The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.


The Healthiest Sweetener: Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is a commonly used ingredient in the macrobiotic community, but as this article attests, people from all walks of life are starting to discover it. If I need a sweetner, brown rice syrup is my always my first choice. It is still a sweetner so it’s not a health food and you shouldn’t go out of your way to eat it, but when you need a sweetner, it’s the best choice.

Brown rice syrup raises your blood sugar, but doesn’t make you crash the way other sweeteners do. Because it’s a complex carb, it delivers a more mellow taste that still satisfies your sweet tooth. Every other sweetner, except maybe stevia, makes me feel like I’m jacked up. My heart pounds, my head hurts, and then I crash… it tastes great, but then I feel terrible. Brown rice syrup is nice to me and doesn’t do that and I am very grateful. Check out page 68 ofThe Kind Diet for more info about how brown rice syrup is made.

I love to make a sweet kuzu drink with brown rice syrup and Bear loves it too. It’s very relaxing and has a subtle sweet taste. If I’m feeling frisky and am craving something wild, this sweet kuzu drink satisfies my sweet craving and takes the edge off so I don’t need a full-on dessert.

Hot Sweet Kuzu Drink:


1 tsp kuzu
1-2 tsp brown rice syrup


In a cup, add about 2 Tbsp of water to the kuzu and stir it until it dissolves. Add water to this mix to fill the cup, about 1 cup of water or a mug-full. Pour into a small pot and heat on medium, stirring constantly, until the liquid becomes translucent. Add the brown rice syrup and continue stirring until it dissolves. Pour back into your mug and then drink it hot.

Here are some other ways I like to enjoy brown rice syrup:

  • In my Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips (page 184 in The Kind Diet)
  • In the topping for my Peach Crumble (page 194 in The Kind Diet)
  • In my Mom’s Granola recipe (page 201 in The Kind Diet). This is a seriously yum dessert!
  • In my Mochi Waffles and Pan-Fried Mochi – this is one of my favorite superhero snacks! It’s also a great breakfast option, especially for kids, athletes, breastfeeding mamas, and pregnant ladies. Plus, it’ssupertasty!
  • In my Candied Ginger Pears and my Plum Soup (page 280 in The Kind Diet) – both delicious superhero desserts.

How do you like to use brown rice syrup?

Share your favorite recipes in the comments!


  • Krystel Seier

    I LOVE brown rice syrup! I use it anytime in cooking that sugar is called for, salad dressing, vegan Italian sauces, stir fry, and I have tried substitutions in some baking as well. So far, so good!!!! It is one of my very favorite Alicia tricks from The Kind Life! I have made your Brown Rice Krispies and they are truly amazing (they saved my newly vegan life when I first started out three months ago)! Mochi waffles are my sweet indulgence at least once a week (the cinnamon raisin mochi is a MUST for Fall!!) and it smacks down any idea I may have had about ‘cheating’ on my old lifestyle eating. Brown rice syrup, you are amazing!

  • Nb

    Brown rice syrup has been shown to contain very high levels of arsenic. Take a look at the article in Discover Magazine October 2013

  • Pamela

    I love BRS for the reasons your mentioned as well, but I recently read
    about some concerns with arsenic levels in brown rice and that it is
    more concentrated in the “cooked down” syrup. Something about water grown grains absorbing it naturally, especially in the bran. Dr.
    Michael Greger recommends American vs. Asian rice, due to lower tested
    levels, but it sounds like it may be concentrating in soil even more so
    with the use of chicken feather meal and manure used to fertilize
    both conventional and organic crops. If only all farming was “stock-free” organic. Anyone ever had their arsenic levels tested (I haven’t)?

    • laurieangel64 .

      The American product is no safer depending on the region it was grown in.esp if down south,ie,texas and Louisiana,and esp if the fields were previously used to grow cotton because it was commonly used or contained in the pestcides used on those stays in the soil.look up the original report,either abc or cbs a cpl yrs ago.the pediatrician on segment recommended not feeding children under five rice as they are more susceptible to the effects,unles u could verify where your rice was grown

  • Sue Hart

    I bought brown rice syrup after reading your book (which I loved, thank you!). However, I found it to be not nearly as sweet as agave. I only use it in coffee so far, but have gone back to agave since I have to use so much more brs. Judging from comments below, I’m missing something?

  • Amelia

    Suzanne’s Specialties removes the arsenic from their brown rice syrup. The arsenic issue is a concern and their syrup is highly recommended and used by the macrobiotic community. Also used by GoMacro in their MacroBars.

  • Jillian Leo-Donnelly

    Do you think dates are a good sweetener as well?

  • Evangelos Vlachakis

    best syrup is fig syrup. tastes like caramel and it is not high on the glycaamic index. the one we use is called “Cycadrop” and comes from the figrees of Lakonia in Greece