Rice Protein versus Whey Protein

By: Adrian Cruce

There are plenty of protein supplements available in the market today. The one you choose will depend on your budget, diet, lifestyle and food allergies. Two of the most commonly used protein supplements are whey protein and rice protein. Both are possible options for increasing protein levels; however each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Whey Protein

whey protein

Where does it come from?

Whey protein is a dairy-based product that is derived from milk. It is available in three forms: whey protein concentrate (WPC), Whey Protein isolate (WPI) and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH).

Whey Protein Concentrate-WPC has low levels of carbohydrates and fat. The amount of protein depends on its concentration. Typically, the concentration of protein varies from 30 to 90 percent.

Whey Protein Isolate-WPI is processed one step further in order to completely remove all lactose and fat, making the concentration of protein 90%.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate-WPH is a pre-digested form of whey. Hydrolysis enables the body to absorb more efficiently and quickly. As a result it does not require as much effort to digest, compared to the previous two forms of whey.

Nutrition Stats

A single serving of whey protein isolate (25-30 grams) contains 109 calories, just over 1 gram of carbohydrates, zero fat and 26 grams of protein.

Rice Protein

Rice protein

This is vegetarian protein isolate. Normal white rice has a protein concentration of just 5 to 7%. To obtain concentrated rice protein, brown rice needs to be ground into flour and then mixed in with water. Natural enzymes are gradually added to help with the break down and separation of fibers and carbohydrates from the protein. The entire process is enzyme based, therefore temperature are kept low in order to preserve enzyme activity levels. Chemical free processing is also implemented in order to prevent denaturing of amino acids. The end product is rice protein which is 80 to 90% pure and is easily digested. Sometimes, rice protein is mixed with pea-protein powder. This is because rice protein is low in the amino acid lysine. Adding pea protein creates a more complete amino acid profile that is similar to egg proteins and dairy. Rice protein also has the benefit of causing fewer allergies and intestinal issues.

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Where does it come from?

Typically, rice protein is sourced from brown rice that is organically grown. This ensures that the amino acid value of the rice protein remains intact.

Nutrition Stats

One serving of rice protein contains 117 calories, less than 2 grams of carbohydrates, nearly zero percent fat and 27 grams of protein.

Which one is better for you?

The answer lies in your diet and lifestyle. If you follow a plant-based diet, then rice protein is your best choice. However, since rice protein does not contain all the required amino acids, you may need to combine it with another vegetarian source such as hemp or soy powder.

If you are able to tolerate dairy, then whey protein is your best option because it is a complete protein.