Are Rice Cakes Healthy? Nutrition Facts, Benefits and Risk

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Christiana George
Christiana George
Welcome to The Tart Tart, my not-so-tart take on food, writing, and photography. I decided to start up this sucker after repeated nagging from Chris, my fiance, who cannot understand why the sight of a farmer’s market would send me into ecstatic convulsions (okay, total overstatement. I can be quite the histrionic at times).With that said, my interests, though chiefly in food, also span fashion, design, literature, and photography. So don’t mind the seemingly non sequitur odds and ends I toss in posts at times.

Rice cakes are typically considered a tasty snack, and there’s no denying that they are exactly a favorite among kids or adults. But if you’re looking to add some extra nutrition to your diet, you should reconsider whether or not you should be eating these crunchy morsels more often than you already do! So, are rice cakes healthy?

Rice cakes, both brown and white, are healthy when eaten in moderation. They are somewhat considered healthy because of their low-calorie count, low fat, and zero cholesterol. However, they are not exactly nutritious as there is no beneficial nutrition like vitamins and minerals in them.

Read out to know why rice cakes deserve their place in your healthy diet and what can make their consumption even healthier!

Are Rice Cakes Healthy?

There’s no denying that rice cakes aren’t exactly the most exciting food item in your pantry, but they are an excellent option if you’re looking to eat something crunchy and light in the evening and still not put on weight (unlike potato chips).

Here are 5 great reasons why rice cakes deserve a place in your pantry and regular diet.

1. Low-calorie

If you’re looking for a low-calorie snack that will satisfy your crunchy cravings, rice cakes are a great option. One rice cake has only about 30-35 calories, making them a perfect choice for those watching their weight yet want to enjoy something delicious.

2. Allergen-free

For anyone with food allergies or sensitivities, rice cakes are a godsend. They’re made from, you guessed it, rice! And because they’re processed and pre-packaged, there’s no risk of cross-contamination.

Plain rice cakes are gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and soy-free too. It is perfect for you if you have Celiac disease or have been diagnosed with a wheat allergy. You can enjoy these light and airy snacks without worrying about nasty side effects!

However, some brands could have exceptions, so you must check labels.

3. Zero Cholesterol

When it comes to cholesterol-free snacks, rice cakes are the clear winner. They have zero cholesterol, which is important for maintaining a healthy heart and preventing heart disease. Not only do they contain no cholesterol, but they also provide dietary fiber essential for regulating bowel movements and promoting digestive health.

4. Vegan And Vegetarian-Friendly

For starters, rice cakes, both brown and white, are vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Their making process requires no animal-derived ingredients.

5. Less Fat

Fat is an essential nutrient that helps you feel satiated and provides energy. However, too much fat can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Rice cakes have less fat than other snacks, making them a better choice for health-conscious people. However, they don’t possess any good fat either.

Rice cakes

Are Quaker Rice Cakes Healthy?

Quaker is popular for creating some snackable varieties of rice cakes. But are those healthy? Let’s see the nutritional value of plain whole-grain quaker rice cakes:

Value for 1-piece quaker rice cake (9-gram)

Variety: whole grain, lightly salted 

Ingredients (as mentioned): whole grains, rice, salt.

Total fatSaturated fat0 g0 g
Carbohydrate 7 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 15 mg
Fiber.0 g.

From the chart above, we can see that a piece of quaker rice cake has only 35 calories. So even if you eat 2 or 3 pieces a day, it won’t increase your calorie count significantly. The sodium content is also significantly low here, less than 1% of the total weight.

However, as I mentioned that quaker comes with wide varieties and flavors of rice cakes; their nutritional value can differ in that case. For example, the Apple Cinnamon rice cake contains 50 calories, 11 grams of carbs, and also 3 grams of added sugar for the sweetness.

Therefore, it is always the best idea to check the nutritional value of your chosen quaker rice cake before buying.

White Rice Cakes vs Brown Rice Cakes: Which One is Healthier?

While talking about rice cakes, you have two choices: white rice cakes and brown rice cakes. But which is best for you?

Let us compare white and brown rice cakes to see which one is ‘healthier’ than the other.


When it comes to rice cakes, brown rice cakes are made with whole grain brown rice and have a chewy texture. On the other hand, white rice cakes are made with refined white rice and have a light, airy texture. Both white and brown rice cakes can be used as a low-calorie and zero-cholesterol snack.

