There’s a decent possibility that rice cakes ended up in your shopping basket if you’ve ever adhered to a low-fat diet or fad diet that placed a high priority on calorie restriction. But are rice cakes gluten free?
Eating rice cakes has advantages and disadvantages, just like many other packaged snacks. They are, for instance, incredibly convenient, typically gluten-free, and a suitable replacement for higher-calorie items like bread, but they are also largely nutrient-void and somewhat rich in “empty” carbs.
Let’s examine the components of many rice cake varieties, the advantages and disadvantages of adding them in your diet, as well as some healthy ways to eat them.
How Do Rice Cakes Work?
What precisely are rice cakes comprised of? The majority of rice cakes, whether they are made from white rice, brown rice, or another variety, are prepared with puffed rice and/or rice flour.
The rice is compressed and mashed together to create a thin “cake” that resembles a crisp, flaky cracker more than anything else.
Rice is consumed with almost every meal in India and Asian nations including Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, and China, where there are many different forms of rice cakes that are popular worldwide.
Since the 1980s, when they were first promoted as the ideal low-calorie snack to enjoy with jelly, cottage cheese, fruit, and other toppings, rice cakes have been available in the United States.
These snacks can be created in a variety of ways, including by grinding whole grain rice, adding additional grains and seeds to the mixture, like quinoa, buckwheat, or flaxseeds, or by simply using refined white rice that has been puffed with air to increase the volume.
Although rice cakes are generally low in calories, they don’t offer many additional nutritional advantages. The majority of whole grain rice cakes are still low in nutrients, despite the fact that some of them can be a good source of fibre and other nutrients.
It’s a good idea to examine ingredient labels and pick a variety manufactured with simple, healthy components because certain types can also be very rich in added sugar and salt.
A plain/unsalted brown rice cake has roughly the following nutrients, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on rice cakes’ nutrition:
#1 35 calories
#2 7.2 grammes of carbs
#3 0.7 g of protein 0.3 g of fat, and 0.4 g of fibre
#4 0.3 mg of manganese (17 percent DV)
#5 0.7 mg. of niacin (4 percent DV)
#6 32.4% phosphorus milligrammes (3 percent DV)
#7 1.80 mg of magnesium (3 percent DV)
#8 selenium 2.2 micrograms (3 percent DV)
Can You Eat Rice Cakes? (Pros and Drawbacks)
1. A bread substitute that is gluten-free and lower in carbohydrates and calories
Rice cakes are a wonderful swap for other carbs like bread, rolls, wraps, crackers, chips, and french fries if you’re on a low-carb diet or just trying to limit your calorie and carb intake.
They often include fewer calories and fewer carbohydrates than other snacks and components of a like kind since they are created with less energy-dense flour and more air from puffed rice. They could be able to quench your carbohydrate cravings without packing on a tonne of extra calories to your diet.
Are rice cakes gluten free? Since rice is not a gluten-containing grain, they are naturally gluten-free (unless mixed with wheat, rye, or barley flour).
2. Possibility of Whole Grains
Rice cakes often have less fiber than other varieties of crisp breads or whole grain crackers. Even so, if you consume a few of them, particularly if they are made with whole grains like brown rice and seeds, they can still help you meet your daily requirements for dietary fibre.
Additionally, you can get small to moderate amounts of certain essential nutrients from whole grain rice cakes, such as manganese, B vitamins like niacin, and selenium. These nutrients support healthy energy levels, maintain normal blood sugar levels, support bone health, and strengthen the immune system.
3. Accessible and Flexible
Rice cakes are adaptable and may be used in a number of recipes, both sweet and savoury, despite the fact that they don’t have a lot of flavour on their own, unless other ingredients are included. They can be garnished with peanut butter and sliced apples or avocado with everything bagel seasoning, for instance.
They are also simple to transport on travels and when out and about because they don’t need to be cooked, are affordable, shelf-stable, and require no refrigeration.
