The Effects Of 8 Weeks Of Rice Protein Supplementation On Body Composition And Exercise Performance

Author: Nicole Adler  

Until very recently, most protein powder supplements that were sold, were based on whey protein. Whey protein is derived from dairy products and is therefore an animal protein. Most whey proteins provide a complete amino acid profile, which means that it includes all of the essential amino acids, in adequate amounts, needed in the body. But if there are reasons why you don’t want to use whey protein – for instance if you are a vegan, or your body has digestive issues with whey, then you need to look for alternatives. Let’s face it, there are plenty to choose from on the market, including pea, hemp, soy, and rice. But are they all equal?

The three top-selling protein powders are whey, soy and rice. Whey proteins are globular proteins derived as by-products of cheese production, soy proteins are derived from hulled and defatted soybeans, and rice proteins are extracted from sprouted brown rice. Experts still seem to be divided about soy proteins, and their possible issues with chemicals that may mimic the hormones in our bodies, but Rice Protein Powder is an increasingly popular option right now, as it seems it may be the healthiest of the plant-based proteins.

In addition, rice protein contains some other benefits over whey protein. The bran layer of the rice grain is the outer skin, which contains important antioxidants, B vitamins and fibre, which add to the great benefits of the protein source. Fibre is important for healthy digestion and often is not present at all in whey protein.

In previous studies, whey beat rice protein when used in smaller doses. However, in a recent study, published in Nutrition Journal, the researchers theorized that it was the amino acid leucine that made the difference. Leucine is a nutrient that supports muscle growth, and it has an upper and lower threshold. Below the right amount, which is thought to be about 1.7 grams, it doesn’t have its full effects. More leucine, even double that dose, has no further effect. Since most supplements have about 20 grams of protein per serving, and many studies are done with about that much, if you were to compare rice to whey, whey would win. But that would possibly only be because it would contain more than the above-mentioned leucine threshold at that quantity, while rice protein would have less. If taken in sufficient quantity, a rice protein contains all the same essential building blocks to fuel muscle recovery that whey protein does, and also has the added benefit of being dairy free and hypoallergenic.

The findings of the study, as published in the Nutrition Journal, were as follows: “The present results suggest that differences in protein composition are of less relevance when protein is consumed in high doses throughout periodised resistance training. Rice protein isolate consumption post resistance exercise decreases fat-mass and increases lean body mass, skeletal muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth), power and strength (i.e. improves exercise performance) in a comparable manner to whey protein isolate, when taken over an eight-week period.

There are benefits to both whey and rice proteins. The supplement you choose will depend on your goals, your budget, any food allergies and intolerances, as well as your dietary preferences. Rice Protein Powder is an easy way to supplement your daily intake of proteins and can easily be used in healthy shakes, smoothies and protein bars. Some people say it provides better results than whey protein in baking too, so try Rice Protein Powder in your next batch of healthy muffins, biscuits or even ice cream!

Some of the main benefits of taking Rice Protein Powder:

  1. Increases weight Loss: Recent research has suggested that brown rice protein includes peptides that reduce weight gain than those in soy protein;
  2. Reduces Glycaemic response: It may significantly reduce blood sugar spikes and help you to regulate your glucose levels;
  3. Improves Liver Function: a 2015 study found that brown rice prevented some oxidative stress on the liver;

It can also help to regulate cholesterol, is good for heart and kidney health, and is easy to digest, making it beneficial for people with gluten and lactose intolerances.

Rice Protein Isolate, available from Nutrients Direct, is a vegetable based protein which has an amino acid profile closest to mother’s milk. Being hypo-allergenic and dairy free, Rice Protein Isolate is the perfect choice for vegetarians, vegans and also those that wish to avoid dairy or soy proteins. Rice Protein Isolate is flavoured with only natural flavours and uses the highest grade of stevia as a natural sweetener to ensure a great tasting natural product. Available in Natural, Vanilla and Chocolate varieties, a 30g serving provides around 500 kJ (120 Cal), and approximately 24g of protein.

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