At last there is some acknowledgement of an issue that I have been ranting about for a long time!
Today I read an article in Nature World News that finally points to the fact that coeliacs are at risk of eating too much arsenic because of the amount of rice-based products they eat.
Research carried out in Spain entitled Arsenic Speciation in Rice-Based Food For Adults with Celiac Disease, looks at the occurrence of arsenic in gluten-free foods, intended for coeliac adult consumers. The total arsenic and inorganic arsenic of the rice in these products meant that a health-risk to these consumers could not be excluded. As was pointed out in the article in Nature World News, if you do not have to eat gluten-free food, don’t!
I have been worried about this for quite a while after it was advised that under 5’s should not be given rice milk as a milk substitute due to high levels of arsenic vs their body weight.
It seemed to stand to reason, therefore, that coeliacs, and coeliac children in particular (due to their small size) were also at risk of consuming too much rice since rice flour is pretty much the basis of all processed gluten-free products (bread, cakes, pasta…you name it, rice is generally in it). I wrote about this here.
When I discussed this with my dietician she informed me that I had nothing to worry about and that there was no evidence to suggest that this was an issue…studies had only been done on rice milk!
Well, I have taken matters into my own hands and we have as little rice as possible in this house. Obviously when I bake, the flour I use does contain rice, but I try to use some oats or ground almonds or something else as well to reduce the percentage of rice in home-baked products.
The same goes for pasta, we now have buckwheat pasta and I am careful to avoid rice in its basic form since Roo gets it in almost all her meals.
I no longer get rice crispies for breakfast, preferring porridge, other flakes or my pancakes where possible.
But rice is impossible to avoid if you are a coeliac and it does worry me that more research is not being carried out. I believe this new research is just scratching the surface…I am sure that in future years we will discover that coeliac children are at high risk of arsenic poisoning. Just another thing for us parents of coeliacs to worry about!
What do you think about this research? Does it bother you? Should I worry or just be happy?!?!