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Wednesday, 09 January 2019


Mike wrote, "In the new, weak, dysfunctional America, the FDA has remained silent on the subject."

Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products

FDA Statement on Testing and Analysis of Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products

Questions & Answers: Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products

(Includes directions for the "spaghetti" or "pasta" method of preparation)

You know how to ruin a person’s day, Mike. I was going to make my first batch of rice tonight in my new rice cooker. Now I feel like I’m preparing a vat of arsenic. I think I’ll drive to the local McDonalds instead, you know, as a healthy alternative; double cheeseburger and diet Coke.

https://pduncan02.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/20161021-adkvisit-12_dxo.jpg -- my wife Lori reading How Not To Die by Michael Gregor. We've appreciated Gregor's evidence-based approach to food and nutrition for a few years now and it's worked very well for us. We heartily concur with your endorsement.

"How much arsenic does it have? I don't know ...." Lundberg does report on this:


I have been boycotting cruelty for decades, by not using animal products. Everything is from factory farming/fishing now (including the stuff with the labels suggesting otherwise -- "free range"; "humane"; "organic"; etc. all come from factory farms now, in the USA).

Factory farming is a very recent and wildly radical departure from millennia of human practice and religious teachings. It is a moral catastrophe. The most basic decency requires boycotting factory farming/fishing. Start with chickens' corpses:


Or start with Meatless/Meat-free Mondays:


And then take it from there. By the way, my doctor is stunned by how healthy I am for someone my age. He wishes all of his patients would do what I am doing. And I don't even do it for me. I do it for the innocent, defenseless victims of factory farming/fishing.

Best wishes.

I am rather into food and health. Every morning I make Karin and I a smoothie featuring blueberries, strawberries, spinach, kale, banana and avocado and mixed with protein nut milk fortified with pea protein. Added to the mix is a vegan supplement powder and turmeric. I feel good about this.

Folks please stay away from wheat, sugar and anything processed. Go organic when ever possible. The prices have come down.

(btw cauliflower is amazing and versatile. It can imitate anything from mashed potatoes to rice. and a much healthier option.)

WOW That's a real bummer about rice. Especially since I eat brown rice every day as a special diet aid. Bummmmmmmer

[I love rice too. Bear in mind I'm just reporting, I'm not an expert. From what I know I'd suggest sticking with Lundberg rice if you can, and cooking with the "spaghetti" method. Here's the Lundberg page that PacNW provided:


And here are Dr. Greger's videos on the subject:


I have to say, though, that these are not encouraging.


excellent, keep talking. Like you, one of my favorite subjects. Will check out Michael Gregor. Thanks for this Mike, yes, I eat rice almost everyday. I hate change, but . . .

Naturally, I went right to the end of that last video, thinking "how bad could any nutritional video topic be?" Alas, nihil novi sub sole, and I was already well aware of the phenomena. Personally, I find all smoothies to be disgusting, so I generally eat my greens raw.

Hey Mike, rice is a carbohydrate that spikes insulin causing the body to store carbohydrates as fat while simultaneously shutting down growth hormone and fat burning enzymes--plus carbohydrates are unessential.

[Neither of these statements is true at all! You can't survive without carbohydrates. --Mike]

Rice has long been a staple of my diet and I'm now avoiding gluten as well, which increases my exposure to rice-based ingredients, so Arsenic has been on my mind lately.

According to Consumer Reports in late 2014, "White basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan, and sushi rice from the U.S. on average has half of the inorganic-arsenic amount of most other types of rice." [emphasis mine]


On the other hand, this data from the FDA seems to suggest that the safest rice is actually white Jasmine rice, with white medium- and short-grain rice a close second.


I assume that by "sushi rice" CR meant white medium-grain rice, in which case they concur with the FDA data. That's my favorite kind of rice, so take the observation with a grain of, er, salt.

But an even better bet seems to be pseudo-grains like millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, which, in addition to having less arsenic than rice, tend to have more nutrients and protein. I intend to try a bunch of them as rice substitutes.

There's a terrific sum-up of the arsenic and rice issue here: https://foodrevolution.org/blog/arsenic-in-rice/

[Millet is highly goitrogenic, and don't forget barley, which I've been eating a lot of lately. If I ever find a good barley recipe I'll let you know, though. --Mike]

You can try Massa Organics for great California brown rice.

And here are some barley recipes. I can't vouch for any of them, but a few seem worth trying out.

If I were looking to, I'd add it to a hearty vegetable/bean soup, or I'd mix it with little black lentils and season with fresh herbs and a simple red wine vinaigrette. Yum!

RICE: Why do most people regard rice as a healthy food? Because we carry chilhood memories of traditional asian people eating it. Asian people are/were lean because they eat small portions and expend lots of energy in their daily lives. We don't.

