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Rice protein is one of the foods that could only be obtained in its present form through the development of new technologies. It is extracted from the whole rice grain and, with its average protein content of 80% and good amino acid pattern, is a very excellent source of protein. At the same time, it is vegan and particularly easy to digest (2). Besides being a supplement in everyday life, it can be used especially in sports to absorb the required amounts of protein for muscle growth. But what exactly distinguishes rice protein and possible alternatives? In the following guide, we will not only discuss rice protein in detail, but also answer these questions (3).

Our big test for rice protein 2021 gives you an overview of the various properties of rice protein. The most important features are the price and the ingredients.




The most important facts

  • Rice protein is free of animal components and therefore ideally suited for vegans and people with a lactose intolerance.
  • With approx. 80 % protein, rice protein has the same value as animal whey protein.
  • The amino acid pattern of rice protein can be optimised in combination with other vegetable protein sources.

The Best Rice Protein: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying rice protein

What is rice protein?

Rice is the seed of the rice plant. It is one of the most important foods on earth and is mainly grown and eaten in Asia. There it is often the basis for traditional dishes. Even though the main component of rice grains is starch, the whole grain also contains proteins and vitamins.

Reisprotein-1

Rice cultivation has a very long tradition in many Asian countries and is sometimes still done by hand and with oxen.
(unsplash.com / "Simon Fanger")

The ingredients contained, for example starch and protein, serve as a source of energy for the seed during the germination process until the plant has developed sufficiently to carry out photosynthesis on its own and to absorb water and nutrients through the root (1).

Rice protein is used as a supporting protein source as a food supplement. In this area, it offers the main advantage of being free of animal products. This is especially interesting for people living vegan and those with lactose intolerance. It is also easily digestible.

What is rice protein isolate?

On seller websites, rice protein is usually only offered in the form of rice protein isolate and called rice protein. For this reason, the actually correct term rice protein isolate is replaced by the word rice protein in our guide. Rice protein has a protein content of around 50 % and rice protein isolate around 80 %.

Rice protein isolate is made from rice flour by means of various enzymes. The enzymes used are α-amylases followed by glucoamylases. Thanks to this process, the increased protein content is obtained, which significantly facilitates the absorption of sufficient amounts of protein through rice protein (2).

How does rice protein work?

Protein is an essential part of our diet. For an adult, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended. This amount is sufficient to meet the protein needs of most healthy people.

For endurance and strength athletes, the protein requirement increases to 1.2 to 2.0 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Protein is needed above all to build muscle. Reaching these values is therefore of great importance in order to achieve training progress as quickly as possible (3).

Since muscles are largely made up of proteins, a sufficient protein intake is required for the growth of this tissue. Rice protein is a very good source of protein because it has a favourable amino acid profile and therefore high bioavailability (2).

How much rice protein should be consumed?

The 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for normal people and 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for people who exercise are the basis for calculating the individual amount to be taken in.

Fitness apps can be used to measure the amount of protein consumed through normal food. Rice protein usually has a protein content of around 80 % (4). From the difference between the amount of protein already consumed, one's own needs and the protein content of rice protein, the required amount can be calculated (5).

What does rice protein cost?

Rice protein prices vary depending on the manufacturer and pack size. As a rule, prices range between €17 and €25 per kilogram. The dependence on the brand chosen is shown in the following table. The most expensive product is not organic compared to the other two.

Brand Production Price
Nurafit Organic 17 €
Erdschwalbe Organic 20 €
ZEC Conventional 25 €

There are also protein powders that are composed of various vegetable proteins. For example, rice, soy, pea, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seed protein. For such products, you also have to pay significantly higher prices of up to 50 € per kilogram.

Where can you buy rice protein?

Even though society is placing more and more emphasis on a balanced, partly vegan diet and sports, you can only buy rice protein in a few shops. These are, for example, health food shops and shops specially designed for athletes, which sell a wide variety of dietary supplements.

If you live in a village or would like to have a larger selection, it is advisable to order on the internet. Here we would like to recommend Amazon in particular. Customer reviews and the large selection can be used to find a suitable product. Furthermore, there is a 30-day return option.

What alternatives are there to rice protein?

Probably the best-known protein source among dietary supplements is whey protein. It has a protein content of around 80 % and can be described as the classic food supplement for protein intake (3).

The major disadvantage of Whey is that it is an animal product and contains lactose.

