These Snacks Are Destroying Your Health — Avoid Them at All Costs

Everyone loves snacks. When we’re trying to lose weight, we’re often told to snack between meals as long as the foods we choose won’t destroy our brand-new diet. Unfortunately, we’re not very good at picking snack foods that are actually as healthy as they claim to be. We’re still dependent on processed foods to curb our cravings — and we’re destroying our own health in the process. If you want to snack healthy, make sure to keep these foods out of your pantry.

Trail mix

You might want to rethink grabbing a bag of trail mix from the convenience store. | HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Trail mix — especially the kind you buy at the store — is both convenient and delicious. It usually isn’t healthy, though. Most packaged trail mixes contain large amounts of nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit, which packs a lot of salt and sugar in every small serving. You’ll get a healthy dose of protein and fiber if you only take a handful. Let’s be honest, though — half the bag usually disappears before you realize you aren’t hungry anymore. Try roasting chickpeas in herbs or spices for a much healthier snack.

Rice cakes

Flavored rice cakes can be just as unhealthy as traditional chips. | Nicodape/iStock/Getty Images

According to Livestrong.com, many plain versions of rice cakes won’t completely ruin your diet. However, beware of flavored rice cakes, like caramel, cheese, or chocolate, which provide more added sugar and sodium per serving. If you do decide to indulge, make sure to choose whole-grain cakes. If you’re really trying to eat healthier, opt for plain, old-fashioned brown rice instead. It isn’t crunchy, but it actually has more health benefits than downsides.

Potato chips

You can’t eat just one chip, can you? | Kwangmoozaa/iStock/Getty Images

Greasy, salty slices of fried starch shouldn’t sound so appealing, but that doesn’t stop most people from eating them anyway. It doesn’t help that well-known brands like Lays offer baked chips — which are definitely healthier, but still not the smartest snack in your pantry. There are healthy chip brands out there, but too much of any junk food still isn’t good for you. If you’re going to reward yourself with a handful (we’re being optimistic) every once in awhile, skip the dips — they’re delicious, but way too high in calories.

Flavored microwave popcorn

Flavored popcorn adds sodium and fat to otherwise healthy popcorn. | Kitzcorner/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Popcorn by itself is actually an extremely healthy food, says TIME Health. Unfortunately, it’s considered standard practice to salt and butter your popcorn before you eat it — even when you aren’t at the movie theater. All that sodium and saturated fat may make your favorite snack taste amazing, but your waistline won’t thank you for your trouble. Before your next Netflix binge, grab a bag of regular air-popped popcorn — or pop the kernels yourself, using olive oil as your seasoning instead of butter and salt.

Granola bars

Chocolate granola bars are closer to being dessert than a snack. | HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

Granola bars like to pretend they’re health foods. Unfortunately, most brands add a lot of sugar, chocolate, and artificial flavors to improve the taste. Those that don’t aren’t always appetizing, which is why making your own provides a healthier and much tastier way to eat on the go. A processed food is a processed food, even if it’s “made with whole grains” and comes in single-serving packages. The ever-expanding variety of flavors may be tempting, but your body doesn’t need all that extra sugar.

Multigrain crackers

These crackers aren’t as healthy and nourishing as they look. | Bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

According to Mayo Clinic, the term “multigrain” shouldn’t be confused with “whole grain.” Multigrain crackers, cereals, and other snack foods are made with multiple types of grains. That means a product might contain some whole grains, but refined grains likely make up a good portion of it. When choosing snacks like these, always pick whole-grain options. Even still, avoid boxed crackers made with excess salt, sugar, and other potentially dangerous ingredients.

Dill pickles

The tangy touch to your lunch is unfortunately full of sodium. | Merc67/iStock/Getty Images

Do you keep a jar of pickles in your fridge to grab when you’re craving something crunchy? You might want to reconsider these salty, sour cucumbers. By the time they show up on grocery store shelves, these “vegetables” literally drip salt. If you aren’t careful, you could end up eating just as much salt as you do when you have potato chips. Celery with peanut butter, though not quite the same, will satisfy your need for a crunchy snack.

Should You Eat Rice Cakes?

By Lana Bandoim

Rice cakes have become a staple diet food. They are large, round, crunchy and bland. They promise a quick snack that can satisfy cravings without the guilt. However, are they a healthy option and a good choice for people on a diet?

