These bland cardboard cut-outs were a dieter’s dream during the 1990s low-fat/low-calorie diet craze. As a snack food, they’ve helped us stay away from more unhealthy snacks like chips and fries.⁣


Rice cakes are nothing more than refined puffed rice and have very little nutritive value. Made with close to 100% rapidly digestible carbs, rice cakes have a glycemic index that is astronomically high. The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, according to the extent to which they raise blood sugars after eating. Pure glucose has a GI score of 100. Some brands of rice cakes have a GI as high as 97. That’s bad news if you’re trying to lose weight.⁣

Such a high blood-sugar level is considered a risk factor for obesity and diabetes. In non-diabetic people, it has been associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis and kidney disease as well. You can eat rice cakes once in while if you’re stuck between a chip and a hard candy, but keep in mind that they’re nutrient-poor and give you nothing but starch. It certainly shouldn’t be considered a health food.⁣

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