Renegade Health Radio: Surprising News About Arsenic in Rice

Monday May 5 | BY |
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Surprising News About Arsenic in Rice

  • Why you should avoid this particular rice.
  • Which sit-down restaurant is worst for your health—and why it’s even worse than fast food.
  • The one alternative therapy we recommend when nothing else works. (It’s like a reset button for your body.)
  • And more…

Click the play button to start the call:



Kevin: Renegade Health Radio. This is Kevin Gianni with Frederic Patenaude. What’s up Fred?

Fredric: Hey, Kevin. Hi, everybody. I thought today we should do a little, like a different format. I don’t know if it’s going to work. But I had a bunch of updates and news and so on to go through. And I thought we could do that.

Kevin: No.

Fredric: No? We can’t? We have to stick with the usual podcast?

Kevin: (laughs) Let’s give it a whirl. Let’s see how it goes.

Fredric: All right. First, an update on the podcast we did two weeks ago on Soylent, which is a product that’s coming out, or whatever, like a Silicon Valley start-up on…as a food replacement formula for busy people. And it turns out that the name “Soylent”—from our readers—comes from a movie in the 70’s called Soylent Green, a sort of sci-fi movie where it’s this dystopian future, where they make this food, right, that everybody should eat. And it turns out that it’s made out of people.

Kevin: Oh, that’s awful. Why would they name the company that?

Fredric: I know. People are kind of disturbed about the fact that they would name the company Soylent and probably know about the movie. Anyway, so…

Kevin: Is it made out of people? [laughs]

Fredric: The current product is probably not currently made out of people. Who knows about their future projects? But…and also some people thought, from the reviews, I kind of gleaned that some people thought we were kind of endorsing this product or something.

Kevin: Oh. No, no, no.

Fredric: And it’s just, things come up. And to me, they’re interesting. Not that I think they’re necessarily interesting products, but they lead to interesting discussions. So should we eat food replacement products? Is it even possible to do it? I thought the discussion was interesting, started by this product announcement, but obviously we were not endorsing it. Although I must say that this podcast is endorsed and paid for by Coca Cola, the taste of refreshment when you need – oh, wait. I messed it up. I got to memorize it.

Kevin: [laughs] Now, that was unexpected.

Fredric: Oh you know, like in the old radio shows, they would kind of embed ads within the whole thing? They, just, as they’re talking, you’re kind of…it turns into an advertisement.

Kevin: The next news piece is endorsed by Kanangra, right?

Fredric: Exactly. Well actually the next news piece is an article that came out in the New York Times on rice. So we’ve heard about rice being possibly a source of arsenic. And what…it turns out is that the rice plant itself is the problem. Not the problem, but it has a particular set of characteristics that sort of drives certain minerals in the grain itself. So if the fields are flooded in a traditional patty method, the rice takes up arsenic. And if the water is reduced in an effort to limit arsenic according to the article in the New York Times, then it will absorb cadmium, another dangerous element.

So it’s sort of a…it’s a weird characteristic of this plant, due to the way it derives its minerals because of its needs for silicon [inaudible 0:03:53] or silicate. It will move the nutrients through the plant but deliver them in the grain itself instead of the leaves. So the arsenic ends up there.

If there’s arsenic in the soil and if they kind of change the growing method to include less water, then if there’s cadmium in the soil, then it will end up in the plant. Now it ends up in the husk mainly, so that the brown rice has ten times the levels of arsenic, if there is extra arsenic, as polished rice.

So is that a problem? The parts are very small for rice grown in California or in the United States. But they’re still looking into it because it can be a problem if you eat too much of it. And then, of course you want to know where it’s grown and what minerals it’s absorbing, because it can even…the plant can even absorb other minerals, other metals actually, such as mercury, from the soil.

So it is a plant that can lead to metal contamination if the soil leads to that. So the news is sort of about the fact that this plant has specific botanical characteristics that lead to that. So you want to be aware where kind of your rice is coming from. And I probably wouldn’t buy the black rice from China anymore even though it’s black rice and so on. But the one they sell at Whole Foods and so on, it’s from China, by the way, all the ones that I found. So that’s kind of the news on the arsenic and rice.

Kevin: Mike Adams tested a brand of rice from California. And the brand is…I got it right here—it is called “Lundberg Rice.” And it’s just a name brand. And they have sushi rice, jasmine rice, brown rice.

Fredric: Yeah. Yeah,, I think I know it. Yes.

Kevin: And you’ve probably seen it at the health foods store, because I see it right here. I recognize it, the picture of it. And this has relatively low levels of just about every heavy metal. So this is a brand that I think you could, that you could make your sushi or make your macrobiotic meals safely with.

