Rice cakes are a popular snack both among adults and kids. Trendy it is among people trying to lose weight or keep their bodies in good shape. But can rice cakes be used instead of bread? We've gathered all gains and losses we get from this product.
Are you the one for eating puffed Quaker chocolate rice cakes with peanut or almond butter? Or maybe you are into Korean cream cheese or salty flavors made of brown rice? These cakes are traditionally considered to be healthy food. But not all of them are good for your soundness and figure. So what do they bring - benefit or harm? Well, if you are now finishing your last caramel and apple cinnamon rice cake, I hope we are right in time to tell you all the truth about this crunchy snack!
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Eating a rice cake helps you lose weight and fill your body with dietary fiber1Na Rae Yoon, Sun Yoon, Seung-Min Lee. (2016, April). Rice Cakes Containing Dietary Fiber Supplemented with or without Artemisia Annua and Gynura Procumbens Merr. Alleviated the Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome. Clinical nutrition research. DOI:10.7762/cnr.2016.5.2.79. The snack is also rich in unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and essential amino acids. The benefits are due to the high content of vitamin E (tocopherol), vitamin A (retinol), beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, and PP (niacin). The trace elements present iron, potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus2FoodData Central. (2019, April 1). Snacks, rice cakes, brown rice, plain, unsalted. FoodData Central. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170250/nutrients.
We've found 10 reasons why rice cakes are a healthy snack3Shabir Ahmad Mir, Sowriappan John Don Bosco, Manzoor Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Maqbool Mir. (2016, January 15). Effect of puffing on physical and antioxidant properties of brown rice. Food chemistry. DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.11.025.
Still, isn't it promising? Well, let's continue digging for more curious facts!
Rice cakes are good for weight loss because of their fiber1Na Rae Yoon, Sun Yoon, Seung-Min Lee. (2016, April). Rice Cakes Containing Dietary Fiber Supplemented with or without Artemisia Annua and Gynura Procumbens Merr. Alleviated the Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome. Clinical nutrition research. DOI:10.7762/cnr.2016.5.2.79. It prevents the absorption of extra calories, so, despite the high value of calories, rice cakes help to lose weight. Eating 3-5 pieces to get 35g of fiber and burn 245 kcal is enough for those who want to slim down daily. Combine them with low-fat cheese, vegetables, and herbs to get more vitamins and nutrients into your diet.
Gluten is so discussed nowadays because it's a type of protein that damages the digestive system. 30% of people on Earth are diagnosed with Gluten Intolerance. Plenty of gluten in foods is also associated with an allergy and high cholesterol levels4Pimchada Itthivadhanapong, Srinual Jantathai, Gerhard Schleining. (2016, June). Improvement of physical properties of gluten-free steamed cake based on black waxy rice flour using different hydrocolloids. Journal of food science and technology. DOI:10.1007/s13197-016-2245-5. That's why gluten-free rice cakes can be a panacea in your meal plan. Besides, you can find them in any grocery store at a pleasant price.
Rice cakes may have added sugars, additives, and preservatives5Wendy R Russell, et al. (2016). Impact of Diet Composition on Blood Glucose Regulation. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. DOI:10.1080/10408398.2013.792772. Of course, it depends on what type you buy. Also, this snack is often high in sodium, ranging from 20 to 75 milligrams per cake. It's good news for those trying to minimize or lower their sodium intake to improve blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk. Most manufacturers may spray rice cakes with various sweet or savory flavors, for example, strawberry, chocolate, caramel, cheese, salsa, seaweed, or salt. You should remember that all the additives usually raise the product's calorie range, slowing down the weight loss process. Even chemical compounds can be added to flavored rice cakes composition as well. Instead of them, choose unflavored, lightly salted rice cakes from wild rice.
Different types of rice contain variable calorie counts. They are a direct factor in whether a food makes you gain pounds. For instance, an active adult female needs around 2 thousand calories daily. The advised serving size of rice is 1/2 cup cooked. That amount of wild rice would provide only about 4% of your daily calories on a 2,000-calorie diet, and 1/2 cup of short-grained white rice would provide 6% of your daily calories6W Kempner, B C Newborg, R L Peschel, J S Skyler. (1975, December). Treatment of massive obesity with rice/reduction diet program. An analysis of 106 patients with at least a 45-kg weight loss. Archives of internal medicine. PMID:1200726. It means that rice can't affect your scales arrow go further. Just control your nutrition. And rice won't be the reason for your extra weight.
It depends. Most rice cakes hold a high score on the glycemic index. It means they can increase blood glucose levels. So people with diabetes would better ignore eating this snack in large quantities. However, studies show that whole grains, like brown rice, regulate post-meal blood sugar jumps and may even help prevent type II diabetes because they are made of fiber.
Our body can't take a break down and absorb all energy. Thus, these carbs don't cause a spike in blood sugar like their refined counterparts. Plus, good bacteria in our stomach, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, feed with whole grains. These two types of bacteria are linked to diabetes and obesity prevention. You need to choose a whole-grain type and mind the portions you eat7J B Miller, E Pang, L Bramall. (1992, December). Rice: a high or low glycemic index food? The American journal of clinical nutrition. DOI:10.1093/ajcn/56.6.1034.
Written by Ievgeniia Dobrynina
Ievgeniia Dobrynina is the Head of Nutrition and a fact checker at Unimeal.
High-quality rice cakes are made from wholemeal or refined flour. Therefore, pay attention: if the product includes yeast, high-grade flour, antioxidants with an E index, and preservatives, they certainly have some advantageous properties. They will not benefit your health or figure.
You may find some consolation in farmhouse cheddar crackers, grain-free crackers, popcorn cakes, or other puffed grain ones. Roasted chickpeas will be excellent if you need to crunch something while watching an involving film. Nuts, nut-based snack bars, or air-popped popcorn will also be a great choice. Looking for an excellent keto-friendly or gluten-free alternative? You can grab some flaxseed crackers, keto cheese crackers, or fresh fruit or vegetables.
A plain rice cake without toppings may have fewer calories than a slice of bread. It is due to the air contained within the puff rice cakes, which might be responsible for the lessened calorie consumption. If we compare rice cakes to white bread - they slightly differ in vitamins and minerals. In this case, the first one wins. On the other hand, other types of bread, such as whole-grain ones, may be nutritionally richer than rice snacks8Am J Epidemiol. (2005, February 15). Association between Dietary Carbohydrates and Body Weight. American Journal of Epidemiology. DOI:10.1093/aje/kwi051.
When making a diet on "rice cakes," remember all its pros and cons. Yes, dietary fiber in this snack plays a massive role in the intestinal microflora and cleansing the body of toxins, which is indispensable for those who want to lose weight. But do not think this product should be consumed at any time, replacing them with cookies for tea, or completely replacing breakfast or dinner. Keep in mind that rice cakes can increase blood sugar levels. The secret is in a balanced diet. Choose the proper rice cakes so that it only brings health benefits, and for those who want to lose weight - help to lose weight faster!
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