The Ultimate Rice Protein Powder Guide: Benefits, Nutrition & Side Effects

Last Updated 5th September 2019
Rice protein powder benefits

As the range of vegan protein powders increases and more of us than ever opt for cruelty-free alternatives, the likes of whey and casein are beginning to lose popularity and credibility.

One such alternative is rice protein powder. Never heard of it before? No problem – to be honest, not many people have! So, we’re here to tell all on this nutritionally superior, all-natural, totally vegan protein powder.

As rice covers 11% of the world’s arable land, this protein option is certainly readily available and is also completely plant-based. Additionally, rice protein’s amino acid profile balances perfectly with another vegan blend – so you can enjoy an all-encompassing power punch of protein with just a few scoops a week

Nutribuddy frequently uses rice protein powder mixed with pea protein powder, as this gives a unique nutritional balance and profile unrivalled by other protein products. With that said, read on for more information on how and why rice protein powder packs such a punch:

What is Rice Protein Powder?

Rice protein powder starts in rice fields

Rice protein powder does what it says on the tin: it’s a protein isolate made from rice. You likely think of rice as a carbohydrate source rather than a protein one, but it contains a decent amount of the latter too!

White rice contains about 4g of protein per cup (an American measurement that equates to about 120g) and, as for brown rice, about 5g of protein in the same measurement. This marginally higher protein content means that most rice protein powders are made with brown rice over white.

Rice protein powder (both white and brown) is made by grinding up rice and adding an enzyme to it which separates out the starch (a carbohydrate) from the protein. This protein is then used as a dietary supplement, and most often, is mixed with pea protein powder to establish a superior amino acid profile.

Is Rice Protein Powder a Complete Protein?

Rice protein powder isn't a complete protein

A ‘complete protein’ refers to a protein that contains all nine ‘essential’ amino acids (that is, those that cannot be produced naturally by the body and so must be consumed) in adequate amounts.

Of all of the amino acids, the nine that are considered essential in this form are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine and cystine, phenylalanine and tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Like pea protein powder and soy protein powder, rice protein powder and brown rice protein powder are not technically complete proteins. Although they contain all nine essential amino acids, they don’t contain enough of each to qualify.

Meat, eggs and dairy contain hefty quantities of all nine, which is why so often the vegan diet is considered inferior. This need not be the case, however.

Brown rice protein powder is about as close as you can get to the adequate amino acid profile without artificially creating one. It is only low on one acid: lysine, for which it contains 31mg/g, and needs 51mg/g. However, pea protein powder, another fantastic vegan protein option, contains a whopping 71mg/g! Therefore, rice protein powder is often mixed with pea protein powder to create a ‘super protein’ that is complete but still remains natural and vegan.

It is this nutritionally rich blend that you’ll find in the Nutribuddy Shake Complete and the Nutribuddy High Protein Sculpting Shake.

Rice Protein vs Whey Protein; Can It Compete?

Girl with pink protein shake and weights

Brown rice protein powder stands up well when compared to its non-vegan counterparts; and in particular to whey protein, the most popular protein powder on the market. 

In terms of allergens and dietary requirements, brown rice protein powder is far more accessible to many than whey protein. Whey is a by-product of cheese production; a watery liquid that sits on top of cheese or yoghurt, as a result of natural separation. This is then processed into the protein powder so readily found on the health and fitness market. However, because whey protein is a dairy by-product, it is unsuitable for those following a vegan or lactose-free diet. 

Nutritionally, brown rice protein powder and whey protein powder stack up in a remarkably similar manner. Both contain all nine essential amino acids: but as brown rice protein powder is so often combined with another vegan protein, pea protein powder, it enjoys boosted amounts of all nine in this blend above and beyond that reached by whey protein alone.

A medical study was conducted over an eight-week period to directly compare the effect of rice protein powder and whey protein powder on body composition and exercise performance. It found that the vegan option delivered comparable results to wheyeven when not mixed with another protein powder to upgrade it to a ‘complete protein’!

Yep, take that, whey – vegan protein is the future. 

Rice Protein Powder: 5 Amazing Benefits

It’s Fab for Muscle Build and Recovery

Rice protein powder is great for muscle build and recovery after yoga

It is a long-held urban myth that those following a plant-based diet are unable to reach sufficient protein intake to help them build and recover muscles.

In fact, with so many plant-based options for wholefoods, convenience foods and protein powders on the market, it is now easier than ever to ensure a healthy protein intake only from vegan sources, such as brown rice protein powder.

Protein is well documented as being a nutritional building block for the development and maintenance of muscle in the body. This works not just by developing and growing new muscle, but also maintaining muscle mass during periods of body fat loss, through increasing an individual’s protein intake just slightly – which is easily done by introducing a protein powder such as brown rice protein powder to a daily diet.

You don’t need to be looking to ‘bulk up’ to add a protein powder to your diet. Increasing protein intake can help tone muscle and keep you strong even as you lose body fat and mass, so it’s not just for bodybuilders and hardcore gym bunnies!

It’s Majorly Allergen-Friendly

Glass jar of allergen-free rice

There are now a range of protein powders on the market, but many contain listed allergens or other ingredients that are unsuitable for those with specific dietary requirements. 

