Examining the pros and cons of brown rice protein powder.
On the hunt for the prefect protein supplement? Depending on your diet, rice protein powder might be the right choice for you. Brown rice protein powder, which is derived from sprouted brown rice, is among the most popular protein supplements on the market, alongside whey protein (derived from milk) and soy protein (extracted from soybeans).
The Pros and Cons of Rice Protein Powder
For the most part, brown rice protein powder is an excellent and healthy protein supplement. There are a few drawbacks to rice protein powder, but these are easily addressed. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of rice protein powder.
Benefits of Rice Protein Powder
One of the main reasons people opt for rice protein powder is due to dietary restrictions. Plant-based rice protein is naturally dairy free and gluten free, making it an ideal choice for vegetarians, vegans and anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Research (such as this study in the Nutrition Journal) shows that brown rice protein is equally as effective as whey protein as a supplement for muscle protein synthesis. For many people, consuming whey protein can cause bloating and gas, and therefore rice protein provides an alternative that is less likely to create gastrointestinal distress.
Brown rice protein powder has many additional health benefits. Like other protein supplements, it can aid in weight loss and maintenance, and help avoid blood sugar spikes. It is packed with antioxidants and high in B-vitamins and fiber. Brown rice protein has even been shown to enhance liver, heart, and kidney function and help regulate cholesterol.
Drawbacks of Rice Protein Powder
On its own, rice protein powder does not provide all the essential amino acids that the body requires. It must be combined with another protein source to form a complete protein and deliver optimum nutritional benefits. Pea protein is a perfect nutritional complement to rice protein. Rice protein is low in lysine, yet high in other essential aminos, while the opposite is true of pea protein. When combined, pea and rice protein offer an amino acid profile that is comparable to whey protein.
While plant proteins are relatively easy to digest, their high fiber content can make them slower digesting than dairy or egg proteins. This can potentially limit the immediate effectiveness of rice protein powder as a post-exercise supplement. The addition of digestive enzymes to rice protein powder can help increase its rate of absorption.
Overall, for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free eaters, brown rice protein powder (when combined with pea protein or another plant-based protein) is one of the best protein supplements available. And for anyone seeking a high-quality protein supplement, brown rice protein powder offers numerous health benefits.