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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are Rice Cakes a Healthy Snack?

Photo by Mary Thompson via Flickr
Rice cakes seem like a healthy food choice. They are low in calories, fat and they're made from rice. Seems like a great option, especially if you get the plain brown rice variety, right?

Wrong.

I'm not a fan of rice cakes. Rice cakes are a high glycemic index food.

During processing, the fiber that was once in the rice is stripped down. Fiber is what we need to keep our blood glucose levels stable when consuming carbohydrates. Many rice cake brands have absolutely zero fiber and other brands have a tiny amount. But that tiny amount usually comes with twice as many carbohydrates.

You may be thinking, "So. I'm not afraid of some extra carbs."

We have to be careful of our consumption of starchy carbohydrates while trying to lose weight. And these refined processed carbs are not what you want to eat. You would basically be eating sugar. And sugar makes blood glucose levels skyrocket.

When these levels are spiked, the body is more prone to store fat. Eating a rice cake is not like eating rice. If you eat rice, your blood glucose levels do not increase as sharply as they do when you eat a rice cake.

Additionally, rice cakes are not filling at all. You may intend to eat only one, but will probably end up eating several, just to feel full.

Let's not even talk about the flavored varieties of rice cakes: butter, caramel, chocolate, cheddar, etc. I'll just say this -- all of that added sugar and those artificial ingredients are not good for our health or weight loss.

If you're looking for a healthy snack, opt for high fiber foods such as sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, pecans, apples, pears, oranges or strawberries -- to randomly name a few.

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