There are 14 listed allergens: celery, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs, mustard, nuts, peanuts, sesame, soybean and sulphites. Whey and casein proteins contain milk, soy protein contains soybeans, and several other plant proteins contain nuts or may have been cross-contaminated with nuts.

Brown rice protein powder, on the other hand, contains no allergens, and neither does pea protein powder. Together, they make a fantastic protein blend for those who are unable to consume other, more traditional, protein powders.

It Can Help You Lose Weight

Girl running in forest

Despite the natural association between protein and muscle growth, it can also aid weight loss to a healthy and sustainable level. Indeed, several studies have shown that increased protein intake can help improve body composition in those overweight, whilst also increasing lean mass and decreasing fatty mass.

What’s more, regular protein consumption above a ‘normal’ dietary level (i.e, as much as you’d consume through three meals a day) has been proven to boost metabolic rate and reduce appetite, enhancing the calories in and calories out balance, to speed up weight loss in the easiest possible way.

Again, as much as you don’t need to be looking to bulk up to take on extra protein, you don’t need to be looking to lose considerable amounts of weight either. As protein reduces fat mass and grows lean mass, it won’t eat away at fat unless it’s actually there, so there’s no reason to worry about excessive or unhealthy levels of loss.

It’s Super Versatile

Rice protein powder balls

Brown rice protein powder is an extremely versatile protein powder, as it can be enjoyed either with or without an added pea protein powder blend. The taste of rice protein powder is distinct but is considered pleasant by most – some people even prefer it to artificial flavourings! That said, the flavour of rice protein powder is easily masked.

Rice protein powder need not just be part of a standalone protein shake to be drunk for muscle-building purposes in the gym. It can be added to a whole range of food and drink to give a healthy nutritional boost at any time of the day. If you do want to stick to using it as a dietary supplement to support your exercise, try making energy balls or bars with it!

It’s Vegan, Cruelty-free & Eco-friendly

Cows in field for whey protein powder

Brown rice protein powder gives a fantastic dose of protein without having to harm any animals or the environment along the way. It is simply processed and at no point comes into contact with any animal products or by-products, making it cruelty-free and totally vegan. 

Brown rice protein powder can be grown and processed in an eco-friendly manner too and is easily sustainably farmed. Rice farming often uses vast amounts of fresh water, but there are plenty of sustainable farming methods that can reduce the amount used. SRI, the System of Rice Intensification, enables farmers to produce higher rice yields whilst enjoying long-term sustainability and is being promoted by Oxfam, who are working with rice producers to help them implement it. Over one million farmers have already done so and it is rapidly increasing in popularity as its success is proven time and time again.

Why harm anything or anyone else when you need not? We certainly advocate ethically responsible and sourced ingredients wherever possible – which is why all Nutribuddy products are completely vegan and cruelty-free. 

Rice Protein Powder: Side-Effects

Making rice protein powder begins in a rice field

Brown rice protein powder is allergen-free, and so, widely enjoyed by many without any dietary issues or side effects. However, if you are concerned about upping your protein intake or suspect you may have a sensitivity or condition that could be aggravated by rice protein powder, it’s best to consult with your GP, health professional or dietician before you try it out.

Frequently mixed with pea protein powder, consumers should also be aware of any potential side effects of that protein. Whilst pea protein powder is still allergen-free, it can relatively high in sodium – so those following a salt-free or reduced salt diet should avoid it. 

The Bottom Line

High Protein Sculpting Shake with rice protein powder

There’s little need to indulge in health and fitness products which contain animal products or by-products, or at any point warrant cruelty to any being in their production – there are now so many happy, healthy alternatives available! Brown rice protein powder is a brilliant and nutritionally rich protein source and the ideal blend to avoid any dietary or digestive issues or stay allergen-free. 

Using vegan and allergen-free protein blends such as rice protein powder with pea protein powder is a great way to contribute to a fit and healthy diet and life whilst avoiding artificial ingredients and keeping things natural. In so many respects, nature knows best, so we harness its power and performance to make the best possible products without compromising on our ethics, environmental credentials or nutritional profiles. Why cause harm or use manmade chemicals when nature so brilliantly produces the best without interference?

In order to best utilise the nutritional values of brown rice protein powder, Nutribuddy mixes it with pea protein powder: creating a complete protein with generous doses of all the amino acids that the body needs. You can find a rice and pea protein powder blend in the Nutribuddy Shake Complete, a nutritionally whole meal replacement shake that can be drunk in place of a solid meal up to twice a day, and the Nutribuddy High Protein Sculpting Shake, a fantastically protein-rich shake that can be added to an already nutritionally well-balanced diet to boost protein levels as part of an active lifestyle.

Nutribuddy continues to research into and produce only products that are wholly cruelty-free, vegan and good for you. Our aim is to not just add to your nutrition, but to nourish you too: and including brown rice protein powder within our products is just one such way we can do so!


Stock image credit: UnsplashPexels & Pixabay

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nutribuddy Ltd.

Author Bio!

Post by Lex

I’m a full-time Marketing Manager and Copywriter but also a qualified yoga teacher and keen runner; so I know a thing or two about maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a good dose of fitness! My previous roles include marketing and social media for the likes of the household names including the Cabinet Office and Aviva. Outside of work, I’m a Mum, passionate social rights campaigner and bookworm.