Fredric: Cool, cool, cool.

Kevin: Yeah.

Fredric: Good to know, good to know. And yeah, we’ll probably know more about this. I mean, a lot of stuff about nutrition is pretty new. We discover more all the time. So this is kind of new stuff, and it came out in the last few years.

Kevin: It’s a big deal though, because the way we’re…I think the next discussion in terms of our food, after the whole GMO thing goes, and we finally actually have access and the right to not genetically modifying the types of foods that we’re eating, or have someone else do it…we’re actually allowed to eat real food.

I think the next thing is going to be this wave of testing the food for what’s in it. So as everyone just takes for granted that a piece of rice is a piece of rice, or that an apple is an apple, or that a banana is a banana, a piece of meat is a piece of meat. A lot of us are coming hip to the fact that that’s not true nutrient wise. But what about toxicity-wise as well? So I think that’s the next step.

So now we’re realizing that, hey, a piece of beef from a cow raised in a box is going to be different than a piece of beef from a cow that’s out in a field. An apple grown or a banana that’s extremely hybridized and just really is a big old sugar bomb is totally different than the type of banana you could find in maybe Costa Rica, the heirloom-type bananas, or maybe even in South America. So we’ve kind of gotten to that point. We’re realizing that. But we’re not looking at, what if that heirloom banana from Costa Rica or from Ecuador is grown on a place that is highly toxic? It’s like they just started this farm on some sort of old mine or something like that. So that’s the next step in our food evolution, I think, is looking at what actual toxins are in the food and how to get food that doesn’t have these toxins.

Fredric: Yeah. And also, I mean, it’s not a judgment on the food itself. Sometimes, it’s just a fact that like the rice will take up certain minerals in the soil where it’s grown. And sometimes there can be even factors out of our control. An organic farmer might be growing the food, but it’s still…because of, I don’t know, whatever factors like that. It turns out that there’s a little bit too much of this or not enough of that. [Microphone noise.}

Kevin: Oops. Fred, are you okay?

Fredric: Yeah, yeah, the microphone fell off the bridge where I’m standing.

Kevin: Too much arsenic! [laughs]

Fredric: No, all right. Next news. I got another study that came out that says that McDonalds is awesome. No, it doesn’t say that. But it just says that…it’s an interesting piece of news that they’ve done. They’ve done studies comparing thousands of meals from different restaurants and what people actually order at those restaurants and how many calories they’re consuming.

Kevin: Okay.

Fredric: So it turns out that sit-down restaurants in the United States—chain sit-down restaurants like Olive Garden—are actually the worse for your health in terms of what people eat there, the calories that are found, the level of sodium and fat and everything—saturated fat—versus basic fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King where people will…the food is maybe even more dense in calories, but people will eat less. The general meal is going to be 800 calories or 1,000 calories. And what they found is in a sit-down restaurant chain like Olive Garden, the typical amount of calories consumed is 1,500 calories, boom, in the meal, and over 3,000 milligrams of sodium in one meal. So…

Kevin: Do you know how many milligrams of sodium is in the McDonald’s meal, on average, or no?

Fredric: It’s less than that.

Kevin: Yeah.

Fredric: It’s less than…yeah, it’s definitely. I mean it’s going to be like, I don’t know, 1,200 milligrams or something in the meal. I mean, maybe 1,500. I don’t know. But the fries are not that high in sodium.

Kevin: Interesting.

Fredric: There are two…it’s mostly in the burger. And then…but it’s…people tend to think, I mean, people in general, they go to these chain restaurants. They take their family there, like Red Lobster, T. G. I. Friday’s, and because it’s a sit-down restaurant, you have a waitress. The whole environment, there’s a kitchen. They make the food, more or less, on the spot. But it’s still, I mean, these are worse for your health than fast food.

I mean, I think the key thing is that with fast food restaurants—it’s not that the food is great, but people tend to control their portion. They know approximately what they’re going to eat. And in a sit-down restaurant, what they found is just, if you don’t restrain by saying, “I’m going to share a main dish. I’m going to skip dessert. I’m going to skip the appetizer, blah, blah, blah.” If you just go for the full-on menu, I mean, you can top over 2,000 calories in a single meal. So…

Kevin: Wow.

Fredric: I know. It’s sort of a…it’s just an interesting piece of study. I mean, I already knew about this, because, just from analyzing menus and so on. I found that interesting that, yeah. It’s probably, I mean, the worst kind of place where you can go if you’re trying to lose weight.

