Are Rice Cakes Good for You?

Medically Reviewed on 12/16/2020

Rice cakes are a great alternative to high-calorie and high-fat snacks.
Rice cakes are a great alternative to high-calorie and high-fat snacks.

Rice cakes are a great alternative to high-calorie and high-fat snacks. Rice cakes have become a staple diet fad. They are large, round, crunchy, and bland. They promise a quick snack that can satisfy cravings without any guilt. However, they are not nutrient-dense foods and are not considered a healthy meal replacement. Although their primary ingredient is whole-grain brown rice, rice cakes are low in total nutritional value.

  • Rice cakes are a high source of carbs and are low in fat and sugar. To make it a tempting food for children, we can put it in milk and with a scoop of ice cream. This increases the total fat and sugar content.
  • Adults who prefer to have a healthy diet may put them in milk and add some protein. People on a calorie-deficit diet may include it in their meals.
  • Rice cakes are also considered a good snack because it is usually cheap and easily available. They are easy to store, and most people use them as emergency snacks or deadline desk lunches.
  • Rice cakes are a good calorie alternative to bread. When kick-starting a weight-loss program, rice cakes make for an easy bread alternative. Most people consider rice cakes to be safe diet food because they do not have fat or many calories. They tend to be free from saturated fat. Total calories will vary based on the brand and type of rice cake. In general, one rice cake tends to have 60-70 calories. People on a diet often eat these cakes to fight cravings for crunchy food, such as chips.
  • They are usually gluten-free, so they don’t give bloating or indigestion episodes.
  • However, rice itself is a high glycemic index grain, even when it is a whole grain (brown). Therefore, it may spike blood sugar levels. Some brands add sugar or corn syrup to their rice cakes. This is against the dictum of healthy eating.
  • If an individual wants to try rice cakes as a healthy snack, they can top them with some peanut butter, low-fat cream cheese, or another spread along with vegetables. The blood glucose may not spike if eaten without added artificial sugars. Avoid the cakes with added corn syrup, honey, sucrose, or fructose.
  • Most rice cakes do contain added salt. Individuals at risk of heart disease should reduce their intake of sodium and limit the intake of rice cakes.

Are rice cakes hard to digest?

Rice cakes are a readily digestible food with the main component being starch; however, the preparatory process makes rice cakes difficult to digest physically and chemically. It is observed that it becomes hard and sticky when cold and is not easily dissolved in hot water.

How to make rice cakes healthier?

The nutritional value of rice cakes depends on how an individual is eating them.

  • Plain rice cakes may be topped with a little bit of honey, hummus, avocado, and vegetables.
  • Eating them with nut butter can up the nutritional intake and slow down the release of sugar in the blood.
  • One can eat rice cakes with toppings such as tuna and tomato rather than any type of spread or jam to stabilize the blood sugar levels and to keep the appetite in control.
  • Look for healthier ones made from whole grains and seeds that raise the fiber and nutrient content. Rice cakes with whole grains, seeds, and seaweed make them higher in fiber, nutrients, and taste than the traditional white cakes.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/16/2020
References
Yoon NR, Yoon S, Lee S-M. Rice Cakes Containing Dietary Fiber Supplemented with or without Artemisia Annua and Gynura Procumbens Merr. Alleviated the Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome. Clin Nutr Res. Published online April 30, 2016. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2016.5.2.79