Sunday, July 14, 2024

What Is Ricezempic? An RD Explains the Risks and Benefits

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Why spend thousands of dollars on Ozempic when you could get the same effects from rice, lime, and water? This is the latest questionable logic spreading across TikTok, thanks to a starchy concoction users are calling “ricezempic.”

The buzzy beverage is made by soaking unwashed rice in a cup of hot water, then removing the rice and adding lime juice to the murky remnants. For best results, TikTokers advise you drink it first thing in the morning, with many claiming it has helped them lose up to 14 pounds in a week and feel less hungry throughout the day. Over the last few weeks, more and more people have shared their #ricezempic journeys on TikTok, and some videos have earned more than three million views.

If you’re having some drink déjà vu, you’re not alone. Ricezempic’s complex carbohydrate cousin “oatzempic” was trending just a few weeks ago, with an almost identical recipe (except instead of rice, it featured . . . you guessed it . . . a scoop of oats). According to the experts PS spoke with back then, there is no data to support that oatzempic is effective for weight loss. But is ricezempic any different? And why is the internet so obsessed with homemade Ozempic anyway?

Experts Featured in This Article:

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, is a registered and licensed dietitian.

Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, is a nutrition expert and co-author of “Sugar Shock.”

Is “Ricezempic” Legit?

“It is very unlikely that this drink will offer the same benefits as weight loss medication,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, echoing what past sources have said about oatzempic. Still, while you probably won’t see any significant weight change without making other adjustments to your diet or lifestyle, Manaker says ricezempic is unlikely to cause major harm.

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like ricezempic is being used as a meal replacement in the same way oatzempic was. Instead, people are recommending you drink it once per day (preferably in the morning, before breakfast). But just to recap: using these concoctions as a kind of diet or cleanse is neither safe nor effective. “We know extreme forms of restriction (e.g., cleanses, fasting, calorie counting) are actually linked with overeating in the long run,” Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD previously told PS.

In response to ricezempic’s alleged weight loss properties, one TikTok user broke down the science, saying that the resistant starch on the unwashed rice makes ricezempic a prebiotic (which can reduce bloating and feed healthy gut bacteria). But while resistant starch is indeed a prebiotic, it’s unclear whether or not ricezempic truly qualifies.

“We don’t have reliable data to confirm exactly how many nutrients this drink contains, including prebiotic fiber,” Manaker says. “Since it appears many on TikTok don’t love the taste, if you want resistant starch in your diet, you are better off eating something that is a source of it that you actually enjoy eating.” Foods high in resistant starch include nuts, beans, plantains, and seeds, according to UCLA Health.

Does “Ricezempic” Have Any Benefits?

Looking at the glass half full, ricezempic may still be helpful for some people (if you can get past the taste). “This drink can provide some hydration along with a boost of vitamin C from the lime,” Manaker says. Among many other benefits, drinking more water can also support better digestion, energy, and nutrient absorption, which is a win in and of itself.

Ultimately, no matter what TikTok would have you believe, ricezempic is not a quick fix. “At the end of the day, no single food or drink will result in weight loss,” Manaker says. And truthfully, we don’t need a feed full of Ozempic dupes.

Chandler Plante is an assistant editor for PS Health & Fitness. Previously, she worked as an editorial assistant for People magazine and contributed to Ladygunn, Millie, and Bustle Digital Group. In her free time, she overshares on the internet, creating content about chronic illness, beauty, and disability.

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