But if you end up at a restaurant like that, there are a lot of things you can do to eat better. I mean, you can choose what you’re going to eat and you can skip a lot of stuff. But just to know, I mean, people end up taking more calories there than in fast food restaurants.

Kevin: Wow. Order the salad dressing on the side or just oil and vinegar, just oil and lemon.

Fredric: Yeah, exactly.

Kevin: That’s pretty much…that’s pretty much it. It’s like the emergency back up. If you ever end up with your family or with your friends at a place that you just would never ever, ever, ever, ever in a million years chosen as a place where you wanted to eat. My fall back is always salad with no meat, and I get the dressing and the dressing on the side. And I get half a lemon and I just use all the lemon juice. And that’s my default.

Fredric: And you look like a weirdo.

Kevin: Yeah, you look like a weirdo. And then you just say, “Well, I’m just not feeling that well.”

Fredric: Well, you know what I found?

Kevin: “My stomach’s a little upset.”

Fredric: Yeah. But a salad always can…it doesn’t raise too many eyebrows, I find. Because people eat salads, right?

Kevin: Yeah.

Fredric: I mean, if you order a plate of fruit as a meal, that raises a lot of eyebrows.

Kevin: Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, I remember there was a point where I…someone told me that they have a card that they give to waiters or waitresses when they’re out to dinner.

Fredric: Oh, like the raw food card? Like, “I only eat raw foods. Please try to make a—”

Kevin: Yeah. And I kind of…there was moment where I thought that, and I just don’t think it’s kind of a decent idea. But I mean, it just brings a lot of attention to you. You know what I mean? That’s one of those things. If you’re doing this sort of thing and you’re doing extreme diet and you’re doing your thing and enjoying it, I mean, you really don’t want people questioning you. I mean, it’s…and that’s kind of how I always felt about it. I didn’t want people asking me about it all the time.

In the beginning, I was excited, because I thought I would actually change other people’s lives, you know? I thought that they would just instantly hear some nugget of wisdom that I just said at the dinner table and suddenly they’d just join me. And I realized that wasn’t the case real fast. And then all the attention you bring when that happens. I mean, for me it’s just wow. Just order a salad and eat either before or after when you go home. So…

Fredric: Yeah. The eating before is kind of the secret.

Kevin: Yeah.

Fredric: I mean, you…I find that if I have a little something in my stomach, I can go to any restaurant and not feel like, “Oh my God I’m tempted by a…to order something really decadent. Or…” And then I can go with the salad and the dressing on the side kind of deal.

Kevin: Yeah. Next news bit is brought to you by Burger King.

Fredric: I thought that was this one.

Kevin: Oh, that was that one. Yeah, sorry.

Fredric: Yeah.

Kevin: Last one brought to you by Burger King.

Fredric: No, the next one is the story that came out that Vermont—the State of Vermont might be the—or will be, actually—the first state to label GMOs starting in July 2016. So…

Kevin: Why so long? Man.

Fredric: Two years from now to give producers—food producers—enough time to stick to the new law, or whatever. So that’s what’s going to happen.

Kevin: It’s just a…it’s just a…they just put some print on a box! I mean, it’s so easy. These companies change their boxes all the time. And they’re complaining that it’s going to be hard for them to actually put maybe like a sentence, “Made with GMO ingredients,” on a box? I think it’s crazy.

Fredric: Well they already do that compulsively with the nuts thing, right? “This product probably contains peanuts.”

Kevin: Yes.

Fredric: It’s made in the factory that contains…that processes those nuts. I mean, they want to avoid liability by putting that, but they could put something very basic like, I don’t know, “the wheat has been genetically modified or blah, blah, blah.”

And the last piece of news I wanted to share is not so much news, but an interesting article that came out about fasting in Germany. So how fasting in Germany is quite popular. And in fact, you can do a fasting—10 to 12 days of fasting cure—at certain clinics, and it’s reimbursed by the health care system there. So it’s way more popular than it is here.

And there are different styles of fasting. So the sort of water-only fasting that’s popular in the United States is not the norm there. It’s generally a very kind of restricted diet, sort of like 200, 250 calories a day, where you have a little broth or some honey and water and something like that. That’s the most common form of fasting that they use there. Some water-only fasting, but in this article that I read recently on this, it was just interesting how…I mean, I knew that fasting was very much…it comes from Europe. The theory comes from Europe, comes mainly from Germany. But that’s still…right now in Germany, it’s very popular. There are dozens of fasting, possibly hundreds of fasting clinics. A book on fasting sold over two million copies since the 70’s in this country.

