Rice cakes are really popular among the youngest, but it seems that they are not as healthy as we considered them to be. Namely, a new study found that these products are loaded with dangerous levels of a carcinogenic substance.
This study was carried out by the Swedish National Food Agency. And it examined 102 rice products available on the market. In the end, they discovered high levels of arsenic in some of these products, which is a known carcinogen.
Arsenic naturally appears in the soil and bedrock and is absorbed by plants, but rice seems to be particularly open to absorbing and storing high levels of arsenic.
If ingested in large quantities, arsenic can cause tumors in the skin, lungs, bladder, as well as the liver, kidneys and prostate. Also, recent studies pay a lot of attention to the presence of arsenic in baby rice and rice products.
Regarding these findings, the food safety organization revised its dietary recommendations on rice. To be more specific, children should not consume rice or rice products such as rice porridge, rice noodles, or breakfast cereal made of puffed rice like (Rice Crispies, for instance) more than four times a week. Moreover, these rice cakes contain the most arsenic, which is the reason why they shouldn’t be given to children under the age of six.
Furthermore, a toxicologist at the Swedish National Food Agency, Emma Halldin Ankarberg, states that , “Many children eat rice cakes as a snack, but unfortunately we must advise against this. Other countries are also giving this advice.”
Also, she adds that “For everyone else, rice cakes are ok in moderation, but it depends on the amount of rice products consumed overall.”
Consequently, individuals who consume a lot of rice, i.e. more than seven times a week, should reduce their rice intake as they’re exposing themselves at a risk of ingesting a lot of arsenic. Continual exposure to arsenic can contribute to a number of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, chronic cough, diabetes and neurological effects. Children are particularly at risk.
The study also found that there were different levels of arsenic in rice depending on the variety, cultivation area, cultivation methods, and production methods, for instance, whole grains generally contain more arsenic than refined rice.
Plus, some of the popular rice products that were found to contain unsafe arsenic levels were Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Boots Baby organic rice cakes and Organix First Wholegrain Baby Rice.