What is rice syrup solids?

Rice syrup solids are a sweetener and binder used in many processed foods and baked goods. They are derived from rice starch and provide a sweet taste, help bind ingredients together, and act as a thickener. Rice syrup solids are often used as an alternative to high fructose corn syrup or other sugar syrups.

Some key facts about rice syrup solids:

  • Made by breaking down rice starch into glucose molecules
  • Contains three sugars: maltotriose, maltose, and glucose
  • Provides 45 calories per tablespoon
  • Has a glycemic index of 98, so it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream
  • Is about half as sweet as table sugar
  • Helps foods retain moisture and extend shelf life

Rice syrup solids are popular in cereals, crackers, granola bars, and other snacks. They provide a sweet flavor and chewy texture in baked goods like cookies, muffins, and cakes. Compared to liquid sweeteners like corn syrup, rice syrup solids are easier to work with and won’t make foods soggy.

Some consumers prefer rice syrup solids because they are plant-based, gluten-free, and vegan. However, rice syrup solids are still a refined and processed sweetener high in carbohydrates and calories. They have a high glycemic index, meaning they cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. People with diabetes or who are watching their sugar intake need to be mindful of portion sizes when consuming products made with rice syrup solids.

How Are Rice Syrup Solids Made?

Rice syrup solids go through an extensive manufacturing process to convert rice starch into a sweet, thick syrup. Here are the key steps:

  1. Rice starch is extracted from milled white rice grain.
  2. The rice starch is cooked in water until it gelatinizes and becomes a viscous suspension.
  3. Enzymes like alpha-amylase are added to break down the rice starch into smaller glucose molecules.
  4. The mixture is heated again to stop the enzyme activity.
  5. Filtration is used to remove protein and fibers, resulting in a purified liquid starch hydrolysate.
  6. The liquid is concentrated by evaporation until a thick syrup consistency is achieved.
  7. The final syrup contains about 20% solids and 80% water.
  8. Further evaporation removes moisture to produce a solid product.
  9. Drying and grinding yields a dry, powdered rice syrup solid.

The entire process helps transform hard, inedible rice starch into a sweet, smooth syrup that can enhance the flavor and texture of foods. Enzymatic breakdown of the rice starch is key to creating the glucose molecules that give rice syrup solids their sweet taste and adhesive properties.

Types of Rice Syrup Solids

There are a few varieties of rice syrup solids that provide slightly different characteristics:

Maltogenic rice syrup solids – Made by breaking down rice starch with enzymes from barley malt. This type is maltose-rich.

Brown rice syrup solids – Derived from whole grain brown rice instead of refined white rice. Contains more protein, fat, and fiber than white rice syrup solids. Often promoted as a “healthier” option.

Organic rice syrup solids – Made from organic rice starch and processed without synthetic enzymes or chemicals. Appeals to consumers looking for organic, non-GMO ingredients.

Resistant rice syrup solids – Made using a special heat-moisture treatment that makes some starch content indigestible and resistant to absorption in the small intestine. This type has a lower glycemic impact.

The different types provide varying nutritional profiles and functional qualities for use in foods. Manufacturers select the specific rice syrup solid to achieve the desired flavor, texture, shelf life, and health marketing claims for their products.

Nutrition Facts

Rice syrup solids are primarily composed of carbohydrates with small amounts of fat and protein. Here are the nutrition facts for a 100g serving of rice syrup solids:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 381
Carbohydrates 94g
Sugars 0.7g
Fat 0.3g
Protein 0.4g
Maltotriose 45.8g
Maltose 26.4g
Glucose 21.5g

Key points about the nutrition profile:

  • Very high in carbohydrates, mostly in the form of glucose molecules from broken down rice starch.
  • Provides significant calories, nearly 100 per tablespoon.
  • Low in overall sugars due to starch hydrolysis.
  • Minimal amounts of protein and fat.
  • Higher maltose content makes maltogenic rice syrup solids taste sweeter since maltose is about 30-50% sweeter than glucose.

The high carbohydrate content and caloric density make rice syrup solids more of an added or refined sugar rather than a whole food. However, rice syrup solids can provide sweetness with different functional qualities compared to table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Glycemic Index

Rice syrup solids have a very high glycemic index of 98. This means they cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and insulin levels after consumption.

For comparison, white table sugar has a glycemic index of 65 while pure glucose has a glycemic index of 100. So rice syrup solids cause an almost immediate spike in blood sugar that is faster than table sugar and nearly as quick as pure glucose.

The high maltose and maltotriose content of rice syrup solids influences its glycemic impact. These glucose chains are quickly broken down by digestive enzymes, releasing glucose molecules that get rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Some specially processed resistant rice syrup solids may have a lower glycemic index around 50-60. But regular rice syrup solids result in fast carbohydrate digestion and should be consumed in moderation by people with diabetes or metabolic concerns. The glycemic spike can be slowed down by pairing rice syrup solids with protein, fat, or fiber.

Uses in Food

Rice syrup solids are valued in the food industry for their ability to act as a sweetener, humectant, and binding agent. Here are some common uses:

Baked goods – Adds moisture, sweetness, and texture in products like granola bars, cookies, cakes, muffins, and cereals. Helps create a chewy mouthfeel.

Candy and chocolate – Used as a sweetener and viscosity modifier. Provides a smooth, non-crystallizing sweetness.

Snacks – Contributes binding, sweetness, and humectancy in rice crispy treats, snack bars, popcorn, and flavored nuts.

Frozen desserts – Acts as a stabilizer and freezing point depressant. Slows ice crystal formation in ice cream, popsicles, and frozen yogurt.

