It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Should I be concerned about the arsenic in brown rice?

I am worried about the arsenic in brown rice and now I'm afraid to eat it. I used to eat brown rice all the time but I stopped.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a bowl of cooked brown rice

This is a great question.

Fortunately, early in 2016 I reported on a study that looked at the effects of arsenic intake on the health of the participants in three long-term, large scale studies that included over 200,000 people. The authors found no statistically significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, or stroke for those who consumed 5 or more servings of brown rice per week - an amount few Americans will match (even I don't).

As I noted at the time, "the benefits of brown rice far outweigh the risks at the levels that most Americans consume it. Your best bet, as with the risks associated with mercury in fish, is to consume a variety of grains and not limit yourself to just one."

Here are a few recipe ideas using whole grains:

Confetti Corn
Corn and Parsnip Puree
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Whole Wheat Linguine with Shrimp and Leeks
Gluten Free Whole Grain Pizza Crust
Whole Grain Pancakes

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet