Dairy-free rice milk is derived from nutrient rich rice. It is low in fat and contains no lactose, which is makes it a great substitute for traditional dairy milk. Rice milk also works well in nearly all recipes that call for dairy milk. Because of its low fat content, rice milk makes a smart choice for those looking to lose or maintain weight.
So what is rice milk? Well, rice milk is typically made from boiled rice, brown rice syrup, and brown rice starch. Thickening agents are typically added to make commercial rice milk to make it comparable to the consistency of cow milk. Most people agree that rice milk that is sweetened with vanilla or sugar tastes more like cow’s milk and is easier to drink; however, rice milk typically is sweeter than cow’s milk. Rice milk is a popular choice among vegans because it contains no animal products or by-products. And since it contains no lactose, it is perfect for people suffering from lactose allergies.
There are many nutritional and health benefits of rice milk. Although rice milk does contain more carbohydrates than traditional dairy milks, it does not contain lactose or cholesterol—making it a sensible choice for heart health. Though rice milk does not naturally contain as much calcium or protein as cow’s milk, many manufacturers offered fortified rice milk that includes these essential vitamins and minerals. With fortified rice milk, drinkers are typically ingesting more calcium, protein, and vitamins per serving than that of cow’s milk.
Rice milk is also lower in calories as compared to a cup of whole dairy milk. A serving of rice milk contains approximately 140 calories, while whole milk contains about 185 calories for the same amount. Rice milk also contains only one-third of the amount of fat of whole cow milk; at only 3 grams of fat per serving, it is a sensible choice for the weight conscience consumer. Skimmed cow milk contains half the fat of rice milk, but yet provides only half of the nutrients found in rice milk.
Switching to rice milk after a life of cow milk consumption may take a trial period. However having lactose intolerance or being adverse to consuming animal by-products may hasten the transition in some. Many find the taste preferable over dairy milk, and is an alternative to other milk substitutes such as soy or almond milk. Rice does not offer all of the benefits of soy milk, but for those with soy allergies, it is an important way to get the vitamins and minerals one needs in the diet.
While it is possible to make rice milk at home, it will not contain the fortified vitamins and minerals found in stores. Vitamins such as vitamins A, D, and calcium are all essential nutrients that commercial grade rice milk offers.
It is up to the consumer on how much importance to place on the vitamin content of the rice milk, but most agree that it is a satisfying and tasty alternative to dairy milk.