Rice is starch with almost no nutritional value. With the husk it's little more. Worse, the starch polymer chain molecule breaks down into glucose monomer units in about 90 minutes flat, and that massive sugar spike forces the body to release excessive insulin. Excesive insulin has been identified as a leading cause of the present epidemic of diabetes.

Moral: Avoid rice altogether unless you need it as a side for the occasional Indian dish. Yes, carbohydrate is essential, but we can get all the carbohydrate we need from green and coloured vegetables. That's the level of carbohydrate we need unless we're running marathons or farm-labouring.

SMOOTHIES: If we reduce the chewing we do, we deprive ourselves of the satiety effect of chewing, which provides part of the satisfaction of eating. Smoothies were invented by blender manufacturers! Why do it?

i.s.t.r. that in days gone by rulers/despots regularly consumed small quantities of arsenic in order to build up immunity to it and lower the risk of beng poisonedby it

Paul Mc Cann


You say evidence based Mike.

Surely the most relevant evidence in the context of human nutrition is related to the design of the human gut system, rather than the efficacy of a particular recipe?

We have a gut that is longer than a carnivore, but shorter than a herbivore. We have one stomach.

This fact indicates that we need to process our intake somewhat but not as much as grass eaters. So forget wheat and rice, or anything that require more than one injection of enzymes and acids, like the other complex carbohydrates.

However, because we don't have a really short gut, where really strong acids are injected into a very small stomach and then the food is got rid of very quickly before it does any damage, we are not good with really bloody highly nutritious meat like offal, which is the first thing that a carnivore goes for after a kill. So that kind of stuff ferments in our medium length guts.

Going further up the food canal we reach the mouth, where we have a combination of grinding and tearing teeth, rather than a full set of permanently growing cutting teeth or similar grinding teeth. Our mouths produce an enzyme which instantly digests simple sugars.

We get our energy from simple sugars, and we get our large brains from easily digested fats.

Without going into volumes on this subject, that is about the size of it. We are designed to eat simple sugars and fats, and lots of them.

The vegan diet, in the context of the grassy plains would satisfy that, and it did for centuries.

As David Byrne said... We are living on nuts (fat) and berries (sugar).

However, we are the most successful animal on the planet, and we have adapted. We have modified our diets so that we can spend more of the day playing with cameras.

We can now eat fatty pork and cheesy comestibles to get the really concentrated fat, we can break open coconuts and process olives and palm nuts for further sources of fat.

We have bred citrus fruits and apples and pears so that they are no longer nasty little dry tree fruits geared only to the reproduction of the tree, but now so that they are really tasty.

The fact is that the genie is out of the bottle, and there is no such thing as perfect nutrition, there just isn't enough perfect food to go round.

Factory food and rice, wheat, potatoes, deep sea fish, and other foods are convenience foods produced by mill owner, to enrich himself. They are the source of all of our ills, since they store up trouble.

In order to increase their profits they have to continually enlarge their marketplace, increase the population and break down barriers. In short, they need globalism.

And they are going to continue to fool enough idiots into supporting them.

Personally, I would rather have 70 free years, than 120 years as a prisoner of big pharma, and big farmer.

Hmmm, should I start a rice exported business from here? Since we do test our imported rice for heavy metals and arsenic. I sense a business opportunity. :P

[You should mention where "here" is, because no one can tell from...here. (Heh.) --Mike]

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46654042?app=news.science_and_environment.story.46654042.page#share-tools Interesting piece on the BBC website concerning Vegan Milk, it takes 54 litres to produce 1 glass (200ml) of Rice Milk.

Sorry that should have read “54 litres of Water” to produce 1 200ml glass of Rice Milk.

The American Cancer Society on Arsenic …

Some foods naturally contain more arsenic than others. As mentioned above, rice and rice products are a particular concern because they are a major food source in many parts of the world and are included in the diets of many infants and children. The levels of arsenic in these products and their possible health effects are areas of active study. At this time, neither the FDA nor the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend specific limits on how much rice or rice products should be eaten, but they do recommend that families eat a wide variety of foods for a well-balanced diet that includes grains other than rice, such as wheat, barley and oats. This can help limit any possible health effects from eating too much of any one type of food.

Concerns have also been raised about arsenic levels in some fruit juices (particularly apple juice). The FDA has tested the arsenic levels in many apple juice products and has stated that it is confident in the overall safety of apple juice for children and adults. The AAP does not have specific recommendations regarding arsenic in fruit juices, but it has stated that children don’t need to drink fruit juice to have a well-balanced, healthy diet. The AAP recommends limiting the intake of all sweet beverages, including juice, because of the risk for poor nutrition, obesity, and childhood cavities.


(part of a long piece)

I believe that "wide variety of foods" and "well balanced diet" are key. Don't dwell on any one thing.

