Milk Alternatives, Part 9: Rice Milk


Rice Milk: ok, but not great.

Important Considerations
Important things to review when you make a decision on a milk replacement: added sugar, adequate calcium content, adequate B12, additives, dietary needs, and cost.  
Rice Milk

Rice milk: Rice milk is lactose-free and low in saturated fat.  But unlike cow’s milk and like oat milk, rice milk contains very little protein and calcium. This milk is also thin and watery, so it’s not a good cow’s milk substitute for cooking or baking.

  • Nutrition: One Cup: 110-120 calories, 2g fat, 0g saturated fat, 1g of protein, 12-14 g sugar, 30 percent DV calcium, 25 percent vitamin D, and 25 percent DV vitamin B12.  Rice milk is both dairy-free and nut-free, so, it is a great option for anyone with those specific allergies.  At 120 calories per cup, rice milk is one of the highest-calorie plant-based milks.  
  • Disadvantages: If you’re watching your weight or have diabetes, rice milk should be avoided because it is high in carbohydrates. It is also low in protein and calcium compared to dairy milk. Most commercially available brands are usually enriched with added nutrients (such as calcium), as rice milk does not naturally contain the breadth of nutrients as cow’s milk.
  • Advantages: Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of the milk alternatives. It is free of soy, gluten, and nuts, so it is a safe choice for those with nut or soy allergies.  It is high in carbohydrates so; it is good for those with high energy requirements, such as athletes.  
Pouring milk
Pouring milk

The bottom line:  Rice milk is delicious and has a pleasant texture, but it is less than an ideal replacement for milk. I like is on my cereal or in coffee, but is a too high in carbohydrates which means you could be adding extra calories that you simply don’t need. Make sure to read labels before you buy because not all of them are created equal and none that I could find have adequate protein. I personally suggest lower lactose alternatives over oat milk, but if you choose to partake in oat milk, choose the unsweetened or less sweetened versions.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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