Rice cakes are a popular snack between meals. Rice cakes are a coveted, supposedly healthy snack, especially for small children. But even when losing weight, people like to use rice waffles as a healthy alternative to other snacks. However, rice cakes are made up of different ingredients that affect your daily calorie needs.
In the following, we would like to explain in more detail whether the consumption of rice cakes has a positive effect on the calorie balance and what needs to be considered when buying and eating rice cakes. We also want to explain the ingredients and their effects on the body to you in more detail.
the essentials in brief
- The calories in rice cakes are made up of different components. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy
- With a responsible and balanced diet, the calories contained in rice cakes are harmless
- Toddlers and babies should only eat small amounts of rice cakes. This reduces the risk of an unbalanced diet
How many calories are in rice cakes: what you should know
Rice cakes are considered a supposedly healthy snack that competes with fruit, chocolate and other nibbles. There are rice cakes themselves not only in different versions that differ in terms of their calories. The ingredients of the rice cakes also sometimes differ from each other. Nutrition-conscious people in particular like to reach for the popular snack in the hope of doing something good for their body.
The different ingredients of the rice cakes have different effects on your body. (1) In the following, we would like to explain in more detail how and whether the calories in rice cakes affect your energy balance and how the ingredients affect your body.
What ingredients in rice cakes contribute to the calorie count?
The calories in rice cakes are made up of the various ingredients in the rice cake. The original rice cake usually gets by with very few ingredients. A rice waffle usually consists only of puffed rice, which is pressed into the typical shape of a thaler.
A single rice cake weighs an average of just 7 grams. If the rice cake isn't spicy enough, you can also use slightly salted versions. The main component and thus the main calorie supplier of the rice cake is the puffed rice. We have put together the following overview to give you a better overview of the ingredients in the rice cakes. (2) The overview refers to 100 grams of rice cakes.
The total calories of the rice cake thus amount to about 346 kilocalories. As can be seen from the table, carbohydrates make up the largest part of the calories.
How does the calorie content of different rice cakes differ?
Rice cakes are not only available in their original form for a long time. Rice cakes are now available in different flavors. Sweet rice cakes, for example, are covered with chocolate or honey. However, they contribute to a higher calorie content due to the sugar contained in the coating. Sandwiches made from rice cakes topped with cheese or sausage are also commercially available.
These are heartier than the original rice cake. However, due to the fat contained in the topping, they also have an increased calorie content compared to the natural rice cake. The products that are most similar to the original product are those that have been enriched with sesame, millet or other grains. These have a similarly high calorie content as the natural rice cake. However, they have a higher fiber content.Advantages
- The glaze makes the rice cake sweeter
- Hearty rice cakes are particularly suitable for satisfying hunger
- added grains increase the fiber budget
If you want to eat as few calories as possible, we recommend the original version of the rice cake. However, if you prefer a little variety, you can also use the different variants of the rice cake. However, with an average of 500 kilocalories per 100 grams, these are significantly higher than the calorie content of the unsweetened version. (3)
Are rice cakes good for losing weight because of their calories?
Unsweetened rice cakes are not just low in calories. But the portion size of just around 7 grams is ideal for snacking on the rice cake in between. A single rice cake has an average of only about 25 calories. With an average calorie consumption of 2400 kilocalories per day for men and 1900 kilocalories for women, this is a negligibly small proportion of the daily calorie requirement. (4)
It should be noted, however, that rice cakes consist mainly of carbohydrates. For a long time there were doubts as to whether carbohydrates stand in the way of a diet. However, the latest studies show that carbohydrates are not just part of a healthy diet. They can support dieting and even cause your brain to age more slowly. (5)
Eating a high-carbohydrate diet after exercise also helps replenish burned calories. This is important for your body to regenerate. However, since rice cakes are seen as a supposedly light snack, there is a risk of eating several rice cakes at the same time. Here you should make sure that you do not see the rice cake as a filling meal. Rather, you should use them like any other snack as a small snack.
Due to the portin size, rice cakes are usually negligible in your daily calorie intake.
Rice cakes with a coating or other ingredients are therefore less suitable for losing weight. The contained fat and the contained sugar quickly exceed the amount of calories contained in a day's needs. That's why you should be more careful about your calorie intake when consuming rice cakes with additives. However, if you can restrain yourself when eating, there is nothing wrong with reaching for a rice cake with other additives for a change.
Are the Calories in Rice Cakes Healthy?
Natural rice cakes consist only of puffed rice. This essentially consists of
All of these ingredients contribute to the total calories and are essential to the human body and not unhealthy per se. There are various nutritional approaches that only recommend the consumption of protein. In this case, rice cakes are not suitable for daily consumption.
Natural rice as the main ingredient in a rice cake. (Image source: unsplash / Matthew Lakeland)
However, the latest studies show that a high-protein diet can lead to health problems and can damage the heart and the entire body in the long term. (6) Other studies show the benefits of a protein-rich diet for a healthy body. The protein contained in food is said to protect body cells from diseases and, for example, to support the liver in its work. (7)
Similar studies exist for the consumption of carbohydrates. For example, in one study, carbohydrates were associated with increased mortality. They are suspected of attacking a person's internal organs and putting too much strain on them. (8) However, other studies suggest that carbohydrates have an unjustified bad reputation and that a carbohydrate-restricted diet can lead to early mortality. (9)
If the amount is small, the calories contained in rice cakes are harmless.
