Gluten-Free and Full of Arsenic?

If your celiac sensitivity has you reaching for the rice, you may want to draw your hand back. Though the cereal grain is favored by those avoiding gluten, those who want to also avoid arsenic may have found themselves in a tricky situation.

Rice tends to absorb more arsenic from water and soil than other grains, but it usually isn’t in amounts that should concern consumers. The average person’s rice consumption keeps arsenic well below levels where they would become unsafe. However, for the 1 percent of the western world that has celiac disease or avoids gluten for other reasons, their rice consumption can increase arsenic levels to worrying amounts.

Scientists in the European Union found in two studies that flours, breads, sweets, pastas, beers and milk made with rice and intended for people following a gluten-free lifestyle tend to have more arsenic than their counterparts containing gluten.

Ńngel Carbonell, co-author, said of the studies’ findings, “These figures show that we cannot exclude a risk to the health of people who consume these kinds of products. The European Union has not yet established legal limits for the maximum content of arsenic in rice and rice-based foods, though it is currently working on this.”

According to the researcher, “What is needed is for health agencies to legislate to limit the levels of arsenic that cannot be exceeded in rice-based foods intended for consumers who suffer from celiac disease.”

Another one of the authors, Sandra Munera, recommends labeling standards for arsenic levels in food. “The inorganic arsenic content in every food product should be indicated, and the variety of rice used and its provenance should be identified clearly, because some are more recommended than others.”

While it’s true that arsenic is naturally present in Earth’s soil nearly everywhere, some locations have more than others. Concentration of arsenic can also increase with the use of pesticides.

For those who cannot consume most cereal grains, rice is a diet staple. The sooner something can be done about high arsenic levels in the foods they eat, the better.

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90 comments

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

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Monica Buchanan
Monica Buchanan3 years ago

ty

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

So what are we supposed to do?

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago

ty

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Ann Bodimeade
Ann B3 years ago

So rice that hasn't been grown in substrate with high levels of As is safe then. Maybe we need to be looking into where the As is coming from.

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Jane R.
Jane R3 years ago

This is important information and many do not know these facts.

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Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard3 years ago

thank you

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Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago

thanks

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Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard3 years ago

thank you

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