This Is The Problem With Rice Cakes

While rice cakes aren't exactly the most flavor-packed food out there, they are many people's stand-by as a quick, easy, healthy snack. Well, quick and easy, they got that nailed, but healthy ... unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Lynell Ross, a certified health and wellness coach and nutritionist who works as Resource Director for Test Prep Insight, told Mashed: "The problem with rice cakes is that they are low in fiber, but high in carbohydrates which may spike your blood sugar if you eat too many." She says that foods high in refined carbs (as is the case with rice cakes) cause a rise in blood sugar which is followed by a rapid drop. It's this "crash" that Ross says "can cause you to feel hungry, lethargic, with low energy." 

What's worse, if you eat foods like rice cakes on a regular basis, over time your blood sugar levels may get out of whack. Unbalanced blood sugar can potentially lead to feelings of uncontrolled hunger, weight gain, and in some cases, the development of type 2 diabetes.

How can you make rice cakes better?

Ross says that if you really want to eat rice cakes, one way you can mitigate the potential damage is to slather them with some type of protein-rich spread such as peanut butter, hummus, sliced turkey, or avocados. Eating protein together with carbohydrates will reduce the swings in your blood sugar levels.

As Ross tells us, rice cakes aren't really what you'd call harmful unless eaten in excess, but they are lacking in nutrition. Still, she says they are fairly low in calories, and Heathline agrees that they have a lower calorie count than do most types of breads and crackers. Plus, there's the fact that the air that rice cakes contain may help to fill you up, at least temporarily. Ross's advice is to "pair them with something healthy, and they can be a great weight loss tool." As she always tells the clients who come to her for nutritional advice, "eat from the food groups in correct portion sizes, and in the correct number of servings to maintain a healthy weight."