What would you says the nearest equivalent website for photographers? One that "started his organization with a grant, sustains it through donations, and doesn't accept advertisements or sponsorship. Everything on his website is free."

[Beats me. Do you know of one? --Mike]

"If I ever find a good barley recipe..."

Well, beer (generally) and malt whisky are made from barley... ;-)

Argue or discuss, the reality of it all is that nobody gets out alive.
We grow, reach a peak and then go downhill - what goes on during that time can make a difference in quality of life as we progress.

We could go back to farming methods without so many chemimicals, without genetic engineering and without the machinery spewing toxic fumes as they harvest and then watch more starve as production falls drastically.

Now I'll go have a Chili Cheeze dog with triple onions on it and a Pepsi Cola.

Arsenic in red wine?
Hmm, for what did that used to be a treatment in years past?
(Just off the cuff by an Immunologist.)

It's weird to see you recommend a site that is almost exclusively videos...Yuck!

Mike...thanks for TOP every morning, and for good writing. But for a real science-based take on Dr. Greger: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/death-as-a-foodborne-illness-curable-by-veganism/

[That's very curious...why would you think that that's "a real science-based take"? Because the title of that blog says it is? As far as I can tell, the expertise of the author of that site is that she's a doctor. A doctor who is a retired Marine Corps colonel. Nothing wrong with that. But Michael Gregor is also a doctor, one who specializes in nutrition and is a recognized expert in nutrition. Furthermore, your author's schtick is to play devil's advocate...she even calls herself the "SkepDoc." And yet even so, she ends her critique (all based on watching ONE video) by substantially agreeing with him.

The instant I saw Greger's book title ("How Not to Die") I knew it was a mistake, because certain people are literal-minded and would object that we all die. Whereas the title merely refers to the efficacy of looking at common causes of death and searching for "best practices" to mitigate their severity. Wouldn't you rather die of old age in your nineties than cancer, hypertension or heart disease decades earlier? That's apparently too subtle for Dr. Hall, who also makes the blatant category mistake of calling Greger a "vegan," which he's not. He advocates WFPB, not veganism. Calling him a vegan, characterizing vegan views in general terms and from other sources, and then shooting them down is setting up a straw dog, which is a pretty weak gambit from a debating standpoint.

One quality of logical thinking that editors have to be good at is "evaluating competing claims." In this case, I don't think you've done due diligence yet. A retired Air Force physician who's an admitted generalist (see her bio) and who has watched ONE of Greger's videos is not in a position to issue a blanket condemnation. There might be valid critiques out there of Greger and his claims to being scientific, but this isn't one of them. --Mike]

I wonder about what this plastic rice that was imported from china to Nigeria does to one's health:


Perhaps rice with arsenic is preferable in the end.

Re barley: try scotch broth soup. Should be able to get packets of broth mix pulses. Very high in barley

One of your more interesting (for me, anyway) OM/OT "free range" posts, and I appreciate the links.

I deliberately steer towards "organic" and non-GMO in my grocery purchases, the bulk of which I either grow myself or buy from a local farmer who I've know for a number of years. When asked why I do this, since regular supermarket groceries cost less and look okay, my response is, "If I wanted to eat RoundUp (glyphosate)I'd put a bottle of it on the kitchen table along with the salt and pepper grinders."

Wheat, (and wheat products), is problematic. In large scale wheat production, it is much more efficient for the farmer at harvest time if all of the wheat ripens at the same time, which it normally does not do. So, they "force" the still-green wheat to "harvestibility" by broadcast spraying the field with glyphosate, then allowing a week or so for the chemicals to work.

From where you live, take a trip up to Sodus Point one day in warmer weather. Along the way you will pass apple orchards where the apple "trees" are trained onto supports similar to grape vines. The ground at their bases, and between rows, is clear. Can you guess why?

(BTW, Sodus Point is an interesting place to visit of itself.)

Hey Mike, both statements are true. You only need carbohydrates in the form of say leafy green vegetables for their vitamins and minerals which you could supplement instead. Carbs ARE unessential. The body without carbs will switch to burning fat and converting the fat into ketones. Carbs are converted to sugar in which some are used for energy and the rest are stored as body fat. If you're consuming a good amount of carbs just look in the mirror: are you lean with lean muscle or flabby. Eliminating carbs and using fat and some protein for energy will transform your body into a lean, ripped machine.

[Hi Jeff, you've fallen for some unfortunately common misinformation. You can't gain weight eating more rice. If you yourself are overweight at all, try this experiment (because I don't want to advocate eating rice): without changing anything about your current diet--that is, without compensating by eating additional rich foods, but without attempting to curtail your normal eating either--add 14 slices of whole-grain bread to your diet each day for six weeks. Make sure it's real whole grain bread and has low sugar. Eaten plain. You will lose weight. Try it for yourself. --Mike]

Off-topic posts like this surely aren't helping you retain your readership.