However, due to the usually small portion size when consumed, the calories contained in a rice cake are harmless. The scientific studies on nutrition often refer to a one-sided diet and examine extreme forms of nutrition. So if you don't overdo it when eating rice cakes and snack conscientiously, it's not just the overall calorie balance of the snack that's harmless. But also the composition based on the ingredients is harmless.
The same applies to the sweetened or savory version of the rice cake. This version does have a higher calorie balance. However, if consumed responsibly, this higher calorie content is negligible. However, caution should be exercised in people with pre-existing conditions. Since rice cakes have a very high glycemic index, i.e. the value that measures the rise in blood sugar levels, people with diabetes in particular should be careful when eating them. (10)
Are there harmful calories in rice cakes?
Rice cakes do not contain any harmful calories per se. However, the rice used to make it can be contaminated with arsenic. Arsenic is a semi-metal and is used, among other things, to fertilize rice. If the arsenic ends up in the end product, it doesn't count towards the calories in the whole rice cake. Nevertheless, arsenic can burden the body and lead to diseases. (11)
You should therefore make sure that your rice cakes contain, at best, organically grown rice that is not contaminated with arsenic. However, according to current studies, the selection of rice cakes that are not contaminated with harmful arsenic is very limited. (12) It is therefore better to play it safe and find out about products on the Internet in which no arsenic has been detected.
Are the Calories in Rice Cakes Safe for Babies?
Rice guns are a popular meal, especially for small children and babies who are in the process of switching to solid food. However, since the calories in rice cakes consist largely of carbohydrates, caution is advised. A varied diet should not be neglected, especially with our little ones.
Babies in particular eat several small meals a day. (Image source: unsplash / Matt Walsh)
Rice cakes are ideal as a small snack, even for the little ones, as the puffed rice is very easily digestible. The fiber contained in the rice cakes stimulates your child's digestion. You also avoid possible flatulence.
It is best to combine the rice cake with a piece of fruit, so that rice cakes are not the only thing on your diet. Thus, the calories also get into the still young body from other sources. Also because of the possible arsenic contamination, you should be even more careful when feeding your baby rice cakes. (13)Advantages
- small portion size
- few calories
- no fats contained in natural products
- easily digestible
The energy balance of rice cakes is largely made up of carbohydrates. In smaller quantities, these are harmless for you and also for our youngest. If you consider rice cakes as a supplement to a balanced diet and only as a snack, you can reach for rice cakes without hesitation. Only if you suffer from diabetes should you be more careful when eating sweetened rice cakes.
The contamination of arsenic in rice cakes, however, is not reflected in the calories. However, you should still make sure to buy rice cakes that are as uncontaminated as possible. However, a possible alternative to rice cakes are corn cakes, which you can consider for a change.
- Sara B Seidelmann, Brian Claggett, Susan Cheng, Mir Henglin, Amil Shah, Lyn M Steffen, Aaron R Folsom, Eric B Rimm, Walter C Willett, Scott D Solomon. Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health. Volume 3, ISSUE 9, e419-e428, September 01, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30135-X Source
- ernaehrung.de: Natural rice cakes, AlnaturA Source
- mopo.de: Eleven fatteners exposed These are the nastiest organic calorie bombs. Sieglinde Neumann. 05/20/2012. Source
- ernaehrungs-umschau.de: Special: The small difference - nutrition for men and women. Caroline Krems. 11/16/2009 Source
- Devin Wahl, Samantha M Solon-Biet, Qiao-Ping Wang, Victoria C Cogger, Stephen J Simpson, David G Le Couteur: Comparing the Effects of Low-Protein and High-Carbohydrate Diets and Caloric Restriction on Brain Aging in Mice. Cell Reports. Volume 25, ISSUE 8, P2234-2243.e6, November 20, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.10.070 Source
- Virtanen HEK, Voutilainen S, Koskinen TT, Mursu J, Tuomainen TP, Virtanen JK. Intake of Different Dietary Proteins and Risk of Heart Failure in Men: The Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Circ Heart Fail. 2018 Jun;11(6):e004531. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.117.004531. PMID: 29844244; PMCID: PMC6023591. Source
- Xu C, Markova M, Seebeck N, Loft A, Hornemann S, Gantert T, Kabisch S, Herz K, Loske J, Ost M, Coleman V, Klauschen F, Rosenthal A, Lange V, Machann J, Klaus S, Grune T, Herzig S, Pivovarova-Ramich O, Pfeiffer AFH : High-protein diet more effectively reduces hepatic fat than low-protein diet despite lower autophagy and FGF21 levels. Liver Inter. in press (E-pub ahead of print) (2020) Source
- Dr Mahshid Dehghan, Andrew Mente, Xiaohe Zhang, Sumathi Swaminathan, Wei Li, Viswanathan Mohan, et al. : Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study. The Lancet. Volume 390, ISSUE 10107, P2050-2062, November 04, 2017. August 29, 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32252-3. Source
- Nadine Eckert: Carbohydrates and life expectancy: low carb under suspicion. Dtsch Ärzteebl 2018; 115(41): A-1816 / B-1528 / C-1514. Source
- Kaspar Berneis, Ullrich Keller: The health significance of the glycemic index of carbohydrate-containing foods. Switzerland Med Formum 2006, 6. 893-97. Source
- Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR): Arsenic in rice and rice products. Statement of the BfR No. 018/2015 from 24.6.2015. Source
- .deutsche-apotheker-zeitung.de: Rice cakes again heavily contaminated with arsenic. Julia Borsch. 09/30/2016. Source
- www.verbraucherzentrale.de: Arsenic in rice - what to watch out for in infants and small children Source