New parents, exhausted from lack of sleep and all the other fun a new baby brings, often will turn to basic baby foods from a jar. Often, these will contain certain fillers like rice, which are a carbohydrates and carbs can be good for baby (carrots, for instance, are almost all sugar/carbohydrate). The problem is that rice can actually be toxic for your child and, if not avoided at all costs, should be extremely limited in your baby’s diet—this even includes rice cereal!

So why is rice so bad for baby?

For one, rice paddies must sit in water and often this water has been contaminated by arsenic in the soil. Brown rice, though often cited as the most nutrient rich of rice varieties, contains more arsenic since the hull and germ, which absorb the most arsenic, are left intact. Interestingly, the FDA doesn’t regulate the amount of arsenic in rice so parents are left on their own to figure out how much arsenic is in the rice they eat and feed their children.

Second, babies lack the digestive enzymes necessary to breakdown rice and undigested grains can damage your baby’s sensitive stomach lining. Likewise, rice contains phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of important nutrients like copper, zinc and calcium. And, to be frank, rice has hardly any nutrients at all! Especially, white rice!

Clearly, new parents need to be selective about the foods they feed the new member of their household and rice just doesn’t cut it!