This makes it uninteresting for people with lactose intolerance and vegan diets. In terms of price, the conventional variants range between €15 and €25 and are very similar to rice protein. Organic quality, however, is priced between 25 and 40 €. As shown in the following picture, it is usually dissolved in shakers with a liquid and drunk.

Another alternative to a pure rice protein intake is pea protein. A combination of rice and pea protein leads to a further increase in the bioavailability of the nutrients it contains and complements each other perfectly (6, 7).

Decision: What types of rice protein are there and which one is right for you?

The following section presents the most important types of rice protein. The individual product characteristics and areas of application will be discussed in detail. The best-known types are:

  • Pure rice protein
  • Rice protein blends

What distinguishes pure rice protein and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pure rice protein is characterised by the fact that the protein it contains has only been obtained from rice. Starting with pure rice protein, you can either make your own mixtures with other food supplements, such as pea protein, or consume the rice protein alone (6).

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to digest
  • Mostly organic quality
  • Vegan
Disadvantages
  • Incomplete amino acid profile
  • Possibly taste
  • Possibly consistency

What distinguishes a rice protein blend and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Supplementing the positive properties of rice protein can be done quite conveniently by buying a ready-made blend. Rice protein blends are mainly characterised by an extended amino acid profile. Since they complement each other very well, rice protein is often mixed with pea protein. Other possible types are pumpkin seed, chia, sunflower and hemp proteins (6, 7).

Advantages
  • Adaptable amino acid profile
  • Easily digestible
  • Mostly organic quality
  • Possibly better taste
Disadvantages
  • Higher price
  • Possibly taste
  • Possibly consistency

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate rice proteins

In the following paragraph we would like to present you with the most important buying criteria for rice protein. You can use these criteria to compare and evaluate rice protein yourself. These are:

Price

As with any product, the price of rice protein plays an important role in the purchase decision. With rice proteins, no direct conclusion can be drawn between the price and the quality. Often, the brand name plays a major role in the pricing.

In order to consume an optimal protein powder with rice protein content, a mixture should be used. You can either make your own mixture or buy a ready-made one. Making your own is up to half the price, but also means more work.

If you buy larger quantities, you can get a significant discount. For example, the price per kilogram can be 17 € if you buy one kilo and 11 € if you buy three kilos. However, it is important to note that you should only buy such quantities when you know that you want to use the product in the long term and have sufficient storage space.

Production method

With rice protein, it is advisable to buy a variant with organic quality. For the simple reason that there are no price advantages to be found in conventionally produced rice protein. Conventional agriculture uses chemical pesticides, which remain in rice protein in traces (8). It is difficult to imagine the effects of conventional agriculture. An impression of the immense amounts of pesticides used worldwide can be conveyed by the following picture.

Country of origin

The country of origin is important if it is important to strengthen the country's economy and secure jobs. The quality standards and controls in Germany are also at a very high level.

The type of country of origin can also be very well combined with the idea of sustainability. This way, the transport routes and the associated pollutant emissions can be kept as low as possible (9).

Ingredients

Generally speaking, the list of ingredients should be kept as short as possible. Other labels such as vegan and gluten-free also indicate that no unnecessary ingredients have been added.

There may also be harmless ingredients.

This is the case, for example, with naturally occurring flavour carriers, which are supposed to provide a better taste. These can be natural flavours and cocoa. Xanthan gum is also sometimes contained. This is a natural stabiliser that can be consumed without hesitation.

The most important characteristic for the effectiveness of rice protein is the amino acid profile. The more the essential amino acids are represented, the better the quality. The protein content also plays a decisive role and should be at least 80 % (3, 6).

Taste

The best physiological effects of a food supplement can only bear fruit if it is consumed. If it has an unpleasant taste, it is almost impossible that it will be taken over a long period of time.

The taste of rice protein is usually described as neutral to mildly nutty. However, since taste is a very subjective thing, there are also people who have found rice protein to taste less good.

To counteract this, rice proteins are available in different flavours. This ensures that there is a suitable flavour for everyone and that everyone can benefit from rice protein.

Facts worth knowing about rice protein

How exactly is protein used to build muscle?

Muscle growth can only occur when muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown, i.e. there is a positive muscle protein balance. If the muscle protein balance is negative, this is called catabolic. A stimulus for growth is sent to the muscle by an exercise, especially sport.

Between 24 and 48 hours elapse between the response of muscle protein metabolism to exercise.

To enable unrestricted muscle growth, sufficient nutrients must be supplied through the diet during this time. The availability of amino acids is an important regulator of muscle protein metabolism.