Diet Food

Most people consider rice cakes to be a safe diet food because they do not have fat or many calories. They tend to be free from saturated fat. The total calories will vary based on the brand and type of rice cake. In general, one rice cake tends to have 60 to 70 calories. People on a diet often eat these cakes to fight cravings for crunchy food such as chips.

Nutrients

Rice cakes may have a small amount of fiber. Although this is an important part of the diet, eating a couple of rice cakes may not supply enough of this nutrient. Make sure your diet includes other sources of fiber such as vegetables or beans.

Unfortunately, rice cakes do not have protein. If you are on a diet, protein can help fight cravings and create a feeling of fullness. Simply eating a plain rice cake will not provide this essential nutrient.

Dress Them Up

The key to using rice cakes on a diet is to dress them up with healthy ingredients. This makes them easier to eat and makes them more nutritious. Consider adding a layer of protein to the top of a rice cake. Peanut butter and cheese are good sources of protein and a little bit can improve the taste of the cake. Another option is to spread hummus on top of the rice cake. It also provides protein and fiber.

Use a rice cake as a base for vegetables. Mash some peas, carrots and tomatoes into the rice cake. Sprinkle a little salt, black pepper and olive oil on top for a delicious snack. Consider using spices such as cumin or cayenne for an extra kick.

Avocado is another popular rice cake topper. Simply spread the flesh of the avocado on top. Add some salt, chopped onions and olive oil to finish it. Garlic powder and onion powder also go well with an avocado rice cake.

Consider making rice cakes a small part of your diet plan. They do not offer protein and can taste bland. Try to dress them up with peanut butter or other things to make them healthier and tastier.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Arnold, Mo.

Rice cakes have been a health-food favorite since the 1980s, when low-fat eating was all the rage. But unlike TCBY and SnackWell’s, they’ve had undeniable staying power; rice cakes are still a pantry staple in many healthy kitchens.

A rice cake has fewer calories than a slice of bread, which suggests it’s a healthier vehicle for almond butter or smashed avocado. But not so fast. “Bread can be a very healthy choice depending on the ingredients, so I would hesitate to say that a rice cake is a better option,” say registered dietitian Maya Feller. “Some whole grain breads have more fiber than rice and supply more vitamins and minerals.” As you probably already know, fiber is key to maintaining a healthy metabolism and keeping your digestive system running properly.

Holley Grainger, RD, says that it really comes down to the type of bread you choose, considering the nutrient profiles for white bread, whole-grain bread, and gluten-free bread differ greatly. That said, most breads are likely to be more filling than any rice cake. “When swapping a slice of bread for a rice cake, it’s likely that you’ll be decreasing the amount of satiating protein, fiber, and carbohydrates that you would have otherwise eaten,” says Grainger. “Also, most commercial breads are made with flour that has been fortified with iron and folic acid, so know that you’ll be slashing these nutrients and will need to find other ways to make them up.” The takeaway: Yes, rice cakes are the low-calorie option, but they’re not as nutrient dense as bread.

“Bread can be a very healthy choice depending on the ingredients, so I would hesitate to say that a rice cake is a better option.” — Maya Feller, RD

Sometimes a rice cake just makes more sense than a piece of toast. “Some of my patients make this swap because they are looking for a gluten-free option,” Feller says, adding that gluten-free breads often contain fillers and actually aren’t that good for you.

As with almost any other food choice, reading the ingredients list and nutritional panel is recommended. “Both unrefined rice and bread can supply B vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” Feller says. “The nutritional gain is really dependent on what the swap is. For example, if someone is eating refined white bread and switches to a black rice cracker they will gain more B vitamins, minerals, and fiber.”

With so many variables, go ahead and make the decision based on what you’re craving and legit like to eat. Don’t you love a nutrition story with a happy ending?

Another way to serve toast in the morning: Use sweet potatoes, which has never been easier now that pre-roasted slices are available.

Amount of Fiber, dietary total in Rice cake, cracker (include hain mini rice cakes)

Back to product’s complete Nutritional Details data.

There is g amount of Fiber, dietary total in amount of Rice cake, cracker (include hain mini rice cakes)

Fiber
Dietary fiber occurs naturally in all plant source of food such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Animal source of food does not contain fiber at all!

We cannot digest the fibers as we do not have enzymes that would break them down, therefore they do not provide our body with energy. Dietary fibers (sometimes spelled fibres) are grouped depending on their solubility into soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fiber has shown to reduce glucose and cholesterol levels and therefore it is considered to have protective role against heart disease and diabetes. Insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation and promote bowel movement. Fiber as in food nutrition plays an important role in elimination and clearance of estrogens and toxins from the body. The decent amount of soluble fiber is found in fruits, legumes, grains (barley, oats) and insoluble fibre can be obtained from vegetables, wheat bran and wholegrain brads which are a great sources of dietary fiber.

