Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Rice Milk Bad For You?



Short answer

Rice milk is potentially bad for you when consumed excessively. While rice milk is a viable alternative for those with lactose intolerance, it must be balanced with other sources of protein and calcium.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

In the long list of milk alternatives at the grocery store, you will certainly see one labeled as rice milk. While many lactose-intolerant shoppers may choose this white liquid as their alternative of choice, it is not necessarily a healthier one. Though it will allow these individuals to enjoy milk without the negative digestive side effects, rice milk comes with its own set of adverse effects on the body.

Rice milk is simply rice that has been processed and milled and then blended with water until the entire mixture is fully a liquid. The result is a thin liquid that is white/beige in color, similar to milk, with elevated natural sugar content and decreased nutrient density. During the rice milk processing, the carbohydrates in rice are transformed into sugar, which gives rice milk a sweet flavor. This facet of rice milk makes it unsuitable for diabetics. Sugar in excessive amounts increases risks for blood sugar spikes, weight gain, inflammation, and a host of ailments that can result from inflammation.

The lack of nutrients in rice milk has not been ignored. Many manufacturers fortify their rice milk product with proteins and synthetic vitamins. Some use the protein from chickpeas to boost protein value and thicken the drink, as well as give it a calcium boost. However, other ingredients like carrageenan and phosphates area also added to give similar effects. Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the beverage is produced using GMOs.

There are some benefits to drinking rice milk. It makes a satisfactory flavor base for drinks, such as the Mexican rice drink horchata, and a tasty milk alternative in warm chai. It has no fat or cholesterol and is the most hypoallergenic milk alternative—no nuts or lactose. Finally, if the rice bran is retained in the milk, this makes rice helpful for heart health, specifically controlling blood pressure (though this may be canceled out by the sugar content).

Overall, rice milk can be safely consumed by most individuals in small amounts—though it should be avoided by diabetics. When choosing a brand, look for organic, non-GMO varieties such as Rice Dream's Organic Rice Drink.



Possible short-term side effects

  • elevated heart rate
  • sugar high and low
  • inflammation

Possible long-term side effects

  • obesity
  • inflammation
  • diabetes ii
  • effects from gmos
  • effects from additives

Ingredients to be aware of


  • alternative to cow’s milk
  • alternative to nut's milk
  • lactose-free
  • hypoallergenic
  • zero fat
  • zero cholesterol

Healthier alternatives

  • coconut milk (modest amounts)
  • organic kefir -without added sugar (modest amounts)
  • water

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)


  • Organic beverage
  • Cholesterol-free
  • Lactose-free
  • Classic original flavor
  • Non-dairy alternative
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Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 07-14-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 07-14-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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