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Should You Try the Latest TikTok Weight Loss Trend: Ricewater?

July 8, 2024

There’s a new drink trending on TikTok claiming to aid weight loss to the same degree as medications like Ozempic and Wygovy. There are already more than 20,000 posts dedicated to the trend, known as  #ricewater or “rice-zempic,” where people make the drink from rice, water, and lime juice. 

If it sounds familiar, it should: The mixture is similar to another trend from a few months ago, dubbed “oatzempic,” in which creators used oats instead of rice. So, does this new concoction hold any promise for weight loss, or is it just another trend that will quickly pass? 

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What is “rice-zempic” or “ricewater”?

To make “rice-zempic,” you soak rice in hot water and allow it to steep for 10 to 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Then you strain the rice, pour the remaining water into a glass, and combine it with the juice of half a lime. Although the proportion of rice to water and steep time may vary between influencers, the end result is a drink made from the water that the rice soaked in and some lime juice.

Proponents claim that “ricewater” results in the same weight loss benefits as medications like Ozempic and Wygovy without the hefty price tag. Some TikTokers claim to have lost up to 14 pounds and have felt less hungry after drinking the mixture.

Is there a connection to the Ozempic?

Drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy work by mimicking a hormone that the body naturally releases to help control digestion and feelings of hunger. Both of these drugs have the same active ingredient, called semaglutide. Ozempic has lower levels of semaglutide and was developed for people living with type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy contains higher amounts of semaglutide and was created to help with weight loss. Both drugs slow the emptying of the stomach, and affect the way the brain processes hunger and satiety. Ultimately they make you feel fuller for longer, which results in eating less and losing weight.

Although “rice-zempic” is a clever spin on the name “Ozempic,” the similarities end there. Rice water contains starch, as well as some vitamins and minerals, but it certainly doesn’t have the same metabolic effects on the body as medications like Ozempic and Wegovy.

A closer look at “ricewater”

Rice water contains starch, along with some nutrients that remain in the water when the rice is soaked, such as several B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. Although the starch may make you feel full for a short time, it isn’t triggering the same metabolic processes as the weight loss drugs. Also, there is no scientific evidence showing a connection between drinking “rice-zempic” and weight loss. Anecdotes by TikTokers may be compelling, but they aren’t a substitute for science.

What about the lime?

Lime juice is low in calories and provides a healthy dose of the antioxidant vitamin C. There’s a misconception that acidic food will help “burn fat,” but that is not true. The body will neutralize the pH of the acidic food naturally.

Can “rice-zempic” lead to weight loss?

As with anything you eat, it always depends on other factors. One major factor is the other foods you eat during the day in addition to the “ricewater” drink. If you’re replacing higher-calorie breakfasts like pancakes, eggs, muffins, and bacon with the rice-based beverage, which has few calories, then weight loss can certainly result. (Though with so few calories, you may get hungry before lunch and make up those lost calories on snacks.) Most TikTokers claiming to have lost weight with rice-zempic don’t share what else they ate all day.

Plus, as a registered dietitian, I find the extreme weight loss claims on TikTok troubling. The National Institutes of Health guidelines for a safe rate of weight loss are no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week, which should be accomplished through healthy eating and lifestyle habits such as regular exercise and sleep. Losing weight quicker than that tends to result in regaining the lost weight and sometimes even gaining more once you return to your regular style of eating. The key is changing daily habits to make them healthier, and that takes time and patience.

Should you try it?

As always, quick fixes usually don’t work in the long term. Eating a variety of whole foods, avoiding high-calorie yet nutrient-empty foods, minimizing added sugar, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly are habits that have been shown to help you live a healthier life and can aid in weight loss. 

Read next: How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet for Weight Loss

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