Optimising the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis can be achieved by combining training with increased amino acid availability. Insulin and testosterone act as regulators of muscle protein synthesis.

A combination of small amounts of amino acids with carbohydrates can lead to a temporary stimulation of the anabolism of muscle proteins. A major influence on these complex processes is exerted by a balanced diet and an adequate protein supply (10).

Image source: Scardigno/ 123rf.com

References (10)

1. LUTHE, D. S. Analysis of storage of proteins in rice seeds. In: Seed Analysis. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 1992. S. 159-179.
Source

2. SHIH, Frederick F.; DAIGLE, Kim W. Preparation and characterization of rice protein isolates. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 2000, 77. Jg., Nr. 8, S. 885-889.
Source

3. PRAKASH, Jamuna; RAMASWAMY, H. S. Rice bran proteins: properties and food uses. Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition, 1996, 36. Jg., Nr. 6, S. 537-552.
Source

4. JOY, Jordan M. The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutrition journal, 2013, 12. Jg., Nr. 1, S. 86.
Source

5. GIEßING, Jürgen. HIT-Fitness: HochIntensitätsTraining-maximaler Muskelaufbau in kürzester Zeit. FinanzBuch Verlag, 2010.
Source

6. HAN, Sung-Wook; CHEE, Kyu-Man; CHO, Seong-Jun. Nutritional quality of rice bran protein in comparison to animal and vegetable protein. Food chemistry, 2015, 172. Jg., S. 766-769.
Source

7. KALMAN, Douglas. Amino acid composition of an organic brown rice protein concentrate and isolate compared to soy and whey concentrates and isolates. Foods, 2014, 3. Jg., Nr. 3, S. 394-402.
Source

8. NAIK, S. N., et al. Pesticide residue in organic and conventional food-risk analysis. Journal of Chemical Health and Safety, 2006, 13. Jg., Nr. 6, S. 12-19.
Source

9. WEISS, Walpurga. Regionalität und regionale Lebensmittel. In: Ernährungsalltag im Wandel. Springer, Vienna, 2007. S. 187-197.
Source

10. TIPTON, Kevin; WOLFE, Robert R. Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 2001, 11. Jg., Nr. 1, S. 109-132.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Analysis of storage of proteins in rice seeds
LUTHE, D. S. Analysis of storage of proteins in rice seeds. In: Seed Analysis. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 1992. S. 159-179.
Go to source
Preparation and characterization of rice protein isolates
SHIH, Frederick F.; DAIGLE, Kim W. Preparation and characterization of rice protein isolates. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 2000, 77. Jg., Nr. 8, S. 885-889.
Go to source
Rice bran proteins: properties and food uses
PRAKASH, Jamuna; RAMASWAMY, H. S. Rice bran proteins: properties and food uses. Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition, 1996, 36. Jg., Nr. 6, S. 537-552.
Go to source
The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance
JOY, Jordan M. The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutrition journal, 2013, 12. Jg., Nr. 1, S. 86.
Go to source
HIT-Fitness: HochIntensitätsTraining - maximaler Muskelaufbau in kürzester Zeit
GIEßING, Jürgen. HIT-Fitness: HochIntensitätsTraining-maximaler Muskelaufbau in kürzester Zeit. FinanzBuch Verlag, 2010.
Go to source
Nutritional quality of rice bran protein in comparison to animal and vegetable protein
HAN, Sung-Wook; CHEE, Kyu-Man; CHO, Seong-Jun. Nutritional quality of rice bran protein in comparison to animal and vegetable protein. Food chemistry, 2015, 172. Jg., S. 766-769.
Go to source
Amino acid composition of an organic brown rice protein concentrate and isolate compared to soy and whey concentrates and isolates
KALMAN, Douglas. Amino acid composition of an organic brown rice protein concentrate and isolate compared to soy and whey concentrates and isolates. Foods, 2014, 3. Jg., Nr. 3, S. 394-402.
Go to source
Pesticide residue in organic and conventional food-risk analysis
NAIK, S. N., et al. Pesticide residue in organic and conventional food-risk analysis. Journal of Chemical Health and Safety, 2006, 13. Jg., Nr. 6, S. 12-19.
Go to source
Regionalität und regionale Lebensmittel
WEISS, Walpurga. Regionalität und regionale Lebensmittel. In: Ernährungsalltag im Wandel. Springer, Vienna, 2007. S. 187-197.
Go to source
Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth
TIPTON, Kevin; WOLFE, Robert R. Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 2001, 11. Jg., Nr. 1, S. 109-132.
Go to source
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