So it’s accepted in Germany as a therapy. And, like I said, even reimbursed partly by the health system in some cases. So it’s a different…there’s a different mindset there. For alternative therapies, I think… outside of France. France is really not a leader in that. But Germany and the UK is, I think, it’s more advanced, more accepted, more a part of the…it’s been part of the culture for longer.

Kevin: Well, I’ll tell you why they’ve chosen to reimburse it. Because, I mean, the person is only eating like 250 calories. I mean, it’s not that much money, you know?

Fredric: [laughs] That’s what everybody says about fasting.

Kevin: But it’s great. I mean, it’s just so foolish to think that some of this stuff doesn’t work. And we talk about Alan Goldhamer a lot here at Renegade Health, and on this. We’ve even talked about him on this podcast probably a few times. And his clinic up at True North, or, sorry, up in Santa Rosa named True North, is, I think, is just one of the coolest places around for health. And I’ve been to a lot of clinics around the United States. And for certain issues, anything that deals with diseases of excess essentially, overeating or you have too much sodium or too much stress or too much inflammation or anything that’s dealing with these diseases, water fasting is something to consider.

And you go up there for a week or two weeks or three weeks depending on what your situation is based on what they recommend. You’re essentially just taking…it’s hitting the reset button. So your computer when it gets wonky and you’re like, “What the heck? My headphones don’t work. I can’t get any sound for my Skype. My browser keeps closing just for no reason at all.” I mean, all these sorts of things, just kind of think of those things happening to your body. Think about hitting that reset button on your computer, and then it boots up and everything works. And you’re like, “Wow, I should have done that before, because I was stressing about why my Skype didn’t work. But all I needed to do was reset the computer.”

Same with fasting. It just, for some reason or another…we know some of the reasons. We’ve covered some of the reasons in previous podcasts. But this is one of those reset buttons that is just so valuable. And so I hope that eventually it becomes mainstream here. And the funny thing is, this is old medicine. I mean, fasting is old, old medicine. I mean, obviously it’s spiritual, right? Because you can read about fasting in the Bible. You can read about fasting in the Koran. You can read about fasting throughout religious history. But it’s also medically healing, too. And so, it’s been around for a long time, longer than we have been around, like you and me, Fred.

Fredric: I don’t think we even count. But you know what? What kind of pisses me off about fasting and the medical industry and people who have a lot of bad things to say about fasting, even though they’ve never fasted a day in their life, they’ve never…

Kevin: Well that’s number one, right? That’s number one that pisses you off, right?

Fredric: Well, yeah. You’ve never fasted but you say it’s terribly dangerous. And also you’ve never been to a fasting clinic. You’ve never observed that. Well, people tend to think fasting sort of is the last resort. And you fast when you’ve tried other things that haven’t worked. But also they tend to think of fasting as something you do when you don’t want to take medicines, right? You just want to do it the natural way.

But in reality fasting—water fasting for certain diseases—works when nothing else works. It’s not that some of the medicines work and then…but you might want to try fasting if you don’t want to take the medicines. It’s more that for many people, nothing works. Nothing has worked. Medicine has failed them. And then they go to fasting as a last resort. And then in many, many cases, it works.

So it works where nothing else works in some cases. And it works better than medicine in some cases. And just not…we’re not going to spend a lot of time today talking about this, but obviously we’ve talked about it before, like you said, Kevin. And in some countries, it’s a recommended therapy. We’ll just say quickly that we don’t recommend that you fast on your own. I mean, just saying that it’s out there in the realm of possibilities if you’re looking. So those were pretty much all the news I had today.

Kevin: That’s it?

Fredric: Yeah, yeah.

Kevin: I mean, there’s a lot more news. That’s the problem, right?

Fredric: Well, health news that I thought were interesting.

Kevin: There’s probably more health news, too. And we’re just not getting it. It’s just not coming across our wavelengths or wave-somethings, because people are concerned about, who knows what? People are going to TMZ. And they’re learning about Chris Brown being in jail and Lindsay Lohan and all these other people doing weird things. Bieber. Oh Bieber.

Fredric: Our fellow Canadian.

Kevin: Yes, I know. He’s from your country.

Fredric: Well he’s from the other part of the country, those damn English people.

Fredric: [laughs] All right. We’re going to cut this one short today. Hey, leave a review for us if you like it. If you don’t, that’s cool, too. You can leave a review, but just make sure it’s on someone else’s if it’s a bad review.

Kevin: If you don’t like it, you can leave…a review. Or you can leave.

Fredric: All right. Where should people go Kevin if they want to download the other podcasts or maybe check out the rest of our website?

