Rice is a staple in millions, if not billions of people’s diets worldwide. Moreover, it’s a popular choice for bodybuilders and athletes alike due to its high carbohydrate content, digestive properties, and overall convenience.
Moreover, with the rise of vegan culture and many opting for a more holistic, animal-cruelty-free, dairy-free lifestyle, the demand for vegan protein powder is growing rapidly. One great source? Rice protein powder.
If you haven’t yet heard about it, don’t worry. It’s still on the rise and has yet to be established as a household choice like its competitor’s such as soy, pea, and hemp protein powder.
Nonetheless, rice protein powder is a nutritious, protein-packed option rich in essential amino acids and should be considered as a top vegan, dairy-free protein powder choice. In this article, we’re about to convince you why!
So, for vegans or vegetarians, have lactose intolerance or simply want a healthy alternative to the more common whey protein – Rice protein powder may be for you!
Let’s learn more about this unique variety of protein powder and its benefits, shall we?!
What is Rice Protein Powder?
As you might assume, rice protein powder is derived from rice. Who would have thought?! Though not a complete source of protein in isolation, when combined with a collagen or pea protein, rice protein powder is born.
White or Brown Rice Protein?
Rice protein powder comes in two forms, extracted from two types of rice; brown rice and white rice. While both are incredibly beneficial, the benefits of brown rice outweigh white rice, boasting 5 grams of protein per cup vs 4 grams of protein per cup.
Nevertheless, this source of protein powder is becoming more and more popular, and for a good reason. In what follows, we’ll learn of the various rice protein powder benefits it offers. First, however, how it’s made and how to use it!
How Rice Protein Powder is Made
While rice is traditionally thought of as a rich carbohydrate source, and it is, it’s also packed with protein. With over 4-5 grams of protein per cup, there’s no denying that it’s a quality protein source.
So, how’s it made?!
In short, rice protein powder, whether brown or white, is made by grounding up the rice into a powder-like form. Following this, an enzyme that extracts the carbohydrate (starch) from the protein is added. By isolating the protein, protein isolate is formed.
Lastly, rice protein powder is usually combined with pea protein powder or collagen to ensure a rich, all-encompassing essential amino acid profile is achieved.
The final product? High-quality rice protein powder!
How to Use Rice Protein Powder
Supplementing with rice protein powder is much the same as a typical protein shake. Simply combine 1-2 scoops in an 8-ounce glass of water and shake to mix! This supplement can be consumed as an alternative to breakfast, a mid-day snack, or a post-workout shake.
It can even be used for cooking and baking!
Rice Protein Powder Benefits
The benefits of rice protein powder supplementation are vast. While it offers the obvious benefits that most other protein powders (i.e. building muscle mass, weight loss, recovery, etc.), rice protein powder also provides unique benefits not offered by other sources.
Below is a list of health and fitness benefits of supplementing with rice protein powder. In what follows, we will go into detail about each one:
• Completely Vegetarian/Vegan
• Easily Digestible & Quickly Absorbable
• Aids in Muscle Growth & Repair
• Boosts performance
• Improves Health Markers (i.e. regulates blood sugar, etc.)
• Rich in Essential Amino Acids
• Promotes Weight Loss
As you can see, rice protein powder doesn’t fall short in its advantages, especially if you’re a vegan or vegetarian! Even if you aren’t, there can be an argument that rice protein powder is superior to whey protein powder in certain circumstances.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each benefit, shall we?!
Many of the most popular protein supplements such as whey contain allergens and additives disadvantageous to a particular population’s health. While many are allergic to things like dairy and lactose, very few are allergic to brown or white rice.
So, if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic, vegan option, rice protein may be the choice for you.
It's 100% Vegan
As mentioned above, rice protein is, for obvious reasons, not an animal-derived food source. As such, it contains no dairy, lactose, or meat (obviously…). If you’re a vegan or vegetarian for any reason, whether for health, moral, or sustainability purposes, rice protein is a top-tier choice.
It's Easily Digestible and Absorbable
While options like whey are known to cause bloating, indigestion, and gas, among other issues, rice protein powder is largely the opposite. Being highly absorbable and easily digestible, it’s an excellent option for those that have experienced these issues in the past.
Easy on the stomach, hard on the gains!
It Helps to Repair & Build Muscle Mass
As all protein powders do, rice too aids in muscle building and repair. With the right amino acids, a proper amount of protein, and an abundance of nutrients, one can optimize their muscle-building goals. Luckily rice protein powder checks all of the boxes.
It Promotes Weight Loss
Again, as many other protein sources do, rice protein powder assists in weight loss and fat burning. How? In short, protein is quite satiating. In other words, it fills you up quickly. As a result, those who eat a sufficient amount of protein daily tend not to eat as much.
For obvious reasons, this can result in weight loss and fat loss.
