A new viral trend is making the rounds on TikTok, challenging the dominance of the popular ‘weight-loss’ drug Ozempic. Dubbed ‘Rice-Zempic,’ this DIY concoction is capturing the attention of social media users seeking a budget-friendly alternative to the high-profile medication.

Consisting of just rice, water, and lime juice, this simple drink is being touted by TikTokers as a potential aid for weight loss. As Ozempic’s soaring popularity has led to shortages affecting diabetes patients who rely on the drug, the emergence of Rice-Zempic raises questions about the efficacy and safety of homemade weight loss remedies, as well as the impact of viral health trends on public health and medical resources.

Dr Vinutha G, senior consultant gynecologist and women health expert at Athreya Hospital explains, “This social media-fueled trend suggests that rice, especially brown rice, can be a viable substitute for Ozempic, a prescription medication known for its effectiveness in weight management and diabetes control. The premise behind Rice-Zempic lies in the high fiber content of brown rice, which is thought to promote satiety and reduce overall calorie intake.”

Potential health benefits and risks of taking Rice-Zempic

Brown rice is a notable source of dietary fiber, says Dr. Vinutha, a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. “Research published in the Journal of Nutrition indicates that fiber plays a crucial role in promoting satiety by increasing feelings of fullness and delaying gastric emptying. This can lead to reduced calorie intake and potentially contribute to weight loss.”

She adds, “Brown rice is a whole grain, meaning it retains its bran and germ layers, which contain essential nutrients. These include B vitamins crucial for energy metabolismmagnesium for muscle and nerve function, and antioxidants that protect cells from damage.”

Festive offer

In terms of drawbacks, Dr Vinutha says relying solely on rice for weight loss can severely limit the diversity of your diet, potentially leading to deficiencies in essential macronutrients (protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals).

Additionally, while brown rice can be a part of a healthy weight loss diet, there is no scientific evidence to suggest it can replicate the specific mechanisms of action of Ozempic. Ozempic works by mimicking the hormone GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1), which regulates appetite and blood sugar levels. A meta-analysis in The Lancet demonstrated the significant weight loss effects of GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic compared to placebo.”

ozempic, rice-zempic, weight loss While brown rice can be a part of a healthy weight loss diet, there is no scientific evidence to suggest it can replicate the specific mechanisms of action of Ozempic (Source: Freepik)

Rice-Zempic vs. Ozempic: Evidence based comparison


Weight Loss Potential: “While high-fibre foods like brown rice can aid in weight loss due to their satiating effects, the evidence for Rice-Zempic’s effectiveness is primarily anecdotal. No clinical trials have specifically investigated its impact on weight loss or metabolic parameters,” says Dr. Vinutha.

Mechanism of Action: Rice, she says, primarily composed of carbohydrates, does not possess the same pharmacological properties as Ozempic. Its weight loss potential is primarily attributed to its fiber content and potential impact on satiety.


Clinical Evidence: Dr Vinutha highlights that Ozempic (semaglutide), a GLP-1 receptor agonist, has undergone rigorous clinical trials and is approved by regulatory agencies for weight management in conjunction with diet and exercise.

Mechanism of Action: She states, “Ozempic works by activating GLP-1 receptors, which increases insulin secretion, decreases glucagon secretion, slows gastric emptying, and reduces appetite. These mechanisms contribute to weight loss and improved glycemic control.”

Potential long-term consequences of replacing a medically prescribed treatment like Ozempic with a DIY alternative like Rice-Zempic

Dr Vinutha explains some of the potential consequences of replacing Ozempic with the experimental Rice-Zempic:

Nutritional Deficiencies: Long-term reliance on rice as a primary food source can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. These deficiencies can have serious consequences, including muscle wasting, anemia, impaired immune function, and neurological problems.

Ineffectiveness: Unlike Ozempic, Rice-Zempic does not target the underlying hormonal and metabolic dysregulation contributing to obesity and diabetes. Individuals may experience limited or no weight loss, and their metabolic health may continue to deteriorate.

Medical Oversight: Replacing a prescribed medication like Ozempic with an unproven alternative like Rice-Zempic can result in inadequate management of chronic conditions. Regular medical supervision is crucial for monitoring medication effectiveness, adjusting dosages, and addressing potential side effects or complications.