Nutrition News: High Arsenic Levels Found in Organic Foods

I Don’t Remember Ordering Arsenic

In an attempt to eat healthy you grab for the organic version of a favorite food, but be careful.

A recent study by Dartmouth University showed high levels of arsenic in organic foods and baby formula that list organic brown rice syrup as a primary ingredient. Arsenic is linked to cancer, chronic diseases and developmental effects in children.

The study tested 29 cereal bars, two infant formulas and three different energy shot drinks. A research associate professor told TODAY the energy shots and cereal bars don’t pose an immediate danger, and risk factors are more closely related to lifetime exposure. The high arsenic levels in baby formulas were more concerning to the professor.

Other foods like brown rice are also high in arsenic, as it resembles silica found in soil, which it absorbs to help it stand. Last year, Dartmouth researchers even found high levels of arsenic in some apple and grape juice.

Organic foods are definitely preferably to processed foods when eating right, but it is crucial to read nutrition labels. Don’t choose food simply because you’ve heard it’s healthy. Proportion is key. Even soy products have been linked to cancer in women if over-consumed, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Know your food and what you’re eating. While it is impossible to know the long-term effects of most of what we eat, try to stay current with health news and read nutrition labels.

Nutrition labels can be hard to understand, but pay attention to serving size, total fat, sodium, total carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. Often, companies try to make products look healthier by reducing the serving size, so pay particular attention to how much of the food you should eat.

In general, look for foods that are low in sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and fats and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The ingredients list also is important. Avoid foods with sugars, fats and oils, and salt in the beginning of the list. Look for foods with natural-sounding ingredients and few chemical names; the shorter the list of ingredients, the better.

Part of taking control of your life means taking control of your nutrition. Make sure you have the information you need to live a healthy life.

– Emilly