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Arsenic in rice cereal

  • Posted on Nov 3, 2016

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‘How should I introduce solid foods and what should I do next?’, asks one of my moms who has a 6 month old (cutest little thing you ever saw!).  I have been recommending over the last few years avoiding rice cereal as the first food/cereal introduction in infant’s diets.  Why, you may ask?
There is a high amount of arsenic in rice.  As it happens, arsenic is a natural element found in water, air and soil.  However, high amounts of arsenic is linked to certain cancers.  There is also the possibility of developmental problems.  Yes, these amounts are monitored and should not exceed 100 parts per billion…ok well fine.
What food do parents typically introduce first?  What food did your pediatrician say to introduce first?  Yep, you guessed it!  Rice cereal.  Infants tend to eat more rice per their weight than adults and this puts them at higher risk.  New recommendations suggest starting with a variety of foods.
What to do?
Start with veggies and fruits instead.  Use oatmeal and barley cereals.   Try quinoa and millet.  Avoid processed foods that have brown rice sweetener and DO NOT give rice milk.  Breast feeding for the first 6 months is encouraged.  Small amounts of rice in your infant’s diet is fine.  I just don’t want to make that food the bulk of the food intake.
If you have questions, give us a call, or talk to us at your next well visit.

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