This title showed up as an article in my latest “Yoga Journal”. We hear warnings all the time about various foods so much so that sometimes I wonder just what I should eat. The article details research on three foods which may be dangerous to ingest.
The first one is rice which really frightened me at first because I really, really like rice and eat it multiple times a week. The problem with rice is arsenic, yes, arsenic. Everyone knows that arsenic is not good. Due to arsenic containing herbicides and pesticides, harmful levels have been found in rice. Why? Rice grows in water and therefore absorbs ten times more arsenic than other grains. This not only means humans need to be careful about eating rice but also other products such as brown rice syrup found in infant food and energy bars. Is organic safer? No. And forget eating brown rice because it contains 80 per cent more arsenic than white rice. These rice warnings also apply to products made from rice including crackers, pasta, cereal, even rice milk.
Does this mean eliminate all rice? Not necessarily. Some rice has much less arsenic than others. The safest rice from the arsenic standpoint is white basmati from India, Pakistan, and California. Lundberg is one company that tests for arsenic so their rice should be safe as well. Rinsing rice thoroughly helps. You can also cook it in extra water and drain like you would pasta. Boiling leaches out the arsenic.
The verdict is still out regarding GMOs. Some countries have banned GMO foods totally. According to the article in “Yoga Journal”, the only GMO crops commercially grown here currently are soybeans, corn, canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya and some summer squash. The FDA has approved an apple that does not turn brown and a potato that produces less carcinogenic compounds when cooked at high temperatures. If you want to avoid GMO, look at the list above. Some farmers are growing non-GMO soybeans. However, they usually go to foreign markets which do not want GMO products, e.g. China.
For me, the worst on the list, carrageenan, remains the most hidden because most people do not even know they are eating it. Where is it? In ice cream, yogurt, nut milk, canned whipped cream, cottage cheese, salad dressing. Why care? New evidence indicates it may cause all sorts of health problems from gastro-intestinal inflammation to cancer and diabetes. The only way you will know if this is in a food product is to carefully read the label. Some zero fat yogurt contain it and some do not. Silk brand nut milk does not contain it whereas several other popular brands do, e.g the ones that are not in the refrigerated section at the grocery. Some companies are fazing it out of all their products; this includes Horizon and Silk.
The only way to eat for good health and be safe it seems is to keep up on the latest research and read the labels. Know what you are eating. Bon appetit.
Note: the rice used here is basmati from Pakistan.