Determine, under different quantities, how much of Fiber, dietary total nutrient can be found in Rice cake, cracker (include hain mini rice cakes). Calculate and convert the amounts.

What to eat and what not to eat when you’re watching your waistline? A rice cake is commonly thought of as the perfect food to integrate into your low-carb diet. Although it scores very good on the “low calories” it’s important to know that it doesn’t supply you with the right amount of nutrition, unless (!) you add the right topping. Watch the attached Foodie-ness foodie-video-tutorial and see how you can integrate rice cake as an easy and fast snack into your healthy diet!

Some days in the week you want to keep your carbs low and the fat off, but just don’t have too much time to make a lunch, or you’re looking for a proper healthy lunch to go? Then go for a rice cake! A rice cake doesn’t contain all the minerals and vitamins you need in order to eat them ‘dry’, so therefore you should pick a topping that adds all the required and missing nutrition foods and you’re done!

In this blog post you find an example of a healthy and complete nutrition meal that contains the proper amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, fat, protein and carbs. Try this recipe at home, or be creative and pimp your rice cakes with the food you like the most!

Example 1:
– salad
– 1 sl. chicken
– 2 walnuts
– 1 tsp cottage cheese

MACRONUTRIENTS

  • Energy: 98 kcal
  • Protein: 11,3 g
  • Carbs: 2,7 g
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Fiber: 1,1 g

Example 2:
– salad
– 1/4 avocado
– 1/2 egg
– 1 tomato

MACRONUTRIENTS

  • Energy: 111,6 kcal
  • Protein: 5,3 g
  • Carbs: 5,8 g
  • Fat: 8,3 g
  • Fiber: 3,4 g

I buy my rice cakes here, as they are whole weat, healthy, low calorie and low carb! Oh and yummy :p

You’re ready to go healthy freaks! Enjoy your rice cake party and please share your foodie pictures on Instagram or Facebook and tag @foodie_ness so we can inspire each other 😉

Glycemic index for 60+ foods

Measuring carbohydrate effects can help glucose management

Updated: January 6, 2020Published: February, 2015

The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly. Low GI foods tend to foster weight loss, while foods high on the GI scale help with energy recovery after exercise, or to offset hypo- (or insufficient) glycemia. Long-distance runners would tend to favor foods high on the glycemic index, while people with pre- or full-blown diabetes would need to concentrate on low GI foods. Why? People with type 1 diabetes can’t produce sufficient quantities of insulin and those with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin. With both types of diabetes, faster glucose release from high GI foods leads to spikes in blood sugar levels. The slow and steady release of glucose in low-glycemic foods helps maintain good glucose control.

To help you understand how the foods you are eating might impact your blood glucose level, here is an abbreviated chart of the glycemic index for more than 60 common foods. A more complete glycemic index chart can be found in the link below.

FOOD Glycemic index (glucose = 100)
HIGH-CARBOHYDRATE FOODS
White wheat bread* 75 ± 2
Whole wheat/whole meal bread 74 ± 2
Specialty grain bread 53 ± 2
Unleavened wheat bread 70 ± 5
Wheat roti 62 ± 3
Chapatti 52 ± 4
Corn tortilla 46 ± 4
White rice, boiled* 73 ± 4
Brown rice, boiled 68 ± 4
Barley 28 ± 2
Sweet corn 52 ± 5
Spaghetti, white 49 ± 2
Spaghetti, whole meal 48 ± 5
Rice noodles† 53 ± 7
Udon noodles 55 ± 7
Couscous† 65 ± 4
BREAKFAST CEREALS
Cornflakes 81 ± 6
Wheat flake biscuits 69 ± 2
Porridge, rolled oats 55 ± 2
Instant oat porridge 79 ± 3
Rice porridge/congee 78 ± 9
Millet porridge 67 ± 5
Muesli 57 ± 2
FRUIT AND FRUIT PRODUCTS
Apple, raw† 36 ± 2
Orange, raw† 43 ± 3
Banana, raw† 51 ± 3
Pineapple, raw 59 ± 8
Mango, raw† 51 ± 5
Watermelon, raw 76 ± 4
Dates, raw 42 ± 4
Peaches, canned† 43 ± 5
Strawberry jam/jelly 49 ± 3
Apple juice 41 ± 2
Orange juice 50 ± 2
VEGETABLES
Potato, boiled 78 ± 4
Potato, instant mash 87 ± 3
Potato, french fries 63 ± 5
Carrots, boiled 39 ± 4
Sweet potato, boiled 63 ± 6
Pumpkin, boiled 64 ± 7
Plantain/green banana 55 ± 6
Taro, boiled 53 ± 2
Vegetable soup 48 ± 5
DAIRY PRODUCTS AND ALTERNATIVES
Milk, full fat 39 ± 3
Milk, skim 37 ± 4
Ice cream 51 ± 3
Yogurt, fruit 41 ± 2
Soy milk 34 ± 4
Rice milk 86 ± 7
LEGUMES
Chickpeas 28 ± 9
Kidney beans 24 ± 4
Lentils 32 ± 5
Soya beans 16 ± 1
SNACK PRODUCTS
Chocolate 40 ± 3
Popcorn 65 ± 5
Potato crisps 56 ± 3
Soft drink/soda 59 ± 3
Rice crackers/crisps 87 ± 2
SUGARS
Fructose 15 ± 4
Sucrose 65 ± 4
Glucose 103 ± 3
Honey 61 ± 3

