Rice flour is made from finely milled white rice. It is sometimes called rice powder and is commonly used to replace wheat-based flour in a variety of recipes.
Rice flour is a staple in Asian and Indian cuisine, mainly used to make noodles and desserts. It is also an excellent thickening agent for sauces and gravies.
As health problems linked to gluten were discovered, many people in America and other countries switched to rice flour as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour..
Many people also use rice flour, also known as rice powder, in any food recipe and smoothie to enjoy the health benefits white flour has to offer.
Rice flour and wheat flour can be used interchangeably in most baked goods. There are some limitations, however. If you want to make yeast bread, you’ll need to use white flour because gluten is necessary to make the dough rise. Rice flour may also slightly change the flavor of your cake, cookies, etc because of its bland taste. (As you may have noticed, wheat flour has a slightly sweet flavor.) 1
Using rice flour as a substitute for wheat flour may also change the texture of your baked goods somewhat. Rice flour has a coarser texture than white flour. 2
Rice flour contains minerals and protein that are important for health.
A 100 g serving of rice flour contains: 3
Rice flour also contains high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are essential for a variety of bodily processes.
Let’s examine some of these nutrients.
Protein is an important building block for bones, muscles, skin, and hair. It is also an energy source for the body. Research studies indicate that protein is an important macronutrient that may aid weight loss and maintenance, increase satiety, support the immune system, and much more. 4, 5, 6
Fiber is essential for bowel health. Fiber increases the bulk of the stool, aiding regularity of bowel movements. As it slows glucose absorption, fiber can also help regulate blood sugar levels, thereby possibly reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. 7, 8
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzyme systems throughout the body and helps regulate diverse biochemical reactions, including protein synthesis, muscle contraction, nerve control, and much more. Magnesium is also essential for the absorption of calcium. 9
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1- Enoc MC. Rice Flour vs Wheat Flour, Which is the Best Choice and Why. What is the Best Rice Cooker. May 29, 2018. Accessed Feb 5, 2021.
2- Enoc MC. Rice Flour vs Wheat Flour, Which is the Best Choice and Why. What is the Best Rice Cooker. May 29, 2018. Accessed Feb 5, 2021.
3- NutritionData. Rice flour, white. Accessed Feb 5, 2021. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5726/2
4- Leidy HJ, Clifton PM, Astrup A, Wycherley TP, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Woods SC, Mattes RD. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1320S-1329S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038. Epub 2015 Apr 29. PMID: 25926512.
5- Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 5, May 2008, Pages 1558S–1561S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S
6- Daly JM, Reynolds J, Sigal RK, Shou J, Liberman MD. Effect of dietary protein and amino acids on immune function. Crit Care Med. 1990 Feb;18(2 Suppl):S86-93. PMID: 2105184.
7- Chandalia M, Garg A, Lutjohann D, von Bergmann K, Grundy SM, Brinkley LJ. Beneficial effects of high dietary fiber intake in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med. 2000 May 11;342(19):1392-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM200005113421903. PMID: 10805824.
8- Howarth NC, Saltzman E, Roberts SB. Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutr Rev. 2001 May;59(5):129-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb07001.x. PMID: 11396693.
9- National Institutes of Health. Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. NIH. Updated: Sep 25, 2020. Accessed Feb 5, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/