In the 1990s rice cakes were seen as the perfect product for people looking to stay slim and healthy. That was mainly due to their no fat content and light structure. At the end of the day, it is just processed rice, which is very easy to digest. This opinion is still popular today. But is it right? Let’s first look at their nutritional value.
Rice cakes are not very nutritional
They can hardly be called a healthy snack – even though they are not harmful, they do not provide a lot of nutritive value. They contain virtually no vitamins or minerals. They are pure carbohydrates. To make them more nutritional, you need to serve them with some toppings – paste, vegetables or fruit.
Let’s also remember that rice cakes are a highly processed product and that most nutrients are eliminated in the production cycle – high temperatures and processing strip the rice grains of all their wholesome nutritive components. The round wafers become a simple easily digestible carbohydrate with a high glycemic index. What does that mean? They increase blood glucose levels.
This makes them anything but the perfect snack for diabetics and – paradoxically – weight-watchers. A low GI diet is more effective and the Polish Diabetes Association recommends cutting down on simple carbohydrates in everyday meals. Therefore, the low calorie content of rice cakes does not really mean that they help you to lose weight.
Which rice cakes should you choose?
Definitely try to pick those made of brown rice. Although the nutritional value of the processed product will by minimal, it is still a better alternative than white rice cakes. Before buying, always read through the list of ingredients – it should only include rice.
Rice cakes often contain added salt and too much salt is always unhealthy, no matter where it comes from and how many minerals it claims to have. According to specialists, daily sodium intake should not exceed 2,300 mg and one rice cake will cover as much as 5% of that amount. Choose unsalted rice cakes or a low sodium version.
Some brands offer rice cakes with added sugar, chocolate or other flavorings (such as cheese, caramel, strawberry, etc.). In such case, the cakes are simply bad for you. If you need to, try to make them tastier on your own – read on to find out how!