[Au contraire, mon frere. My most frequent request from readers is for more off-topic posts. I hear it more than anything else. --Mike]

This has turned into somewhat of a hobby of mine ever since hearing a Nina Teicholz interview on CBC radio about the time that "The Big Fat Surprise" came out.

Some things that might be relevant follow...

* "U.S. News is wrong about what constitutes the best diet", By Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz Jan 28, 2018
At https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-taubes-teicholz-us-news-best-diet-problems-20180128-story.html

* "Lesson for the Next Dietary Guidelines Committee: We Need A Diversity of Opinion"

"Given that the vast majority of committee members supported plant-based diets, one might not be surprised that they introduced 'Healthy Vegetarian' as one of three official USDA-HHS dietary patterns. (The others are 'Mediterranean' and 'US-Style'). Yet the committee could not identify any rigorous, i.e. 'Grade 1' strong evidence, to support this recommendation. Moreover, of the eight systematic reviews the DGAC conducted, examining whether fruits and vegetables could promote health benefits of any kind, only 'inconclusive' evidence could be found."

At https://www.nutritioncoalition.us/news/2018/10/17/lesson-for-the-next-dietary-guidelines-committee-we-need-a-diversity-of-opinion?rq=mediterranean

* "Women, Low-Fat Diets & Heart Disease" is a video interview with Nina Teicholz, author of "The Big Fat Surprise", the result of 10 years of intense research.

- On saturated fats: It's been demonstrated that the most effective way to increase your HDL is to eat more saturated fat. It's the only food known to increase your "good" cholesterol. If you keep carbs low and your saturated fats high, you're in good shape.

- On the "Mediterranean Diet": It was a commercial product developed by the European Olive Oil Commission to sell more olive oil to America. So they developed this brilliant plan of hosting the best-ever series of nutrition conferences all over the Mediterranean.

There's a reason we have a Mediterranean diet - that's because everybody wanted to go on vacation to the Mediterranean. There's a reason we don't have a Siberian diet. But there was never any science for it. Anyone who goes to the Mediterranean knows, they eat a lot of meat. Lamb, and beef, and pork, and - if you're in Greece, you know - vegetables are a nice side dish, but every meal has some meat in it.

Check it out at YouTube. "Women, Low-Fat Diets & Heart Disease w/ Nina Teicholz" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX41JlrIzws (runtime: 1:10:05)

* Zoë Harcombe Most perfect food: liver. Eat more cholesterol and live longer.

Video lecture at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdznfiWvGq0 (runtime: 25:13)

* Death by Veganism

"...traditional vegetarian diets, as in India, invariably include dairy and eggs for complete protein, essential fats and vitamins. There are no vegan societies for a simple reason: a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run."


* "You can't survive without carbohydrates." False. See Rober Lustig: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Rob+Lustig

* Also Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Karsten Anderson proved nearly 100 years ago the truth of the no-carbohydrate diet with a medically-supervised year of living on only meat.

Good summary of Stefansson's findings in three parts:




Sushi rice is short grain Japanese style rice that cooks up a bit sticky, thus nice to use in sushi.

Like this:


I've used this for years because although it is on the expensive side when cooked in a good rice cooker it is the best rice on the planet.

Okay, I watched the first video you linked to on smoothies and it was pretty good. Nice summary. I'll mention it to my wife, who is a doctor and likes smoothies.

Hey Mike, it's still always calories in versus calories burned, but I'm talking about body composition. If you're spiking insulin with a diet rich in carbs you will carry more fat versus lean muscle than if you kept insulin flatlined. Insulin prevents fat burning enzymes from working plus you lose out on your body producing growth hormone which has fat burning and anti-aging properties.


A few years ago, I happened upon the concept of "nutrient density." At its simplest, the idea is how much protein you get from foods for the calories eaten.

For example, 100 calories of romaine lettuce provides 10 gr of protein. Contrast that with 100 calories of a hamburger from the well-know golden catenary chain, which provides just 4 gr of protein.

I used nutritiondata.self.com for these figures, (which are, by the way, approximations).

In 1968 (before being shipped off to Vietnam) I went through U.S. Army Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I got diet advice from an old Army veteran who knew something of wars and survival and I have followed that advice faithfully ever since:

I'll eat anything that's slower than I am.

Regards, Mike.


"Millet is highly goitrogenic, and don't forget barley"

Thanks for the Millet warning. I'll mix it with other grains and/or prepare it with kombu.

Americans use the term "sushi rice" to refer to just about any medium or short grained rice, though some are more discriminating. Even in Japan though, a number of varieties are used to make sushi, some associated with specific regions.

So in the context of a report warning about toxin levels in particular varieties and sources of rice, it's just too vague a term. It's possible that CR tested a sufficient variety to make a blanket statement, but I strongly doubt it.

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