Experts React to Viral Weight Loss Drink

Experts React to Viral Weight Loss Drink

A new drink is making the rounds on TikTok due to claims that it’s an inexpensive alternative to popular weight loss and type 2 diabetes drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

“Rice-Zempic”—a beverage that combines rice, water, and lime juice—is being touted as a drink that can help people lose weight, mimicking the effects of the prescription medications.

Currently, the Rice-Zempic hashtag (#ricezempic) has 152 posts on TikTok, filled with users claiming that the drink can help people lose up to 14 pounds in a week. TikTok users also claim that the drink can make them feel less hungry throughout the day, have less of a sweet tooth, and might even help them use the bathroom more often.

But could this drink actually help with weight management—or is it just another unproven TikTok trend? Here’s what experts had to say about the rice water drink.

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The biggest weight-loss benefit to Rice-Zempic is that “it’s relatively low calorie—it’s just starchy water,” according to Mir Ali, MD, medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “It can be helpful for weight loss if you’re using it to replace a meal.”

The rice water and lime juice concoction might also help people feel fuller before a meal and eat less than they normally would, Ali added.

But past that, the drink has “zero scientific backing,” Scott Keatley, RD, co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, told Health.

“While rice water may have some nutritional benefits, such as providing a source of energy from its starch content, there is no evidence to suggest it has any properties that would significantly impact weight loss, especially in the manner that anti-diabetic medications like Ozempic do,” Keatley said.

The drink might also make someone feel full, according to Kunal Shah, MD, an assistant professor in the division of endocrinology at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center—but not in the same way anti-diabetes and anti-obesity drugs do.

“The starch expands in your stomach and can make you feel full—but it’s very short-lived,” Shah said. Unlike medications like Ozempic and Wegovy, Rice-Zempic is “not really metabolically helping you at all,” he added.

Ali stressed that just because you could potentially lose weight on Rice-Zempic, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or even close to the impact you would have on Ozempic.

“It doesn’t in any way mimic Ozempic,” Ali said. “It has no hormonal effects like Ozempic to stimulate receptors.”

Rice-Zempic isn’t dangerous, per se, but it’s also unlikely to do much, Shah said. If you have a condition like acid reflux, the lime juice may also exacerbate it, he added.

Even if you were to lose weight through drinking Rice-Zempic, experts stress that it’s not a sustainable way to do so.

“This weight loss will be temporary because you’re not making permanent, healthy, long-term changes,” said Ali. “Once you stop this kind of thing, the weight will come back.”

Instead, Ali recommends reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing how much protein and vegetables you have in your diet. “This is the basis for most diets,” he said.

Shah agrees. “The best advice has always been to have a low-calorie, high-nutrient diet with high protein and low carbs, and to combine that with exercise,” he said. “That’s going to be the basis of long-lasting weight loss.”

If you want to drink Rice-Zempic before a meal, Ali said you’re probably fine to do that. “But I don’t want people to misconstrue this as Ozempic,” he said. “It’s not.”

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