1. High glycemic index and carb content
Rice cakes are mostly made of processed white rice, which is a source of carbs and is sometimes referred to as “empty calories.” Even though having one or two cakes won’t add a lot of carbs to your diet, eating more than this can, especially if you choose a product with added sugar that is sweetened.
The majority of rice cakes have a high glycemic index rating, which means that they can swiftly increase blood sugar levels.
Do rice cakes cause weight gain? Why, for example, do bodybuilders consume rice cakes?
It ultimately depends on how many you consume and how they fit into the rest of your diet, just as with any other meal. Rice cakes are a source of carbohydrates, which, when combined with resistance training, can help build muscle.
However, if you eat a lot of them (especially if you don’t exercise much), they probably won’t help you maintain a healthy weight.
Try serving rice cakes with a source of satiating protein, such as cottage cheese, melted aged cheese, or tuna fish, to make them more satisfying and help you eat less of them. This prevents a blood sugar increase and prolongs the time between meals when hunger is controlled.
Rice cakes can also be topped with healthy fats like avocado or nut butter, which can help you feel fuller for longer.
2. Overall Low Nutrient Content
The puffing process appears to deplete levels of some delicate antioxidants, so you’re better off eating regular whole grain rice. While some types of whole grain rice, such as brown rice, black rice, and wild rice, can occasionally provide antioxidants, there is evidence from some studies indicating this.
Like rice cakes made with full grain rice, such as brown rice, and straightforward additions like sea salt or cinnamon if you choose to nibble on them frequently. Avoid products with added sweets or artificial tastes, and if you have a salt sensitivity, watch how much sodium you ingest.
Try these recipes for healthful rice cakes:
#1 Make “avocado toast” out of rice cakes and top it with sliced tomatoes and your prefered seasoning.
#2 Add an scrambled egg, burger, or vegetarian burger to one.
#3 Top one with sprouts after spreading hummus on it.
#4 Add yoghurt, chia seeds, and crushed berries to one.
#5 Sprinkle chocolate powder and coconut flakes on top of the mashed banana and serve.
#6 Combine tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella on a rice cake pizza.
#7 Use them to create nutritious snacks out of crispy brown rice and almond butter.
Optimum Snacks for Health
Rice cakes aren’t necessarily the finest snack option, but they’re also not the worst—especially if they’re cooked with whole grain rice and other nutrient-dense components like grains and nuts. What additional wholesome treats ought you to look for instead?
Choose whole grain crackers produced with high-fiber sprouted grains if you’re craving something “carby.” Another excellent choice is to make your own baked french fries.
Other wholesome foods to add more nutrients to your diet:
#1 berries, almond milk, and protein powder in a nutritious smoothie
#2 Boiled eggs
#3 Apple slices and almond butter
#4 avocado dip and whole grain chips
#5 Hummus and vegetables
#6 turkey rolled up with mustard and spinach
#7 Smoked salmon slices with cream cheese and cucumbers
#8 Energy balls with cocoa, almonds, and seeds
#9 Salad of tuna and celery slices
Risks and Negative Impacts
Avoid eating rice cakes if you’ve ever experienced a rice allergy.
When purchasing rice cakes, read the ingredient labels and go for a brand that uses recognisable components rather than a lot of sugar, preservatives, and additional tastes.
Are Rice Cakes Gluten Free – Conclusion
What ingredients are in rice cakes, and are they healthy? Puffed rice, rice flour, and occasionally additional ingredients including grains, sugar, salt, and seasoning are used to make rice cakes.
Rice cakes don’t contain many nutrients, despite the fact that they often have low calorie counts. The healthiest varieties lack artificial chemicals or added sugar and are prepared with whole grain rice.
The advantages of eating rice cakes include their portability, versatility, and lower calorie content compared to items like bread and chips. However, they are frequently not particularly filling and might quickly elevate your blood sugar.
In general, be mindful of your portion sizes. To make foods more nutrient-dense, try serving them with a source of satiating protein and healthy fats, such as cottage cheese, melted aged cheese, avocado, eggs, or tuna fish.