Contents

Pea vs Rice Protein: Which Protein is Best for You?

By Katherine Baker, 10 September 2017

If you’re looking to add a vegan protein supplement to your diet, you may want to do a little research before purchasing a protein powder to ensure the products you select fit your dietary needs and lifestyle. Pea protein (found in Nuzest’s plant-based protein products) and rice protein are two popular high-protein plant-based powders on the market.

Is pea protein better than rice protein? Is rice protein better than pea protein?

Learning more about how pea protein and rice protein compare can help you determine which protein powder is most suitable for your needs.

Table of Contents

  • What is Rice Protein?
  • Which Rice has the Most Protein?
  • What is Pea Protein?
  • Which Pea has the Most Protein?
  • How Do Rice and Pea Protein Compare, Nutritionally?
  • Is Pea Protein Better than Rice Protein?
  • Is Rice Protein a Complete Protein?
  • Is Pea Protein a Complete Protein?
  • Benefits of Rice Protein
  • Benefits of Pea Protein
  • How Do Pea Protein and Rice Protein Taste?
  • What Do I Choose: Pea or Rice Protein?

What is Rice Protein?

Most of us think of rice as a food rich in carbohydrates. However, rice also contains a considerable amount of vegan, gluten-free protein. Surprisingly, right? Rice protein is typically made by treating brown rice with select enzymes that cause the carbohydrates and protein to separate. The protein can be isolated, resulting in a high quality, plant-based protein powder.

Which Rice has the Most Protein?

According to study data published in the Nutrition Journal, brown rice protein works as an excellent alternative¹ to whey protein for those individuals with dietary restrictions, allergies, sensitivities, or simply those who prefer a vegan or plant-based source of protein. In fact, brown rice contains 37% of the total protein² and essential amino acids.

As a stand alone, brown rice does not provide all of the nine essential amino acids that the body needs. For this reason, manufacturers commonly add quinoa or chia proteins in order to compensate for what brown rice lacks in a full nutrient profile.

Research findings published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry³ suggests that brown rice protein in particular includes unique peptides that reduce weight gain more than those in white rice protein or soy protein.

An interesting fact to consider about brown rice protein is that while it is technically a source of complete protein (contains all amino acids needed by the body), it is lower in the amino acid lysine compared to whey protein. As a result, it is common for manufacturers to combine brown rice protein with pea protein for a superior amino acid profile.

What is Pea Protein?

Pea protein, the protein found in Clean Lean Protein and the entire product line by Nuzest, is harvested from premium European golden peas. Pea protein is made by extracting the soluble pea protein from yellow split peas. It is highly bioavailable and easy to digest, meaning it’s easy for your body to make the most of the protein and nutrients available. You can read more about pea protein in this helpful guide here.

Which Pea has the Most Protein?

Pea protein is a natural source of plant based protein, is non-allergenic, gluten free, has excellent digestive properties and aids you in feeling fuller longer in addition to helping curb cravings. Clean Lean Protein

is made with Premium European Golden Peas sourced from a family-owned company that is regarded as world leaders in pea protein isolation. It is arguably the highest quality pea protein isolate in the world that packs 20-21 grams of protein per serving, depending on flavor, plus it’s low carb and has no added sugar.

Worth noting, research published in the Nutrition Journal4 found that subjects who drank pea protein powder before a meal ate significantly fewer calories during the meal than subjects who drank whey protein before eating.

How Do Rice and Pea Protein Compare, Nutritionally?

Both rice and pea protein contain about 15-22 grams of protein per 100-calorie serving. They are both low in carbohydrates and fat. Both pea and rice proteins are allergy-friendly, gluten-free, and easy to digest and suitable for a vegetarians, vegans, athletes, and gluten-free individuals (including those with Celiac Disease). Even if you don’t follow a special diet (and if you eat meat), vegan proteins are a great choice.

Is Pea Protein Better than Rice Protein?

Both brown rice and pea proteins are great from a nutrition perspective, respectively containing 15-22 grams of protein per 100-calorie serving. While pea protein contains a full amino acid profile, rice protein does not. However, when paired together they create a full amino acid profile – so essentially what rice protein lacks in amino acids, pea protein makes up when paired together.

Is Rice Protein a Complete Protein?

Rice protein is high in many essential amino acids, including cysteine and methionine, but is low in lysine. Pea protein, on the other hand, is lysine rich and contains an impressive amount of branched chain amino acids. Clean Lean Protein, a high-quality, premium golden pea protein isolate is a 100% vegan protein that contains all the essential amino acids.

