By Ruth Fairchild in The Conversation.
A recent study found that brown and organic rice sold in the UK tends to contain significantly more arsenic than white inorganic varieties that are often considered less healthy. Arsenic is found in many foods but can be especially concentrated in rice, particularly in the husk, which is removed to produce white rice but retained in brown rice.
Consuming too much arsenic over a long period is thought to be dangerous because it can cause cancer. Yet brown rice is usually considered healthier than white because of the extra fibre and vitamins it contains. Organic rice is less likely to have been exposed to pesticides.
Ascertaining exactly what a healthy diet consists of can be full of these apparent paradoxes. Should you eat brown rice for the fibre or white rice for the lower arsenic levels? The answer shows the potential difficulties of using studies like the one cited above to guide dietary choices and the need to fully understand the complexities of nutrition and dietary choices.
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