, THOUGH I THINK OTHER ORGANIC COOKS KNOW THIS. YOU PUT YOUR BROWN RICE IN A CLAY POT, AND REPEATEDLY WASH IT WITH COLD WATER UNTIL THE WATER IS CLEAR. WASHING IT INVOLVES STIRRING IT WITH YOUR FINGERS, SO THE BROWN RICE GRAINS GRIND AGAINST EACH OTHER. THIS TAKES SOME TIME, AND I GENERALLY USE AROUND 5 CHANGES OF COLD WATER OR MORE. THIS PROCESS TAKES UP TO 10 MINUTES.
    I CATCH THE RICE IN A STRAINER – STIR- DRAIN-REFILL-STIR-ETC THE WATER IS INITIALLY QUITE CLOUDY AND THEN BECOMES CLEAR GRADUALLY.

    I AM A HARVARD TRAINED BIOCHEMIST AND AN ANALYTICAL CHEMIST WITH EXPERIENCE TESTING NATURAL PRODUCTS. SAMPLE PREPARATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF AN ANALYSIS. IT’S THE OLD GARBAGE-IN, GARBAGE-OUT ISSUE. YOU CAN’T JUST PRESENT NUMBERS LIKE THEY DROPPED OUT OF THE HEAVENS.

    IN THIS CASE, OF COURSE, NOT EVERYONE KNOWS HOW TO PREPARE BROWN RICE, SO THEY DON’T WASH IT. BUT IF YOU WERE TESTING CHICKEN FOR BACTERIA, WOULD YOU TEST IT WITH FEATHERS ON? ANYONE KNOW HOW THEY PREPARED THE BROWN RICE SAMPLES? ANYONE WANT TO WAGER ON THIS WITH ME?

    THANKS JB




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    1. OH, and I just saw in the conclusion, Dr Greger referred to a comment that many asians felt brown rice to have an inferior taste and texture. Again, if you know how to cook it, then that may change. First, wash it like I mention above. Then, according to macrobiotics, who are heavy brown-rice-eaters, put the washed rice into a clay pot in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes. This makes the rice taste sweet and juicy. Standard condiments are gomasio and tamari, both rich in salt. Gomasio is roasted sesame seeds ground together with 10% sea salt. the seeds are roasted in a flat fry pan. Tamari is fermented soy sauce, and an expensive grade best, since you don’t use much, and cheaper grades from China may be adulterated with burnt wheat.

      So the paper authors, again, may be off the mark, in just boiling unwashed whole grain brown rice. The Japanese methods are worth learning, since these are the sub-group who actually eat brown rice daily. The above procedure may sound laborious compared to an electric rice cooker. If you wash the rice, you can get OK results with a cooker, is my taste opinion. But I still go to the trouble. Hey, it’s still easier than cutting a chicken’s head off!




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