Data are means ± SEM.

* Low-GI varieties were also identified.

† Average of all available data.

The complete list of the glycemic index and glycemic load for more than 1,000 foods can be found in the article “International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008” by Fiona S. Atkinson, Kaye Foster-Powell, and Jennie C. Brand-Miller in the December 2008 issue of Diabetes Care, Vol. 31, number 12, pages 2281-2283.

To get the lowdown on glycemic index and glycemic load, read more about it here.

American Diabetes Association, 2008. Copyright and all rights reserved. This chart has been used with the permission of American Diabetes Association.

image: © Amarosy | Dreamstime.com

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

High, Medium and Low GI Foods

One of the Internet’s most comprehensive lists of foods with their glycemic index. If you are following the GI or South Beach diet you should aim to include more foods with a low glycemic index in your diet. Your body will digest these foods slowly leaving you feeling full for longer and allowing you to eat less calories without feeling hungry. Adding a low GI food to a meal will lower the glycemic index of the whole meal. You can find meals that include low GI foods in our recipe section.

If you prefer the traffic light system used in the low G.I. diet book by Rick Gallop you can find the same data below arranged in red, yellow and green zones on our glycemic index chart.

For help choosing what to buy and eat when out and about you can keep details of GI values with you using one of the cheap pocket guides; such as: The Glycemic Load Counter or The New Glucose Revolution Shopper’s Guide to GI Values 2008

Glycemic Index

The number listed next to each food is its glycemic index. This is a value obtained by monitoring a persons blood sugar after eating the food. The value can vary slightly from person to person and from one type or brand of food and another. A noticeable difference is the GI rating of Special-K which produced considerably different results in tests in the US and Australia, most likely resulting from different ingredients in each location. Despite this slight variation the index provide a good guide to which foods you should be eating and which foods to avoid.

The glycemic index range is as follows:

Low GI = 55 or less
Medium GI = 56 – 69
High GI = 70 or more

Breakfast Cereal

Low GI
All-bran (UK/Aus) 30
All-bran (US) 50
Oat bran 50
Rolled Oats 51
Special K (UK/Aus) 54
Natural Muesli 40
Porridge 58

Medium GI
Bran Buds 58
Mini Wheats 58
Nutrigrain 66
Shredded Wheat 67
Porridge Oats 63
Special K (US) 69

High GI
Cornflakes 80
Sultana Bran 73
Branflakes 74
Coco Pops 77
Puffed Wheat 80
Oats in Honey Bake 77
Team 82
Total 76
Cheerios 74
Rice Krispies 82
Weetabix 74

Staples

Low GI
Wheat Pasta Shapes 54
New Potatoes 54
Meat Ravioli 39
Spaghetti 32
Tortellini (Cheese) 50
Egg Fettuccini 32
Brown Rice 50
Buckwheat 51
White long grain rice 50
Pearled Barley 22
Yam 35
Sweet Potatoes 48
Instant Noodles 47
Wheat tortilla 30

Medium GI
Basmati Rice 58
Couscous 61
Cornmeal 68
Taco Shells 68
Gnocchi 68
Canned Potatoes 61
Chinese (Rice) Vermicelli 58
Baked Potatoes 60
Wild Rice 57

