If you’ve ever followed a low-fat diet or a ragdiet that emphasizes calorie reduction, chances are that rice cakes ended up in your basket. But are rice cakes really good for you?
As with many packaged snacks, there are advantages and disadvantages to eating rice cakes. For example, they are very convenient, generally gluten-free, and are a good substitute for high-calorie foods such as bread – but at the same time they are largely nutrient-poor and relatively rich in empty carbohydrates.
Let’s look at the composition of the different types of rice cakes, the pros and cons of including them in your diet, and healthy ways to enjoy them.
What are rice cakes?
What exactly are rice cakes made of? Most rice cakes are made with puffed rice and/or rice flour, including varieties made with white rice, brown rice or other varieties.
The rice is thickened and compressed into a thin cake that looks more like a crunchy cracker.
Different types of rice cakes are popular all over the world, especially in India and Asian countries – such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and China – where rice is eaten with almost every meal. Rice cakes have existed in the United States since the 1980s, when they were first introduced as the perfect low-calorie snack with jelly, curd cheese, fruit and other fillings.
There are many ways to prepare these snacks, for example. B. by milling whole grain rice, adding other cereals and seeds – such as quinoa, buckwheat or flax – to the mixture, or simply by using refined white rice which has been blown up with air to increase its volume.
In general, rice cakes are low in calories, but do not offer many other nutritional benefits. While some wholemeal rice cakes can be a decent source of fibre and other nutrients, they are generally a nutrient-poor food.
Some varieties may also contain relatively high levels of added sugar and salt. That’s why it’s a good idea to read the ingredient labels and choose a variety made from pure, healthy ingredients.
According to the USDA’s nutritional information on rice tortillas, a normal/unsalted brown rice tortilla has approximately the same nutritional value:
- 34.8 calories
- 7.3 grams of carbohydrates
- 0.7 grams of protein
- 0,3 gram fat
- 0.4 grams of dietary fibre
- 0.3 milligrams of manganese (17% of DV)
- 0.7 milligram niacin (4% of DV)
- 32.4 milligrams of phosphorus (3% of DV)
- 11.8 milligrams of magnesium (3% of DV)
- 2.2 micrograms of selenium (3% of DV)
Are rice cakes healthy? (Advantages and disadvantages)
1. An alternative to gluten-free and low-carb bread.
If you are on a low-carb diet or just want to control your calorie and carbohydrate intake, rice cakes can be a good substitute for other carbohydrates such as bread, sandwiches, wraps, crackers, crisps and chips.
Because they contain more air than puffed rice and are not made from flour with a high energy density, they usually contain less carbohydrates and calories than other snacks and similar ingredients. They can satisfy your carbohydrate needs without adding many unwanted calories to your diet.
Another advantage is that they are gluten-free (unless they are made from wheat, rye or barley flour) because rice is not a grain containing gluten.
2. Can supply whole grains
Compared to other types of wholemeal crackers or crispy loaves, rice cakes generally contain less fibre. But if you eat a few, especially if they are made from whole grains such as brown rice and seeds, they can still provide some fibre to meet your daily needs.
Wholegrain rice tortillas also provide you with low to moderate amounts of certain essential nutrients such as manganese, B vitamins such as niacin and selenium, which promote healthy energy levels, maintain normal blood sugar levels, support bone health and promote a strong immune system, among other things.
3. Comfortable and versatile
Because they do not have much flavour on their own, unless they contain extra ingredients, rice cakes are versatile and can be used in different recipes, both sweet and savoury. For example, garnished with avocado and all kinds of bagel herbs, or sliced apples with peanut butter.
Moreover, they do not need to be cooked, they are cheap, keep well and do not need to be refrigerated. So they are easy to take with you when you travel and when and where you want.
1. High carbohydrat/high glycemic indexvalue
Rice cakes generally contain carbohydrates, mainly from processed white rice, which is mainly considered as a source of empty calories. Although one or two pies don’t add a very large amount of carbohydrates to your diet, you can eat more than that, especially if you choose a sweet rice cake made with added sugar.
Most rice cakes have a high glycemic index, which means that they can increase blood sugar levels quite quickly.
Will rice cakes be hit? Why, for example, do bodybuilders eat rice cakes?
As with any other food, it ultimately depends on how much you eat and how it fits into the rest of your diet. Rice biscuits are a source of carbohydrates that can help the development of muscles in combination with resistance exercises.
However, if you eat a lot of them (especially if you’re not very active), they probably won’t do much to keep your weight in the healthy range.
To increase the filling of rice cakes, which can reduce the portion size, try combining them with a filling protein source such as cottage cheese, ripened processed cheese or tuna fish. This lowers blood sugar levels and keeps hunger under control for longer.
Healthy fats such as avocado or almond oil are also a good option for fried rice cakes, because you can feel full of them for longer.
2. Generally low nutrient content
Although some types of whole grain rice (including brown, black and wild rice) can sometimes provide antioxidants, some studies suggest that the swelling process lowers some mild levels of antioxidants, which means it is best to eat plain whole grain rice.
If you eat rice cakes on a regular basis, choose the rice cakes that are made from wholemeal rice, for example. B. brown rice, but also simple ingredients such as sea salt or cinnamon. Avoid varieties that contain added sugars or artificial flavourings, and be aware of the amount of sodium you eat if you are sensitive to salt.
Here are some recipes for healthy rice cakes:
- Prepare an avocado rice toast, with tomato slices and your favourite spice.
- Garnish with scrambled eggs, hamburger or veggie burger.
- Spread one out with hummus and garnish with sprouts.
- One with yogurt, chia seeds and ground berries.
- Stir in a little banana and sprinkle with coconut flakes and cocoa powder.
- Make a rice cake pizza with tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella.
- Use them to make crunchy healthy brown rice treats with almond butter.
Healthier snack options
Rice cakes may not be the worst snack, especially if they are made with wholegrain rice and other nutrient-rich ingredients such as grains and seeds, but they are also not necessarily the best. What other healthy snacks should you be looking for?
If you crave something with a high carbohydrate content, choose wholemeal crackers instead of sprouted grains with a high fibre content. Homemade fries are another good option.
Here are some other healthy snacks that can be more nutritious and add more nutrients to your overall diet
- A healthy smoothie with protein powder, almond milk and berries.
- boiled eggs
- Almond butter with sliced apple
- Guacamole with full crumb
- Vegetable Hummus
- Spinach and mustard turkey foil
- Smoked salmon slices with cucumber and cream cheese
- Energy bulbs with nuts, seeds and cocoa
- Sliced tuna and celery salad
Risks and side effects
If you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to rice, don’t eat rice cakes.
When buying rice cakes, read the ingredient labels and choose a brand that is made with recognizable ingredients and without a lot of sugar, preservatives and flavourings.
- What are rice cakes made of and are they healthy? Rice cakes are made with puffed rice, sometimes with rice flour, and in some cases with other ingredients such as grains, sugar, salt and flavourings.
- Although they are generally quite low in calories, rice cakes are not very nutritious. The healthiest rice varieties are made from whole-grain rice with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
- The advantages of rice cakes are that they are convenient and versatile and contain fewer calories than foods such as bread and crisps. However, they can quickly increase blood sugar levels and are generally not very filling.
- In general pay attention to the size of the portions and try to combine them with a source of filling protein and healthy fats to make them more nutritious, for example. B. Farm cheese, ripe processed cheese, avocado, eggs or tuna fish.
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