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Health News is Sooooo Confusing

Just reading the title of a new food study can be very misleading -- we need to read (or at least skim) the article to fully understand.

I just went to Whole Foods to buy a few things. That statement alone is something to consider.

For me to go to Whole Foods and just buy a FEW things is an accomplishment in itself! I had a list of five things and, well, I bought seven. But, to be fair, the 6th item was on sale and something I wanted to try anyway -- organic spelt berries (this will surely call for teasing from my family, but yum!?) – and the 7th item was orange juice (needed it and saved me a trip from going to another store).

So, a successful trip overall. Primarily, I wanted to get puffed brown rice and brown rice syrup to make a dessert for an upcoming workshop I’m doing.  I’ve made this healthy rice krispie style treat before and it’s always a hit.

The checkout girl told me she just read an article that said brown rice syrup may contain arsenic. Hmm, I thought, how could that be? The ingredients are brown rice and water. Isn’t arsenic usually found in processed foods? I remember hearing not too long ago that arsenic could be in some fruit juices.

Because she already rang up the item and put it in my bag, I went ahead and bought it knowing I’d look up the article immediately and could always return the so-called poison if necessary.

Now, having read the articles, here is the information. The study, conducted by the Trace Element Analysis Core Facility at Dartmouth University, set out to determine the concentrations of arsenic in commercial food products containing organic brown rice syrup, including infant formula, cereal/energy bars and high-energy foods used by athletes. (Note, I didn’t buy the organic variety, as it was not on sale!) The article talks about the levels of arsenic in the above-mentioned organic products and the health risks associated with it.

I’m going to have to agree with Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. In the article, she said consumers shouldn't panic over the Dartmouth findings and that she would “encourage consumers to use it as a reminder that foods that grow in soil are growing with a wide variety of chemicals, both those found naturally in the soil and those that may be there from use of chemicals to foster growth."

She added, "Whether the amount of any one chemical is enough to worry about is still a question that needs better research. Focusing on single foods as 'dangerous' or 'harmful' ignores how those foods impact the whole diet."

So, technically, we could apply the findings of this study to anything growing in soil. And I have to believe that the better choice is still to eat foods grown in soil than those produced in factories. I will still make my brown rice syrup krispie treats, and I still believe they are better than the blue packaged ones sold by Kellogg's.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Leslie Ann February 21, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I agree health news is confusing. Thank you for posting this.
nora oconnor February 21, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Interesting...my friends keep mentioning the arsenic in apple juice too.

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