Rice Milk: Brands to Choose and Avoid

rice milk brands

Rice milk is processed, milled rice, blended with water until it transforms into a liquid.

During the process, carbohydrates become sugar, giving it a naturally sweetened taste.

This somewhat sugary alternative is very low in nutrient value unless vitamins and calcium are added to it. However, it’s the least likely of all dairy milk alternatives to trigger allergies. But, it contains almost no protein.

If this is your go to choice as a dairy-free alternative for your coffee, cereal, or recipes, here’s how some popular brands compare ingredient-wise.

Popular Rice Milk Brand Comparison

Rice Dream

rice dream nutrition

Rice Dream offers both shelf-stable and refrigerated rice milk products. Their shelf-stable line offers a more wide variety of choices like, unsweetened, and organic.

For comparison sake, let’s look at Rice Dream’s Original Rice Milk.

Ingredients: Filtered water, organic brown rice (partially milled), organic expeller pressed safflower and/or canola oil, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12.

Macros per 8 floz serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 23 grams
  • Sugar: 10 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 2.5 grams

Questionable ingredients:

Vitamin A Palmitate: People that eat plenty of fruits and vegetables do not need to supplement vitamin A and this is a synthetic form of the vitamin that some report to be linked to health problems.

Canola Oil: The fat in Rice Dream may be from canola oil which has been called into question in recent years because its processing methods and possible inflammatory effect.

Health grade: B

Pacific Foods Rice Milk

pacific rice milk nutrition

This brand offers two shelf-stable varieties of rice milk. Here’s how their original fairs.

Ingredients: Water, Brown Rice, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carob Bean Gum, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2

Macros per 8 floz serving:

  • Calories: 130
  • Carbs: 27 grams
  • Sugar: 14 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 2 grams

Questionable ingredients:

Vitamin A Palmitate

Canola Oil

Carrageenan: In some people this thickener could cause some gastric distress and has some other evidence of causing other intestinal issues. A small amount appears to be fine but those who consume a lot of processed foods should take note.

Health grade: C

Vitasoy Rice Milk

nutrition of vitasoy rice milk

Vitasoy is a popular dairy alternative in Australia and New Zealand. They offer a couple different shelf-stable rice milk options, but here’s how their original compares.

Ingredients: Filtered water, whole brown rice (min 13%), sunflower oil, calcium phosphate, sea salt.

Macros per 8 floz serving:

  • Calories: 125
  • Carbs: 23.7 grams
  • Sugar: 14.5 grams
  • Protein:.7 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams

Questionable ingredients: None

Health grade: A

Trader Joe’s Rice Drink

Trader Joe's Rice Drink Nutrition

Trader Joe’s offers a pretty extensive line of dairy alternatives and they call their rice milk a “rice drink”. I guess they understand that grains of rice do not have nipples…

Anyway, here’s how their original version stacks up.

Ingredients: Filtered water, organic brown rice (partially milled), organic expeller pressed safflower oil and/or sunflower oil and/or canola oil, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin d2, vitamin b12.

Macros per 8 floz serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 23 grams
  • Sugar: 10 grams
  • Protein:1 grams
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
  • Questionable ingredients:

Possibly contains canola oil

Vitamin A Palmitate

Health grade: B

Kirkland Rice Milk

nutrition comparison of kirkland rice milk

Costco offers bulk rice milk to their club members under the Kirkland brand name. Here’s how their original compares.

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Partially Milled Organic Rice, Organic Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil and/or Organic Expeller Pressed Safflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid.

Macros per 8 floz serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 23 grams
  • Sugar: 6 grams (Kirkland’s Rice Milk is the lowest in sugar compared to the other brands.)
  • Protein:1 grams
  • Fat: 2.5 grams

Questionable ingredients:

Vitamin A Palmitate

Health grade: B+

Good Karma Rice Milk

good karma rice milk

This product is found in “natural” grocery stores like Whole Foods. Here’s how Good Karma Organic Rice Milk measures up.

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola and/or Organic Expeller Pressed High Oleic Safflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12.