It Boosts Performance
Again, while this benefit isn’t particularly unique to rice protein powder, boosting performance is a common advantage of supplementing and getting enough protein intake. Why? In short, by improving recovery, you improve performance. In addition, protein is a building block of muscle. Stronger and bigger muscles tend to result in better performance as well.
It Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Proteins are a critical macronutrient known to aid in insulin regulation, ultimately reducing extreme blood sugar spikes and crashes. By supplementing with rice protein, or any protein for that matter, you inherently slow digestion of carbs (glucose), and thus allow your body to properly process foods that would otherwise result in exhaustion and mental fog.
It's Rich in Amino Acids
While rice protein doesn’t contain every amino acid in its entirety, it does contain high amounts of the nine essential amino acids. In addition, and as mentioned in the preface of this article, when rice protein powder is made, it’s typically mixed with pea protein or collagen to account for the missing amino acids.
Nonetheless, rice protein powder is an incredible source of amino acids and is an excellent addition to any diet or supplement regimen.
Rice Protein Powder vs Whey Protein Powder
You may be wondering why we’re comparing rice protein powder to whey protein powder. Not only is one vegan and the other isn’t, but one is less popular while the other is the most popular.
An unfair comparison, don’t you think? You may be surprised!
Rice protein powders, though less popular, is highly comparable to its counterparts. For starters, rice protein powder is hypoallergenic; an extremely competitive selling point. Whey proteins, on the other hand, aren’t.
Secondly, rice protein powder is much more digestible and absorbable than whey protein powder. You may be surprised, but besides the ever-common muscle building and recovery benefits, many who supplement with powdered proteins seek out this benefit. In this case, rice protein powders take the cake.
Thirdly, while whey protein is undoubtedly superior in many ways, it fails to provide a solution for a large population. That population? Vegans and vegetarians. Luckily, rice protein powder does! A huge selling point, both from a health standpoint and from a marketing standpoint.
Lastly, the two are both excellent sources of essential amino acids. While whey protein is a complete source of protein, rice protein is also rich in its contents. Moreover, when mixed with pea protein or collagen, the difference in the amino acid profile is negligible.
Who would have thought that a carbohydrate-dense food could compete against a complete protein source like whey?! A round of applause for rice protein powder!
Rice Protein Powder vs Pea Protein Powder
When comparing plant-based protein sources, many find it challenging to decipher the better choice, especially when comparing rice protein with pea proteins. While they both come with their own advantages and disadvantages, each is a great option, both in isolation or in combination.
The good news is that you don’t have to choose! As we’ve learned in this article, rice protein powders are made with pea protein powder. Whether you consume them separately or together truly makes no difference. The result remains the same: Receiving a great source of plant protein.
Downsides of Rice Protein Powder
Like all protein supplements, rice protein powder doesn’t come without its downsides and disadvantages. Sure, it’s allergen-free, cruelty-free, eco-friendly, plant-based, and comes with a whole host of benefits ranging from blood sugar regulation to optimal digestion. However, rice protein powder isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. No protein source truly is…
While rice protein powder is largely allergen-free, a small population may experience intolerance or sensitivity to its contents. Moreover, because rice protein powder is typically made in combination with pea proteins or collagen, consumers must be aware of the contents of those sources as well.
While misleading is an overstatement, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. In any case, if these factors are of concern, consider consulting with your general practitioner before ingestion.
In addition, the contents of rice protein powder as a result of the additive, pea protein, tend to be higher in sodium than a typical protein supplement. As such, if you’re health compromised in any way, or you’re simply following a strict, sodium-free diet, you may want to stay away from rice protein powder.
Lastly, it’s important to understand the distinction when deciding between brown rice protein powder and white rice protein powder. While both are excellent sources of protein, generally speaking, especially if you purchase it from a reputable company, brown rice protein powder has the potential of containing heavy metals and contaminants from toxic fertilizers and pollution.
With all of that being said, as long you do your due diligence and invest in a reputable brand, there should be zero concern. Rice protein powder is an excellent complete protein alternative option and should be treated as such.
When searching for a protein powdered supplement that suits your needs, it’s essential to consider the entire scope of your demands. At the end of the day, choosing a product that works for you comes down to your preferences, dietary needs, budget, goals and objectives, and availability.
Only you can make that decision…
With so many alternative sources becoming available and with the vegan plant-based lifestyle becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society, there’s no doubt that rice protein powder will become a household name in the dietary supplement industry in time.
The benefits of rice protein powder are abundant, and the downsides are few. If your aim is to live a cruelty-free, eco-friendly, healthy, and fit lifestyle, rice protein powder is a superior option.
Nevertheless, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to one’s diet, health and lifestyle. Whey protein is an incredible source of protein for many reasons, as is casein, pea, hemp, soy and rice, among others.
If you’re still unsure what to choose, it never hurts to try! Who knows, it may just become your first choice of protein powder!