Sauces and syrups – Used to adjust sweetness, act as a thickener, and prevent sugar crystallization.

Fruit fillings and jams – Extends shelf life and prevents water migration in products with fruit.

Nutritional bars and meal replacements – Provides a sweet taste and improved texture in bars, powders, and ready-to-drink shakes.

Rice syrup solids work well in combination with other sweeteners like sugar or high fructose corn syrup. They can enhance sweetness while also improving moisture retention and shelf life. The bland flavor allows rice syrup solids to be used in many applications without impacting overall taste.


Here are some of the main benefits that make rice syrup solids an attractive ingredient for food manufacturers:

Sweetness – Rice syrup solids contain glucose chains that provide a sweet, pleasing taste. They are about half as sweet as sucrose.

Humectancy – Absorbs and retains moisture well to give foods a soft, chewy texture. This also helps prevent staling.

Extends shelf life – Helps reduce water activity in foods to protect against microbial growth and maintain freshness.

Heat stability – Won’t caramelize or burn during processing at high temperatures like some sugar syrups.

Texture enhancement – Provides a smooth, short bite and chew. Improves overall mouthfeel.

Freeze/thaw stability – Minimizes water migration and damage to food structure during freezing cycles.

Gluten free and vegan – Suitable for products marketed to customers with dietary restrictions.

Clean flavor – Rice syrup solids have a relatively neutral taste compared to other sweeteners.

Food manufacturers can leverage these functional benefits during production to create better-tasting, higher quality products with an extended shelf life. The multifunctional properties make rice syrup solids useful in a wide variety of applications.

Downsides and Controversies

While rice syrup solids provide functionality in processed foods, there are some downsides and controversies to consider:

High glycemic impact – The nearly instant spike in blood sugar after consumption makes rice syrup solids unsuitable for people monitoring their glycemic response.

High calorie – With nearly 4 calories per gram, rice syrup solids are easy to over-consume, leading to excess calorie intake.

Tooth decay risk – The high maltose content can increase the risk of cavities, similar to other added sugars.

Lack of nutrients – Rice syrup solids provide calories without any beneficial vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants.

Not whole food – Highly processed and stripped of the nutrients contained in whole rice grains.

GMO concerns – Most rice syrup solids are made from common GMO crops like corn and soy unless sourced organic.

“Natural” marketing – Some consumers feel the “evaporated cane juice” and “rice syrup solids” labeling misleads about the refined, processed nature of the ingredients.

While rice syrup solids can improve the quality of some foods, there are concerns about overconsumption given the lack of nutrition. Some health experts recommend limiting added sugars including rice syrup solids in the diet. Consumers need to be aware of how rice syrup solids impact a food’s nutrition profile.

Allergy Concerns

Rice syrup solids are generally considered hypoallergenic and safe for people with food allergies. Since they are derived from rice starch, rice syrup solids do not contain major allergens like wheat, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, or soy.

However, rice syrup solids are often processed in facilities that also handle common allergens like corn, soy, and wheat. Cross-contamination is possible through shared equipment. People with severe allergies need to carefully read labels and contact manufacturers to confirm the allergen status of specific brands.

In rare cases, rice itself can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. People allergic to rice should avoid rice syrup solids. Also, enzymes derived from wheat or corn could trigger reactions in people with gluten intolerance or corn allergies. Again, transparent labeling from manufacturers is important to inform consumers about potential allergen risks.


Rice production requires extensive amounts of water, fertilizers, and energy inputs. Flooding rice paddies releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. There are concerns about the sustainability of standard agricultural practices used to grow the rice that becomes a raw material for rice syrup solids.

However, rice syrup solids manufacturers point to improvements such as sourcing rice from farmers using water-efficient irrigation methods and capturing methane emissions from rice paddies. Some companies are collaborating with farmers to implement regenerative agriculture practices that build healthy soil, reduce synthetic inputs, and increase biodiversity. Purchasing rice syrup solids made from organic or sustainability-sourced rice can help reduce environmental impacts. More transparency around responsible rice sourcing is needed overall in the industry.

Future Outlook

Rice syrup solids are expected to continue growing in popularity as a sweetener and functional additive in processed foods. The global rice syrup solids market size was valued at $2.1 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $3.7 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period according to Emergen Research.

Key trends driving growth include:

  • Demand for sweeteners with mild flavor and multifunctional properties
  • Consumer preference shifting away from high fructose corn syrup
  • Increasing use in cereal, snack, nutrition bar, and confectionery products
  • Rising interest in plant-based, non-GMO, and allergen-free ingredients
  • Advancements in enzyme technology improving efficiency and yields
  • New product development focused on low glycemic response syrup solids

While rice syrup solids face some criticism from health experts, they provide important functional qualities that continue to make them attractive to food manufacturers and product developers. Addressing sustainability concerns in the rice supply chain and improving processing methods to maintain Nutritional value from whole rice grains could lead to more nutritious, eco-friendly rice syrup solids in the future.


Rice syrup solids play an important role in creating tasty, appealing, shelf-stable processed foods. Breaking down rice starch into glucose molecules yields a versatile sweetener and binder used in many applications. However, rice syrup solids are still a refined added sugar with a high glycemic impact. Moderating intake and sourcing rice syrup solids sustainably can help consumers manage potential downsides. Manufacturers can also innovate through enzyme technologies and agricultural practices to develop rice syrup solids that retain more nutrition from whole rice and have a lower glycemic response. Ultimately, rice syrup solids are likely here to stay as a key functional ingredient due to their effectiveness in improving the quality and shelf life of processed foods.

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