During the low-fat, high carbohydrate craze of the late 1980’s and 1990’s, rice cakes quickly became one of the ultimate diet foods.
So we bought them in bulk thinking that, if we swapped our cookies and crackers for 70 calorie rice cakes, we’d lose weight and look great.
They may be low in calories, about 35 a pop, but when eaten alone they can actually sabotage weight loss. If you look at the Nutrition Facts Label on a package of rice cakes, you’ll see a whole lot of nothing. No fat, no fiber, minimal vitamins and minerals, and maybe 1 gram of protein–all important nutrients that nourish your body, improve satiety and actually keep your mind off of snacking.
Rice cakes are really popular among the youngest as well, but the truth about rice cakes is this: it seems that they are not as healthy as we considered them to be.
According to the newest studies, rice cakes are little more than refined carbohydrates (which are quickly digested and converted into sugar) that have been sprinkled with salt, and possibly sprayed with some artificial flavoring. Their glycemic index, an indicator of how a food affects blood sugar, is pretty high (82 compared to pure sugar which tops out at 100).
Instead of taking your mind off of food, snacking on rice cakes on an empty stomach can stimulate a spike in blood sugar that might just leave you feeling sluggish and craving, you got it, more rice cakes.
This study was conveyed by the Swedish National Food Agency. After examining 102 rice products available on the market, in the end, they discovered high levels of arsenic in some of these products, which is a known carcinogen.
Arsenic naturally appears in the soil and bedrock and is absorbed by plants, but rice seems to be particularly open to absorbing and storing high levels of arsenic.
If ingested in large quantities, arsenic can cause tumors in the skin, lungs, bladder, as well as the liver, kidneys and prostate. Also, recent studies pay a lot of attention to the presence of arsenic in baby rice and rice products.
Regarding these findings, the Food Safety Organization recommends: children, particularly under the age of six, should not consume rice or rice products such as rice porridge, rice noodles, or breakfast cereal made of puffed rice like (Rice Crispies, for instance) more than four times a week.
Ergo, people who consume a lot of rice, i.e. more than seven times a week, should reduce their rice intake as they’re exposing themselves at a risk of ingesting a lot of arsenic. Continual exposure to arsenic can contribute to a number of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, chronic cough, diabetes and neurological effects. Children are particularly at risk.
Plus, some of the popular rice products that were found to contain unsafe arsenic levels were: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Boots Baby Organic Rice Cakes, and Organix First Wholegrain Baby Rice.
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