The Facts About Rice

Find out what to look for when shopping for rice.

The Facts About Rice

A staple in cuisines around the world, rice is widely available and known for its variety. From quick-cooking microwaveable rice pouches to the rice with the least amount of arsenic, get the quick facts behind this popular whole grain.

Watch: Mark Bittman Makes Mix-and-Match Brown Rice Meals


The FDA continues to review the safety of plastic packaging for foods like microwavable rice. Although the materials used in plastic rice bags may not contain bisphenol A (BPA), there may be other chemical compounds that can affect your food. If you’re concerned about heating rice in a plastic bag, simply pour the rice into a glass container before cooking it in the microwave.

When it comes to arsenic levels in rice, both stovetop and microwave rice will typically have the same amount. More rice brands and types need to be tested but you can avoid high arsenic levels by choosing basmati rice, which has been shown to have the least amount of the known carcinogen.

Watch: Is There Arsenic in Your Rice?

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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