Is Pea Protein a Complete Protein?

Pea protein offers a complete range of amino acids, but is lower in the amino acid methionine, which is easily integrated into your diet from a variety of other plant-based foods including, rice, soybeans, sunflower seeds, oats, and many nuts.Often times, pea and rice protein are paired together to create full amino acid plant-based protein profiles.

Benefits of Rice Protein

Rice protein powder also contains a significant amount of iron, vitamin C, and a small amount of calcium. Pea protein is also rich in iron, and contains a small amount of calcium. When made from sprouted whole grain brown rice (which many on the market are), rice protein also offers the benefits of sprouted grains, including an increase in bioavailability of vitamins5, fiber, folate, and amino acids. Rice also contains an array of antioxidants6, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, among others. Such antioxidants7 can promote health by protecting cells from damaging free radicals and reactive oxygen species.

Benefits of Pea Protein

Pea protein is allergen-friendly for those suffering from common food allergens such as dairy, wheat, soy, and egg. Pea protein is also suitable for vegans and those following a plant-based or vegetarian diet.

Even better, pea protein is a highly sustainable protein choice, especially compared to animal proteins, which have a large carbon and water footprint (livestock, such as beef and lamb, have the highest water and carbon footprints of all foods).

How Do Pea Protein and Rice Protein Taste?

Many find rice protein powder to have a distinct taste. Some enjoy the flavor, while others may find it unpleasant. Pea protein, on the other hand, is generally recognized for its neutral taste and easy blendability in many types of liquids (milks, water, coconut water, etc.).

What Do I Choose: Pea or Rice Protein?

Both rice and pea proteins offer their own unique health and consumption benefits and are great high-protein plant-based powders. And both can be incorporated as a healthful source of plant-based protein in your diet. Select the protein that fits your lifestyle, dietary preferences, and taste buds, and you’ll be on your way to happy protein-powdered snacking.

If you are interested in some excellent plant-based products made with pea protein, check out the full product range by Nuzest, includingClean Lean Protein,Good Green Snack bars ,Just Fruit & Veg and Quick Vita Kick.

Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is pea protein isolate based, and contains 20 grams of protein per 90 calorie serving. Pea protein is also highly bioavailable and satiating8.

Clean Lean Protein is offered in its natural, unflavored state (Just Natural) and in four traditional flavors (Smooth Vanilla, Rich Chocolate, Real Coffee and Wild Strawberry). We also have three Functional Flavors (Chai Turmeric + Maca, Vanilla Matcha, Coffee Coconut + MCTs) providing the additional benefits of centuries old traditional medicine. And now it is also available as great tasting bars in Vanilla Almond and Cacao Coconut.

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Whey’s Vegan Alternatives: Combining Pea And Rice Protein For Performance

In July 2012, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster found just how quickly folks can change their view of you once you make the choice to stop eating meat. He decided to turn vegan—or mostly vegan, it turned out—one month before the NFL season, and the team’s fans went ballistic. Accusations and questions began to swirl about his decision’s potential impact on a team trying to repeat as AFC South champions.

A number of professional basketball, hockey, and tennis players, along with some elite-level endurance athletes, have eliminated animal protein from their daily diets without diminishing their ability to perform. But a football player? That struck a different chord. Football is a game of muscle. You know, mass meets mass out on the grass.

Foster claimed to have done extensive research on plant-based eating months before cutting animal, egg, and dairy proteins from his diet. In the end, his solid performance that season calmed fans and suggested that “strong” and “vegan” can coexist in one sentence.

For decades, athletes who were otherwise vegetarian or vegan have made an exception for whey supplementation, feeling they were losing too much of an edge without it. But what about the strictly vegan athlete? Can a diet that eliminates eggs, meat, and all dairy products support the grueling physical demands of competitive sports, including muscle-intensive activities like bodybuilding or powerlifting?

It can more than ever, I would argue, thanks to pea and rice protein in combination.

Getting Enough Protein From Plants

Society-wide interest in a reduced dietary reliance on animal proteins is growing, often for health and environmental reasons. Enthusiasm for plant proteins like soy, brown rice, and pea protein has grown apace, and people have begun to associate these proteins with better overall health.

