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Experts Warn Eating Too Much Rice Could Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Experts Warn Eating Too Much Rice Could Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease

We've got another piece of bad news to add to the cr*p-pile that is 2020 - eating too much rice could increase your risk of heart disease.

At least, this is the claim of a recent study which highlighted that the widely consumed grain is linked to an estimated 50,000 avoidable deaths each year.

Rice is the most widely consumed food source for a large part of the world's population, with over three billion people eating it as their major staple.

However, experts believe that the low levels of inorganic arsenic within the grain could cause thousands of deaths each year.

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The carcinogenic chemical is a well-known poison that can cause health problems such as cancers and cardiovascular diseases, even when consumed at low levels over an extended period of time. Suddenly Tuesday curry night doesn't sound like a great idea.

Credit: Pixabay/ImageParty
Credit: Pixabay/ImageParty

Researchers at the University of Manchester and the University of Salford teamed up to look into the relationship between the consumption of rice and cardiovascular diseases caused by arsenic exposure in England and Wales.

Published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the findings show that there could well be a link between elevated cardiovascular mortality and the consumption of inorganic arsenic containing rice.

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Speaking about the analysis, Manchester University's Professor David Polya said: "The type of study undertaken, an ecological study, has many limitations, but is a relatively inexpensive way of determining if there is a plausible link between increased consumption of inorganic arsenic bearing rice and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

"The study suggests that the highest 25 percent of rice consumers in England and Wales may plausibly be at greater risks of cardiovascular mortality due to inorganic arsenic exposure compared to the lowest 25 percent of rice consumers.

"The modelled increased risk is around 6 percent (with a confidence interval for this figure of 2 percent to 11 percent). The increased risk modelled might also reflect in part a combination of the susceptibility, behaviours and treatment of those communities in England and Wales with relatively high rice diets."

Too much rice may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Credit: Storyblocks
Too much rice may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Credit: Storyblocks
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In other words, the participants' heart health problems could be due to a myriad of factors - drinking, smoking, fatty foods - not just eating a lot of rice.

Nonetheless, if you're worried, experts say you can take action to avoid giving yourself a potentially lethal dose of arsenic while still enjoying your favourite side dish.

Per the study: "People could consume rice varieties, such as basmati, and different types like polished rice (rather whole grain rice) which are known to typically have lower inorganic arsenic contents.

"Other positive behaviours would be to eat a balanced variety of staples, not just predominately rice."

Featured Image Credit: Storyblocks

Topics: Science, Study, Food, curry

Daisy Phillipson

Daisy is a UK-based freelance journalist with too many opinions. She loves everything film and music-related and has a track record writing for Little White Lies, BWRC, and Film Daily. Contact her at [email protected]