Kevin: They should go to You can get a free book. Free book! It’s a free book! It’s a full book. It’s a real book, written. Real. Not like a half 10 to 20 page e-book. It’s a real 100-something page book. You can get it for free. Get it.

Fredric: On the High Raw Diet.

Fredric: On the High Raw Diet. Get it.

Fredric: Awesome, thank you guys.

Kevin: Bye.

Fredric: Bye Kevin.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. great work Kevin.daliya

  2. Kim Ward says:

    Good show. Thanks for the info on the rice, plus the mention of the brand that has been tested! Had a few lol moments too. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Please……..would you also include a transcript……..could be saved & referred to later……..Thanks.

  4. Frank says:

    Good to hear the warnings about rice and restaurant chains. Good to know !

  5. Chris says:

    Interesting comments about eating in sit-down restaurants. One of my favorite dinners is spaghetti sauce over zucchini “noodles” (made on a machine called a Spirooli). When I went to the Olive Garden a few months ago, I asked for their marinara sauce over steamed veggies. The chef outdid himself! It was a wonderful meal, complete with all the salad I could eat. I avoided the breads, croutons, etc.

    I find that there are always ways around eating the poorer choices the restaurants offer.

    Thanks for the info on rice. Good stuff! I got a hearty laugh at the jokes during the show.

  6. Minia says:

    Great show Kevin & Fred. It’s refreshing to know that one of our local rice companies, Lundberg, has good test results.

    On another note separate from this discussion:
    If you guys listened to the Food Revolution Summit recently, was there anything new and/or interesting that jumped out for you? Any follow up comments worthy of a podcast?


  7. Les Turner says:

    Was the year 2016 chosen to give manufacturers time to procure non-gmo sources of raw material?

  8. jess says:

    Hey Kev,
    I really enjoy all the topics that you cover. I liked when I could skim an email and get the gist. I don’t have time to listen to your radio shows. Any chance you could do transcripts? I know, I know…….that would take too much time! But still wanted to let you know my preference:)

  9. Larry Lee says:

    Hi Kevin
    Good information as usual. For many of us hearing impaired a transcript would be wonderful. If not verbatim at least a summary of the salient points.

  10. cat says:

    Are you going to have transcripts of the show? I enjoyed reading the transcripts of the other shows that had them. thanks.

  11. Thanks for your podcasts. I enjoy listening to you chatting and hearing new topics and becoming aware of facts I wouldn’t otherwise hear about. Carol

  12. luca says:

    Hi, I like the show and I also listen to the show because I’m triyng to lern English.

    Thank you.

  13. I have noticed that you talked about water fasting on your podcast. I thought I would pass this on for anyone interested in looking at this information.

    This is an example of what fasting was able to do for someone who was seriously ill with cancer. My mum and I fasted under doctor Burton about 25 years ago. We each fasted for about 2 weeks. My acne cleared up considerably and my mum was helped with asthma. I got told this story below in 1985.

    Dr. Alec Burton, a fasting expert who lives and works about an hour away by car from where I live in Arcadia, Sydney, learnt from, studied and worked with Dr. Shelton. Dr. Alec Burton has decades of experience involving fasting. Over the last 200 hundred years, most of the fasting experts have been doctors.

    Dr. Alec Burton fasted a particular person for 103 days. He had inoperable incurable lung cancer. He was a massive monster of a man. He weighed about 20 stones. He was diagnosed as having only a couple months to live and he read this book, “Fasting can save your life” by Dr. Shelton and he found out that Alec Burton was a student of Shelton. He rang him up and said, I have got incurable and inoperable lung cancer. It has spread to both lungs. It’s under the lymph glands. Can you look at it and do me a fast? And Alec said no. Sometimes Alec’s knocks fasting back, if he thinks that person is going to die.

    Anyway, the chap said, alright I’m going to fast till I die, because fasting is a pain reliever. When an animal is sick or in great pain it won’t eat. The longer the fast the less the pain. Toothache, if you fast 24 to 36 hours the pain will go away.

    This chap said I will fast till I die, because the pain is unbearable. He said if I get my solicitor to write you an exemption that you aren’t responsible for my death, can you just help me through the fast and help me through the symptoms. Alec said I will do that.

    He fasted a week, two, three, four. One month. He fasted two months. He fasted three. He fasted 103 days on water and at the end of the time his lung cancer was completely in remission.

    He went back and had the xrays taken by the surgeon and the specialists. And he told them how he had got that way. (By the way he was still alive after 20 years when Alec had caught up with him to see how he was doing). Cancer is one of the most difficult sicknesses to overcome by fasting.

  14. Lucy Ashes says:

    I wish you would post transcripts of your podcasts.

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