Macros per 8 floz serving:

  • Calories: 80
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Sugar: 8 grams
  • Protein:1 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams

Questionable ingredients:

Carrageenan

Brown Rice Syrup

Natural flavor

Vitamin A Palmitate

Health grade: D This brand appears to contain less actual rice since it is sweetened and flavored to taste better.

Alpro Rice Drink

alpro rice drink UK

This popular UK brand is available in both an original and lite version. Here’s how the original Alpro Rice Drink compares nutritionally.

Ingredients: Water, Rice (12%), Sunflower oil, Calcium (Tri-calcium phosphate), Maltodextrin, Sea salt, Stabiliser (Gellan gum), Vitamins (B12, D2), Acidity regulator (Dipotassium phosphate)

Macros per 200 ml serving:

  • Calories: 94
  • Carbs: 19 grams
  • Sugar: 6.6 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Questionable ingredients:

Dipotassium phosphate – Some research showed that inorganic phosphates can potentially accumulate in body tissues and cause harm. Most brands use calcium phosphate as a calcium supplement, but this brand has two types of phosphates.

Maltodextrin – This is an added carb which quickly converts to sugar and has a higher GI index than table sugar.

Health grade: B- The label claims no added sugars, but they add maltodextrin which is a bit deceiving

Whole Food’s 365 Rice Milk

365 whole foods rice milk

Whole Food’s market offers a rice milk under their 365 label. Here’s how it compares.

Ingredients: Organic rice milk (filtered water, organic whole grain brown rice), organic brown rice syrup, organic brown rice syrup solids, organic expeller pressed safflower and/or sunflower seed oil, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, organic vanilla extract, carrageenan, natural flavor, vitamin a palmitate, ergocalciferol (vitamin d2), cyanocobalamin (vitamin b12).

Macros per 8 floz serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 23 grams
  • Sugar: 13 grams
  • Protein: 1 grams
  • Fat: 2.5 grams

Questionable ingredients:

Added Sugars

Carrageenan

Vitamin A Palmitate

Health grade: C

What About Brand X?

There are many brands of rice milk available and your favorite may not be on the list above. But, you can still use this list to evaluate how healthy your brand is.

What you want to look for in your brand, is how many additives it contains and if the additives are among what we have identified as questionable ingredients.

The Winning Rice Milk

The Vitasoy Rice Milk is probably the gold standard in that it has the least additives and is closest to if you would make rice milk at home.

Questionable Ingredient Clarification

The ingredients identified as questionable aren’t unequivocally “harmful” per say, but there is some scientific-based evidence that they could cause potential problems when consumed by some people or in large quantities.

If you’ve found a great brand of rice milk, add its picture and ingredients list to the comments below.

Be sure to check out our almond milk and our coconut milk comparisons as well.
    Citations:

  • ROSA, M. (1972). Biological properties of carrageenan. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 24(2), 89-102. abstract
  • James, M. J., Gibson, R. A., & Cleland, L. G. (2000). Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory mediator production. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(1), 343s-348s. abstract

Comments

  • JamesF

    Great roundup. I used to drink the Vitasoy or the Rice Dream, depending on which was on sale. The vitasoy seemed slightly creamier in texture, but to be honest, all of them are pretty bland. Nowadays I tend to drink a coconut almond milk combination.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Yeah, it seems rice milk’s popularity is waning with all of the great nut milk alternatives out there. I’m a huge fan of the cashew milk.

  • Vonny Browne

    Jeez, im just getting into rice milk too. What a bummer!

  • RhesusNegative

    I decided to look up the best Rice Milk because I’ve been giving a little bit of Traders Joe’s “Rice Drink” to my furry child while on a 7plus days juice fast, where even thou I know its safe for me, I also needed to know how good it is for myself and safe for my furry baby, as well.

    BUT omg! I’ve been drinking Traders Joe’s ‘Rice Drink’ since becoming Vegan
    12 years ago, but for some odd reason I’ve been thinking it was called
    Rice Milk. lol!

    Well, anyway, I’ll be stocking up on the winner from now on but only if its no more than 25 cents higher than the great price at TJs.

    thanks and shared!