Totally Nourish using Food Intolerance Week to advertise Maharani ‘gluten free rice’

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Although Holford is currently hoping to collaborate with an (as yet unknown to us) university – to (try to) research treatments for schizophrenia – we are not impressed by his learning. Given that we pulled apart the advertising of Maharani rice as “gluten free” almost a week ago, it is now disappointing to be forwarded an e-mail from Biocare’s Totally Nourish urging readers to:

Try Maharani rice this Food Intolerance week…Originating from Karnal in Northern India, this best kept secret has a wealth of benefits…Healthy. With a low Glycaemic Index (52) and no gluten, this rice has all the goodness normally associated with brown rice.

As we have said, rice is naturally gluten-free (this is why rice flour is used in some gluten-free products). Rice will only contain gluten if this is deliberately added during processing, or if there is accidental contamination. It is, already, difficult and expensive enough to eat a gluten-free diet: the last thing that people on this diet need is to be convinced that they need to eat special rice which sells for £5.99/kg.

The low GI of the rice is definitely interesting (although not massively different from basmati rice).  52 is impressive for something which only needs 20 minutes of cooking: GI sometimes increases with the duration of cooking. We have contacted Maharani Rice to ask which lab they used to test this, and will await the response with interest.

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6 Comments

Filed under patrick holford

6 responses to “Totally Nourish using Food Intolerance Week to advertise Maharani ‘gluten free rice’

  1. Of course they are – because good, clear, usable information about nutrition is anti-thetical to people with rice to sell at £5.99 per kg.

    White Basmati rice has a GI of 58 for a cooking time of 11 mins – I will be fascinated to learn which lab has measured the GI of 52 for this rice after a cooking time of 20 mins. Some decent information about GI and rice from Australia, home of GI innovation.

  2. Maybelle

    This just looks so dishonest – maybe it is a genuine mistake on the part of the re-seller but it doesn’t look like they care about their customers.

    In the US we can buy enriched rice – white rice with some vitamins added back and those vitamins might be in a gluten powder as a carrier – but you know that the gluten has been added in that – it isn’t in the rice.

    Why are they allowed to advertise like this?

  3. Maybelle, I don’t know how it works in the US but because these claims are on a website they count as education or information and not advertising, so they fall under the jurisdiction of a body that is supposed to address those claims (Trading Standards – possibly the equivalent of your Better Business Bureaux but I’m not sure). The advertising regulators have no control over this at all.

    We now know that several enquiries have been made of the UK distributors but that there have been no responses.

  4. Concern has been expressed at the conditions of some of those working in the production of the rice that reaches our dinner plates:
    http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/realmoney/articles/fairtraderice.cfm

    I have a 500g packet of Sainsburys SO Organic Fairtrae certified brown basmati rice. That cost about £1.20 Traidcraft have 1kg packets for £2.90 which are probably more ethical than Sainsburys, but are more difficult to get hold of and the rice takes about forty minutes to cook.

    Totally Nourish’s rice comes to £5.99 a kilogram. I am just wondering where the money is going. It does not have fairtrade certification, but that does not necessarily mean ex-professor Holford and his chum are creaming off all the cash. Presumably they have thoroughly investigated the conditions on the shop floor?

  5. That was an interesting and disturbing read, Lee.

    I suppose that the company is recouping some of the money they paid for the GI analysis, even so, £5.99 per kg seems extraordinary.

  6. Just looked on Traidcraft’s website. They are selling 1kg bags of brown basmati rice for £3.30
    http://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/p-9025-fairtrade-brown-basmati-rice-6x1kg.aspx

    (I think Patrick recommends brown basmati rice in Optimum Nutriton for the Mind.)

    So we have a respected fairtrade organisation selling rice for £3.30/kg whereas Mr Holford is flogging it for £5.99. My spreadsheet tells me that gives a a black hole of £2.69 per bag of rice. Where is all the cash going? Possibly it is being donated to The Treatment Action Campaign …?

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