More Filling

The most significant difference between the two types of rice cakes is how they’re processed. The processing methods of each type produce different nutritional benefits and taste profiles, so you should take these into consideration when deciding which one to buy.

For example, brown rice cakes contain a bit more fiber than white rice cakes. Therefore, brown rice cakes may be better for people who need help staying full longer or controlling their blood sugar levels.

Glycemic index

Nonetheless, when it comes to the presence of glycemic index (the ability of food to convert into sugar), both types have the same rating, which is between 80-90, depending on the brand. This rating is considered fairly high, considering 100 is the mark of pure glucose. However, it can be a viable snack for muscle recovery if you do a heavy body workout.

Which one to choose?

Although you may think brown rice cake is better than white rice cake because brown rice holds the tag of whole grain, it is not true.

All the important nutrients, including the complex carbs from wholegrain, are stripped off in the rice cake-making process.

If you’re watching your carb intake, you might want to choose the brown rice cake because they have slightly fewer (0.2-0.4 gram less) carbs than white ones.

However, if you’re looking for something that has a little more flavor or is less dense, then the white rice cake is your best bet.

Who Should Limit Rice Cake Consumption

You may include rice cakes in your diet; however, not all can eat them. Rice cakes are not just suitable for people with several health conditions.

People with Diabetes

Since rice cakes have a substantial glycemic index rating, people who have high blood sugar should avoid consuming rice cakes. You may get a sugar crash shortly after consuming the snack. However, the effect can be slightly reduced if you pair your rice cake with a healthier companion that can cut the sugar, such as hummus, plain yogurt, and eggs.

People With High Blood Pressure

A piece of rice cake contains 20-50 mg sodium content which is almost 3-5% of your daily sodium intake, considering you intake sodium from other meals. If you have high blood pressure, you must watch your consumption of rice cakes and limit it to 1-2 pieces a day.

Healthy Ways to Eat Rice Cakes

If rice cake is your favorite snack and you just can’t ignore it, there are healthy ways to have it.

Go Flavor-free

While some people enjoy the taste of flavored rice cakes, they generally contain more sugar and unhealthy ingredients than their flavor-free counterparts. If you’re looking for a healthy option, stick to plain rice cakes.

For instance, chocolate-coated rice cakes contain more carbs and saturated fats than plain ones.

Pair With Healthy Toppings

Although rice cakes aren’t the most nutritious snack, that doesn’t mean they can’t be healthy when eaten in moderation and paired with the right foods.

Just like other carbs, rice cakes provide your body with temporary energy. And when you pair them with healthy toppings, they can be pretty nutritious. For example, top your rice cake with avocado, and you’ve got a good source of healthy fats and fiber.

Limit Within 2-3 Piece Per Day

They’re often thought of as a diet food because of the low-calorie content. Too much consumption in a single day can add up to the calorie count and carbs too. They can actually be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation.

Choose Low Sodium Or Unsalted

Too much sodium isn’t good for anyone, but it’s especially important to limit it if you have high blood pressure. Check the labels on rice cakes to find ones with less sodium per serving, or opt for unsalted versions.


Are Rice Cakes Healthy for Weight Loss?

Although rice cakes do not aid weight loss, they can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. They are low-calorie and low-fat snacks; when eaten in moderation, weight is not affected. Therefore, when you are hungry in the middle of the day and looking for something healthy to eat, rice cakes can be your best friend.

Are Rice Cakes Healthier Than Bread?

You can say rice cakes are healthier than a piece of brown bread. The calorie count of 2 rice cakes is equivalent to 1 slice of bread. Moreover, sodium and carb contents are significantly higher in a slice of bread compared to a piece of rice cake.

However, if we look at the nutritional side, rice cakes contain no beneficial nutrients. But bread contains some amount of dietary fiber, potassium, and iron.

Are Rice Cakes Healthy for Toddlers?

Yes, rice cakes are considered healthy for toddlers. However, you must limit the intake to 1-2 pieces per day. For better benefit, you can pair the rice cake with some tasty fruit slices, yogurt dip, or nut butter; your toddler will love it.

Final thought

Are rice cakes healthy?

Well, rice cakes are a healthy and versatile snack option that people of all ages enjoy. They are low in calories, fat, and carbs. You can use them as the base for an appetizer or main dish; spread them with peanut butter for a great snack; top them with some fruit for dessert, or serve them with your favorite dips. 

Rice cakes are sure to please everyone’s taste buds!

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