Going Gluten-FreeSeptember 26, 2012

Do You Eat a Lot of Rice?

I love rice. Don’t you? With gluten off the table and off the plate, most people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity enjoy rice and rice flours as their favorite go-to alternative grain. Now that the FDA confirms reports of arsenic in rice and rice-based products and Consumer Reports is urging consumers to cut back on eating rice for that reason, are you wondering what to do?

What exactly does this mean to you and your special diet? The American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) released this statement as background explanation and with advice for gluten-free consumers:

Earlier this year, Consumer Reports tested rice and rice based products and found measurable amounts of both inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, as well as organic arsenic, less toxic but still of concern, in those samples. This information led the FDA to undertake its own study sampling significantly more products and to share the early findings. 

While arsenic is found in foods throughout the food chain, in their natural state or when processed into other products, it’s not known where the threshold of safety ends and harm begins. The FDA indicates it is moving to gather and analyze the data necessary to make sound scientific judgments regarding the levels, which may cause potential health risks.

The ACDA recommends that individuals following a gluten-free diet consume a diverse diet that incorporates a broad range of whole grains, such as corn, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum and buckwheat, into their diet in an effort to maximize nutrition.

The ACDA urges the FDA to act expeditiously, as Americans with celiac disease and gluten-intolerance may be at greater risk of danger as a result of following a gluten-free diet.  

The FDA recommends that people eat “a balanced diet containing a wide variety of grains” but the agency doesn’t recommend that consumers change their rice consumption “at this time.” Note that this recommendation is not specifically targeted at gluten-free consumers, who often eat higher quantities of rice than the rest of the population.

Meanwhile, several Democrats in the U.S. Congress say they’re planning to introduce legislation to require the Food and Drug Administration to set a maximum for the amount of arsenic in foods that contain rice.

Comments (12)

The Consumer Reports list of rice and rice products that they tested for arsenic included several brands that are organic. Sadly the organic products are also high in arsenic. It seems that the water supplies in many areas that grow rice throughout the world are high in arsenic - some of it natural and some of it from pesticide use in the past. Since rice is grown in wet conditions, it absorbs more arsenic than other crops.

Posted by: Candace H | November 6, 2012 8:37 AM    Report this comment

When I found out about the arsenic in rice I cut down on my rice consumption, which was in the form of rice bread rice crackers, cereal, etc. When I ate it less often I was able to see that I felt much better when I wasn't eating the rice at all. I can't recommend eating it at all. Bob's Red Mill makes some gluten free bread mixes that don't have any rice flour in them. Try cutting out rice for a while and see if you feel better.

Posted by: Unknown | November 3, 2012 1:09 AM    Report this comment

I love brown rice and found this quote from Consumers Reports dated Wed. 9-18-2012: " The group's rice tests included multiple samples of more than 60 products - including white and brown rice, infant rice cereals, rice crackers, rice pasta and rice drinks. It found measurable amounts of total arsenic - both inorganic and organic forms - in samples of almost every product tested.

The tests also showed that brown rice had higher levels of arsenic. That is because arsenic is concentrated in its healthy outer layers, which are removed to make white rice."

Posted by: R.B. M | October 2, 2012 6:48 PM    Report this comment

I wish we could have a government in place to protect us from all this.

Posted by: Unknown | September 29, 2012 10:26 AM    Report this comment

I have recently researched, as well as gleaned this info from my doctor that the most common allergens are as follows: soy, corn, dairy, eggs, wheat/gluten, sesame, artificial sweeteners, nuts, and she includes all GMO foods as above and including non-grass fed meats, honey, canola, non-organic zucchini and crookneck squash, food additives, and supplements that may contain these. Organic is always best as these cannot contain GMO products. An amazing website I have found is The Institute for Responsible Technology. I am gluten intolerant and am simply trying to live healthy....what a struggle these days! Hope this post helps at least one person today.

Posted by: rednesss | September 28, 2012 12:44 PM    Report this comment

I started eating rice more and then got reprimanded by my doctor (an osteopath) who is proactive in my healthcare--imagine that! As my diabetic marker (A1C) reached 6, he said I had to go to a diabetes education class to learn how to count carbs! Apparently, all the GF breads, muffins, and other delights, not to mention the rice were adding more intolerable sugar to my body and my immune system was grossly inflamed. Reduce rice significantly. I am told corn isn't an allergen, yet I have anal inflammation when I eat it. Perhaps it's the GMOs!

Posted by: Unknown | September 27, 2012 6:35 PM    Report this comment

I like how they say "it's not known where the threshold of safety ends and harm begins". Arsenic does not belong in the human body in any amount...quinoa, amaranth, sorghum and buckwheat are good alternatives, but what about rice that is grown in the US? Is it okay? You can always go with organic wild rice grown in Canada...argh! And of course it isn't cheap!!! So frustrated!

Posted by: Unknown | September 27, 2012 4:51 PM    Report this comment

Why don't they also start checking to see what all this GMO corn is doing to us? My daughter and I can no longer eat corn, now rice, what's next????

Posted by: Michelle K | September 27, 2012 11:13 AM    Report this comment

Common sense will tell you that although arsenic is a naturally occurring element, most of the arsenic found in tested rice most likely comes from chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Eating organically as much as possible is always the better alternative.

Posted by: Sharon E | September 27, 2012 11:06 AM    Report this comment

why not try SORGHUM? makes nice bread and is grown in the USA is not an import.

Posted by: Unknown | September 27, 2012 11:01 AM    Report this comment

Having Celiac Disease is difficult as it is,but now we have to cut down on rice? With more corn being used for Ethanol than human consumption or animal feed,it's driving up crop prices,which increases consumer prices,and shortages. This is affecting our purchases.

Elizabeth W.

Posted by: BETTY WHEATON | September 27, 2012 9:29 AM    Report this comment

well it didnt bother the chinese people who live on rice as part of there diet,and i do eat alot of rice,some times,nother else at all,and it makes my stomach feel better.

Posted by: Unknown | September 26, 2012 5:04 PM    Report this comment

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