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The Madera Tribune

Don’t worry so much about rice

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webmaster | 10/25/12

White rice recently has been accused of causing some cancers, and also contributing to type 2 diabetes, but you have to wonder whether that could be the case, considering that Chinese, Japanese and citizens of other Asian countries consume a lot of white rice and don’t seem to be falling over too soon because of it. In fact, the Japanese have longer life expectancies than Americans.

Rice also is being accused of contributing to global warming. Rice paddies emit methane (naughty rice paddies), and methane is thought to be a cause of global warming. So, for you Latin fans, “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” which means, for you English fans, “after this, therefore because of this.”

For you logic fans, this also is known as a logical fallacy. It goes along these lines: “Roosters crow just before the sun comes up, therefore, the crowing of roosters causes the sun to rise.”

“What?” you might ask. “You mean rooster-crowing doesn’t cause the sun to come up? You’ve got to be kidding.”

Rice has been grown by humans for a long time, and this latest bout of global warming has been going on for about the same amount of time. Therefore, the growing of rice must be causing global warming. Does that sound a little like another of those post hoc propter hoc constructions? If you say yes, you’re right.

Think about this, though. Could it be that rice can be grown because of global warming?

Here’s another thought: Rice is the most important cereal grain. But it must be grown in warm and wet climates, or in warm climates that can be irrigated. It can’t be grown on arid plains, nor can it be grown in the snow. Rice benefits from a warm climate, and so do those who eat it.

If you worry about eating white rice, try eating brown rice or wild rice. They, too, are delicious.


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