Rice Cakes: Nutrition and Dangers


Nutritional Characteristics

Rice cakes are a very caloric food, providing around 35kcal per unit (10g) and just under 400kcal per 100g.
From this first statement it can be deduced that rice cakes are not exactly the prototype of a dietary food; furthermore, they are much more energetic than traditional bread. The latter provides on average just under 300kcal/100g, so a single slice of bread (25-30g) provides around 75-90kcal. Therefore, making the comparison with a rice cake, a slice of bread provides double the energy but has a total weight 2.5/3 times greater. In practice, a slice of bread has double the calories but boasts three times the satiating power.

The calories in rice cakes are mainly provided by carbohydrates, followed by lipids and finally by proteins. The carbohydrates are almost totally complex (starch), the fatty acids are of the unsaturated type and the peptides are of medium biological value.

Rice cakes provide an insufficient water fraction, do not contain cholesterol and their portion of dietary fiber is quite high.

Nutritional values

Nutritional composition per 100 grams of Commercial Rice Cakes
Chemical composition Value per 100g
Edible part 100%
Water 5.8g
Proteins 7,1g
Total lipids 4.0g
Saturated fatty acids 0.88g
Monounsaturated fatty acids 1,58g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids 1,52g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Available carbohydrates 81,1g
Starch 80,2g
Soluble sugars 0.9g
Total fibre 4,2g
Soluble fiber – g
Insoluble fiber – g
Alcohol 0.0g
Energy 392,0kcal
Sodium 71.0 mg
Potassium 428.0 mg
Ferro 1,5mg
Soccer 11.0 mg
Phosphorus 360.0 mg
Magnesium – mg
Zinc 3.0 mg
Copper – mg
Selenium – µg
Thiamin 0,06mg
Riboflavin 0,16mg
Niacin 7,81mg
Vitamin A retinol equivalents 0,0µg
Vitamin C 0.0 mg
Vitamin E 1,24mg

From a saline point of view, rice cakes provide a good level of phosphorus, potassium and iron (even if the latter is not very bioavailable). As regards vitamins, however, the concentrations of niacin (PP), total folates (not present in the table and probably canceled out by the heat treatment of puffed rice) and tocopherols (vit E) stand out.
Rice cakes do not contain simple sugars but, having a high glycemic index (82 out of a maximum value of 100 for glucose syrup), they are NOT suitable for the diet of obese people, type 2 diabetics and hypertriglycerides.

Among other things, due to the scarcity of water, the dietary fiber content could (rather than improve) worsen any constipation condition; in this case, it is therefore essential that the rice cakes are accompanied by plenty of water or drinks.
It is also important to point out that not all rice cakes are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets, as some use food additives of animal origin as glue, such as, for example, isinglass.
A final clarification concerns the suitability of rice cakes for celiac disease. Many think that, being rice-based, the biscuits can be easily inserted. However, some are produced with glutinous rice, which is why it is always necessary to carefully read the label of the individual products when purchasing.
The average portion of rice cakes varies based on the composition of the general diet; in a 2000kcal nutritional regime, if used as a secondary snack, it is possible to use 20-30g of rice cakes (i.e. 80-115kcal).

Rice Cakes: Are They Contaminated?

Some human nutrition experts from “Technical University of Denmark’s National Food Institute” they looked at the levels of inorganic arsenic e acrilammide in some foods, including rice cakes.
Since these are two compounds considered poisonous – since, with high and long-lasting exposure, they can increase the risk of cancer – the researchers deemed it appropriate to inform the community about the respective levels in foods and the safety margins; it would in fact be legitimate for consumers to want to adopt containment measures for acrylamide and arsenic, in order to moderate the risks linked to their presence in the diet.
Researchers say consumers have no reason to worry about most unwanted chemical compounds in foods, including arsenic and acrylamide, especially in the context of a varied and heterogeneous diet.
However, the “National Food Institute” claims that “It would be beneficial for everyone if the intake of certain compounds were reduced”; these compounds obviously also include inorganic arsenic and acrylamide.

Arsenic

Rice is considered one of the main sources of inorganic arsenic for almost all populations and at every age group; Furthermore, for childrenit seems that biscuits represent the main entry route for the aforementioned contaminants.
In light of these certainties, the average intake of inorganic arsenic in the diet (albeit within safety margins) should be reduced, especially for children. This is because smaller, developing organisms have less tolerance than adult ones; remember that, if consumed in large quantities and for many years, the chemical element in question could increase the risk of developing some forms of cancer.
It would therefore be desirable (in the diet of those who eat mainly this cereal, such as Asian populations or some Western celiacs) to partially replace rice with potatoes, bread (possibly gluten-free), legumes or other vegetables, to vary the diet and reduce exposure. to poison.

Acrilamide

Acrylamide is another chemical that may be present in rice cakes and increase the risk of certain types of cancer. This unwanted molecule is formed when carbohydrate-rich foods are fried, broiled, or baked; in any case always at temperatures >120°C.
While research suggests that average acrylamide intake for the population has decreased since 2007, some argue that levels are still too high.
According to a 2013 report, 36% of acrylamide in the diet of adults comes from packaged foods such as chips, 30% from coffee and 13% from bread and derivatives (including, obviously, biscuits). of rice).

How to Avoid the Accumulation of Acrylamide and Arsenic

In addition to avoiding certain types of foods that contain high levels of this substance (those that are very browned or charred), consumers may want to take certain safety measures, such as taking a detox supplement.
These types of supplements often contain a mixture of micronized zeolite (detoxifying volcanic mineral based on silicon and aluminium), alpha lipoic acid (a powerful antioxidant) and/or other antioxidant molecules of vitamin, mineral, polyphenolic, coenzymatic origin, etc.
The composition is justified by the fact that alpha lipoic acid, as well as the other components mentioned, could help limit the oxidative stress caused by acrylamide, thanks to its remarkable ability to neutralize harmful free radicals throughout the body. The zeolite, meanwhile, thanks to a “cage” chemical structure, should exchange heavy metals (including the aforementioned arsenic) in the environment, releasing its ions and preventing toxins from remaining inside the organism.
To tell the truth – if it is demonstrated that zeolite can effectively exchange its ions with heavy metals, caging them, and that antioxidants have a certain effectiveness in combating oxidative stress – there is no guarantee that the aforementioned supplements can cancel the presence or the effect of arsenic and acrylamide in foods. Among other things, the use of clays in food supplements was recently banned by the Ministry of Health, in order to reduce consumer exposure to food sources of aluminum.
Assume antioxidant supplements and “detoxifying” could therefore be a correct habit, but diet remains the most important form of prevention of all.


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