High GI
Instant White Rice 87
Glutinous Rice 86
Short Grain White Rice 83
Tapioca 70
Fresh Mashed Potatoes 73
French Fries 75
Instant Mashed Potatoes 80

Bread

Low GI
Soya and Linseed 36
Wholegrain Pumpernickel 46
Heavy Mixed Grain 45
Whole Wheat 49
Sourdough Rye 48
Sourdough Wheat 54

Medium GI
Croissant 67
Hamburger bun 61
Pita, white 57
Wholemeal Rye 62

High GI
White 71
Bagel 72
French Baguette 95

Snacks & Sweet Foods

Low GI
Slim-Fast meal replacement 27
Snickers Bar (high fat) 41
Nut & Seed Muesli Bar 49
Sponge Cake 46
Nutella 33
Milk Chocolate 42
Hummus 6
Peanuts 13
Walnuts 15
Cashew Nuts 25
Nuts and Raisins 21
Jam 51
Corn Chips 42
Oatmeal Crackers 55

Medium GI
Ryvita 63
Digestives 59
Blueberry muffin 59
Honey 58

High GI
Pretzels 83
Water Crackers 78
Rice cakes 87
Puffed Crispbread 81
Donuts 76
Scones 92
Maple flavoured syrup 68

Legumes (Beans)

Low GI
Kidney Beans (canned) 52
Butter Beans 36
Chick Peas 42
Haricot/Navy Beans 31
Lentils, Red 21
Lentils, Green 30
Pinto Beans 45
Blackeyed Beans 50
Yellow Split Peas 32

Medium GI
Beans in Tomato Sauce 56

Vegetables

Low GI
Frozen Green Peas 39
Frozen Sweet Corn 47
Raw Carrots 16
Boiled Carrots 41
Eggplant/Aubergine 15
Broccoli 10
Cauliflower 15
Cabbage 10
Mushrooms 10
Tomatoes 15
Chillies 10
Lettuce 10
Green Beans 15
Red Peppers 10
Onions 10

Medium GI
Beetroot 64

High GI
Pumkin 75
Parsnips 97

Fruits

Low GI
Cherries 22
Plums 24
Grapefruit 25
Peaches 28
Peach, canned in natural juice 30
Apples 34
Pears 41
Dried Apricots 32
Grapes 43
Coconut 45
Coconut Milk 41
Kiwi Fruit 47
Oranges 40
Strawberries 40
Prunes 29

Medium GI
Mango 60
Sultanas 56
Bananas 58
Raisins 64
Papaya 60
Figs 61
Pineapple 66

High GI
Watermelon 80
Dates 103

Dairy

Low GI
Whole milk 31
Skimmed milk 32
Chocolate milk 42
Sweetened yoghurt 33
Artificially Sweetened Yoghurt 23
Custard 35
Soy Milk 44

Medium GI
Icecream 62

Information provided by the University of Sydney and used with permission.

Glycaemic Index – GI

GI is an important tool when choosing a balanced diet for long term health, although, on its own, GI does not make a food ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Some high GI foods, such as hot potatoes and fresh watermelon, contain many valuable nutrients, while some low GI foods, such as chocolate and corn chips, are far less beneficial containing large amounts of saturated fat and sugar.

We rarely eat only one food. When foods are eaten as part of a meal, the GI is affected by other components of the meal, including the amount of protein and fat being eaten, the types of starch and fibre. If you eat low GI foods in a meal, this will reduce the overall GI of the dish. For example, eating rice bubbles (high GI) and milk (low GI) for breakfast would be considered moderate GI.

Eating mainly low GI foods everyday is encouraged as it provides a slow, continuous supply of energy from one meal to another. For those wanting to lose weight, low GI foods as part of a balanced diet may be helpful. The carbohydrate in low GI foods is digested slowly, making you feel fuller for longer. Regardless of GI though, it is still important to consider the amount eaten. Most people need to eat less calories and become more active when trying to lose weight.

People who have diabetes can use the GI of foods to help control blood glucose levels. For more information about how GI can assist those with diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org.nz.

If you play sport, looking at the GI of foods can help you make choices to aid performance. While you are exercising the blood in your body is pumped to the muscles, lowering the available supply. At this time, you need high GI foods, giving energy quickly, such as lollies, ripe bananas and sports drinks. Eat low GI foods for a great energy base prior to exercise – such as baked potatoes or porridge.

Are rice cakes good for you on a diet?

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