Is White Rice a Yellow Light or Red Light Food?


[Music] arsenic is not just considered a carcinogen but a so-called none threshold carcinogen meaning that there really isn’t a quote-unquote safe level of exposure any dose no matter how small may carry some cancer risk so it may be reasonable to use the conservative olara approach reducing exposure as low as reasonably achievable I have a low bar for recommending people avoid foods that aren’t particularly health promoting in the first place like when that acrylamide story broke the chemical found concentrated in french fries and potato chips I was like look we’re not sure how bad this acrylamide stuff is but we’re talking about french fries and potato chips which are not healthy anyway so I had no problem provisionally bumping them from my list of yellow light foods into my red light list from minimized consumption to ideally avoid on a day-to-day basis one could apply the same logic here junk food made out of brown rice syrup rice milk and white rice and not just processed foods but arsenic contaminated processed foods so may belong down here but something like whole brown rice is more difficult because there are pros to help outweigh the cons the rice industry argues that the many health benefits of rice consumption outweigh any potential risk that’s the same thing you hear coming out of Japan about the arsenic contaminated seaweed hijiki yeah the cancer risk posed by hijiki consumption exceeds acceptable cancer risk levels by like an order of magnitude but the Japanese Ministry of Health stresses the potential health benefits lots of fiber and minerals as if hijiki was the only weed in the sea why not choose any of the other seaweeds and get all the benefits without the arsenic in the same thing here the many health benefits of rice consumption outweigh any potential risk as if brown rice was the only whole grain on the planet can’t you get the whole grain benefits without the risks by eating oatmeal instead or barley or quinoa or is there some unique benefit to rice such that we really should try to keep brown rice in our diet Consumer Reports recommended moving rice to like here not necessarily avoid it completely but moderate ones intake the rice industry criticized Consumer Reports for warning people about the arsenic levels in rice saying there’s a body of scientific evidence that establishes the nutritional benefits of rice consumption and so any assessment of the arsenic levels in rice that fails to take this information to account is inherently flawed and very misleading they cite two pieces of evidence race consuming cultures tend to be healthier but is that because or despite their white rice consumption what about how a rice eating americans tend to be healthier yeah but rice eaters also tend to eat significantly less saturated fat so again how do we know it’s because or despite the white rice they could have cited this study showing a brown rice intake two or more servings a week was associated with a lower risk of diabetes but presumably the reason they didn’t is because white rice intake is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and white rice represents 95 percent of the u.s. rice industry switching out a third of a serving of white rice a day for brown rice might lower diabetes risk 16 percent but switching out that same white rice for whole grains in general like oats or barley might work even better so other grains have like 10 times less arsenic and are associated with even lower disease risk no wonder the rice industry didn’t cite this study they do cite the Adventists studies though and some in vitro data for example in a petri dish there are rice phytonutrients that can inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells at greater and greater doses while apparently leaving normal colon cells alone that’s exciting and indeed those who happen to eat those phytonutrients in the form of brown rice once a week or more between colonoscopies had a 40% lower risk of developing polyps the consumption of green leafy vegetables dried fruit and beans were also associated with lower polyp incident but the only reason we care about the development of polyps is that polyps can turn into cancer but there had never been any Studies on brown rice consumption and cancer until now which we’ll cover next [Music] you