Although rice cakes seem to usually get a good rap with healthy eating, are they really good for you? Find out what the side effects of rice cakes are.
1. Rice cakes
Rice cakes, are considered popular snacks with low fat content, but you may be wondering if you should eat them or not and is it good to eat rice cakes? Made from the main ingredient of puffed rice pressed together into a cake, rice cakes are often eaten as a low-calorie substitute for bread and crackers.
While there are a variety of flavors available that can be added to rice cakes, the most basic to mention is salt.
Rice cakes have quite a low nutrient content. One brown rice cake provides:
Calories: 35 grams, Carb: 7.3 grams, Fiber: 0.4 grams, Protein: 0.7 grams, Fat: 0.3 grams, Niacin: 4% of the reference Daily Intake (RDI), Magnesium: 3% RDI, Phosphorus: 3% RDI, Manganese: 17% RDI.
In addition, the nutritional composition of rice cakes also contains minimal amounts of vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron , potassium, zinc, copper and selenium. The sodium content of rice cakes will depend on whether they are salted or not.
Plus, the process of washing rice – as used to make rice cakes – has been shown to reduce the antioxidant content of rice.
Remember, however, that this nutritional information is for plain rice cakes only. Flavored rice cakes often contain added sugar and other ingredients to give the rice cake its distinctive flavor.
2. Surprising side effects of eating rice cakes
You may spike your blood sugar
Even if you choose rice cakes without added sugar, they are mainly made of carbs without much fiber, which means that if you don’t add a source of protein or fat to slow their digestion, they can cause your blood sugar to quickly rise. Especially if you have a larger portion.
Moreso, when looking at their glycemic index (GI)—a measure of how quickly blood sugar increases in response to food—Rice cakes are considered to have a high one with a score of 82 out of 100. That’s also before any sugar has been added to the sweetened varieties.
You may become constipated
Although whole grain brown rice cakes do contain some fiber, refined rice cakes made from white rice lack fiber. Also, if you’re opting for these instead of fiber-rich whole grains, and are not consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, and beans, you may find yourself with a low fiber diet.
Furthermore, research from The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that white rice is linked with constipation.
You may lower your cholesterol
If you choose whole grain brown rice cakes, you’ll be consuming whole grains, which have been proven to lower cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.
Research from the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Tokyo) shows that brown rice, specifically, improves bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides while raising the body’s beneficial cholesterol. It also is providing a good source of antioxidants.
The research suggests that eating brown rice may even be a good treatment for high cholesterol.
You may lose weight
Swap a whole grain rice cake for a slice of bread or crackers. This will save you calories.
One rice cake is 35 calories compared to 120 calories in a typical slice of bread or handful of crackers. If you make a sandwich on rice cakes every day instead of on bread, you’ll save 170 calories a day. It may not sound like much, but that could result in a one-and-a-half-pound loss over the course of a month and 17 pounds over the course of a year!
Most rice cakes are gluten-free
Rice cakes are made from only rice, so the ingredients of the rice cakes will be gluten-free. Some include barley, kamut, or other gluten-containing grains, so be sure to read labels carefully if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Additionally, rice cakes are now widely available, making them a convenient gluten-free option at home. If you find yourself wanting to opt for gluten-free ready-to-eat foods, then rice cakes can be your choice as rice cakes are found in all mainstream grocery stores.