Although rice flour and wheat flour are used for a number of similar baked products, the two types of flour have a number of nutritional differences. You should carefully assess the similarities and differences of rice flour and wheat flour to determine which type is better for your baking needs.
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One of the biggest differences between rice flour and wheat flour lies with their calorie contents. Rice flour is significantly higher in calories, as one cup of rice flour provides 578 calories, compared to 400 calories for one cup of wheat flour. The difference of 178 calories comprises nearly 9 percent of the daily recommended intake of 2,000 calories.
Both rice flour and wheat flour derive most of their calories from carbohydrates. Rice flour is higher in carbohydrates, as one cup provides 127 grams, compared to wheat flour's 84 grams. However, wheat flour is higher in fiber, with 12 grams per cup, compared to 4 grams per cup in rice flour. Fiber helps you feel full and promotes regular bowel movements; Colorado State University recommends that women consume 25 grams of fiber daily, and that men consume 38 grams daily.
Wheat flour and rice flour are both low in fat, as each provides 2 grams of fat per cup. Although fat is calorie-dense, it does perform many important functions, such as aiding in growth and development.
Wheat flour contains slightly more protein than rice flour, with 16 grams per cup, compared to 9 grams per cup in rice flour. Wheat flour contains a protein called gluten, which is not tolerated by those with Celiac disease. However, rice flour does not contain gluten and is appropriate for those with Celiac disease.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Wheat flour provides more vitamins and minerals than rice flour. One cup of wheat flour offers 8 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron and riboflavin, 16 percent of the recommended daily intake of niacin and 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of thiamin. One cup of rice flour provides only 2 percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium and 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron.