Note: Where does the time go? Somehow this is my first post since May - when my gluten-free claws came out to rail against Dominos "gluten-free" Pizza. I know, there have been many newsworthy gluten-free stories since that time, but the truth is I've been up to my gluten-free eyeballs with our new GF family business. Soon I will be launching a new blog related to that business. But today I felt it important to weigh in on the continuing conversation surrounding the newest FDA warning about arsenic levels in rice.
From the moment I saw the first press release, I had to know more. I dug deep into Google for the rest of the story and I found two comprehensive articles.
1) FDA issues concerns over arsenic in rice "We understand that consumers are concerned about this matter. FDA is committed to ensuring that we understand the extent to which substances such as arsenic are present in our foods, what risks they may pose, whether these risks can be minimized, and to sharing what we know,” says FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "Our advice right now is that consumers should continue to eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of grains – not only for good nutrition but also to minimize any potential consequences from consuming any one particular food.”
2) Consumer Reports discusses arsenic in rice "The results of our tests were even more troubling in some ways than our findings for juice. In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms."
It's important to know that the FDA and Consumer Reports are NOT telling us NOT to eat rice. These organizations are raising valid concerns about the amount of arsenic - which they point out is naturally occuring in our soil - showing up in their test samples. What they are suggesting is we that we all eat a diet which includes a diversity of grains. Duh -
Bottom line: Both the FDA and Consumer reports are responding to consumer pressure to create an industry standard for safe levels of arsenic in rice. Sounds good to me. (Editorial comment: "Safe levels of arsenic". Does that sound like an oxymoron to you?)
Of course, this news created buzz within the gluten-free community. Why? Because we know that much of a gluten-free diet can be rice based. It’s a common replacement for wheat. Just seems logical that the gluten-free consumer would take notice of the FDA’s concerns.
Before we all start thinking the gluten-free sky is falling, I thought it might be helpful for us to make our own comparisons about our gluten-free grain options. To that end, with my son Jeremy's help, we’ve worked up an easy to read graph based on the information from “The Gluten-Free Edge”. In her new book, co-author Melissa Jory does a great job demystifying our GF grain choices.The Gluten-Free Edge
I'll leave you to peruse the graph, knowing that the brick red bar will probably jump out at most readers. Yep - that's the GF oats. Lower in carbs than all - with the exception of corn (one of the most highly genetically modified grains on the planet). Oats are also among the highest in protein, and are also higher in thiamin - an essential B vitamin often missing in a GF diet.
Hope you've found this information helpful.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Deb Wheaton (Ironic, I know. But no one with Celiac or a wheat allergy forgets my name)
Disclaimer: Of course I’m a bit biased as we now have a gluten-free oat based company – which we started largely because of their nutrient value. But keep in mind that the information in the Nutrient Profile was obtained from the USDA Agriculture Research Service Nutrient Data Laboratory. Data for magnesium is from Shelley Case’s book: “Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide”.