The tricky part has always been figuring out how to get enough protein from plants. Whole-food plant proteins are healthy by pretty much any measure, but if you’re trying to get enough amino acids to match up with intense physical training, you’re probably also eating enough to see some unfavorable digestive effects. Gas and bloating are common issues for people who combine whole foods seeking to create viable vegetarian or vegan proteins for performance. Simply put, all those veggies can turn you into a gasbag.

Plant-based protein powders can definitely help mitigate these problems, but lack of choice has remained the biggest problem. Soy, hemp, and chia used to be the only vegan protein powder selections, with soy being the most common choice because of its ability to deliver a better amino acid profile.

However, some people are concerned that soy isolate could disrupt the hormonal balance in athletes, and it is also one of the most commonly genetically modified crops on the planet. Not music to the ears of any strength athlete I know.

Pea and brown rice protein are godsends for this type of athlete. These two protein powders eclipse all others in both protein content and essential amino acid profile. They bring none of soy’s hormonal baggage, and they are far less likely than soy to qualify as GMO. Especially when they are combined, they become the first vegetable protein source that provides a comparable alternative to animal-derived protein powders such as whey. They can provide equal levels of essential amino acids, from a vegan source.

How Vegetable Proteins Stack Up

Protein Source Possible Protein Content GMO Status Taste Solubility Texture
Pea 80 % Free Neutral Good Smooth
Brown Rice 70-90% Free Neutral Good Smooth
Soy 65-90% High Risk Neutral Good Smooth
Hemp 35-50% Free Earthy Poor Grainy
Chia 30% Free Earthy Poor Grainy
Flax 20% Free Nutty Poor Grainy

Rice Redefined

According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, the minimum protein needs for vegans are around 0.41 grams per pound of body weight, which is slightly higher than the standard RDA of 0.36 grams per pound. The difference is because vegetable-based proteins are digested differently than animal-based ones. However, they project that the protein needs of vegan athletes could be more than double that (approximately 0.86 grams per pound).1 Sports nutrition researcher Dr. Ralf Jager, Ph.D., a fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, places the upper limits even higher: 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight, especially when it comes to powerlifters, bodybuilders, endurance athletes, and others engaged in intense training.

Getting that much protein without whey or meat is a daunting task. But, in a study published in Nutrition Journal, Dr. Jager and a team of researchers from the University of Tampa concluded that rice may be up to the challenge. In the study, one group of resistance-trained males took 48 grams of whey protein post-workout, and another took 48 grams of rice protein.2 The researchers concluded that at high doses like these, rice protein is comparably effective to whey protein in increasing lean body mass, strength, and power.

“Rice protein isolate consumption following resistance exercise decreases fat mass and increases lean body mass, skeletal muscle hypertrophy, and both power and strength in numbers that are comparable to whey protein isolate, provided the overall volume is relatively adjusted,” Jager says.

In other words, while there may be a difference at lower doses—say, 10 grams of whey and 10 grams of rice—that difference more or less disappears at higher doses. The total amino content of the rice isolate, researchers determined, was similar to whey protein, and while the overall amino acid absorption of rice protein isolate is slightly lower, it was 6 percent, it’s “not statistically significant,” Jager says.

More significant, he says, is the fact that whereas whey protein is a fast-digesting protein and casein is a slow-digesting protein, the rate of digestion for brown rice protein falls in between them. It is also hypoallergenic and free of fat, sugar, and sodium.

The Perfect Vegetarian Combination

A common knock against rice protein in particular is that it’s low in lysine, an amino acid important for human growth and bone health. On the other hand, pea protein is rich in lysine and a number of other aminos such as arginine and glutamic acid, both of which lend support during intense physical exertion and subsequent workout recovery. Equally important to the athlete, pea protein offers a wealth of the crucial branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine, and valine, which have been shown to contribute to muscle protein synthesis and support recovery from exercise.

So, while rice protein and pea protein each have limitations as solo acts, Dr. Jager recommends taking a look at protein powders that combine them, assuring a rich supply of amino acids to fuel protein synthesis in post-exercise shakes and meals. The novel combination of pea and rice proteins is one that vegetarian athletes everywhere should have on their nutritional radar. Whey is no longer the only way!

Learn More About Vegan Sports Nutrition

  • Get inspired: “3 Athletes Who Are Owning The Vegan Lifestyle”
  • Get cooking: Find tons of vegetarian and vegan recipes in our Healthy Recipe Database.

Because COMBINING TWO MIXING MULTIPLE PLANT-BASED PROTEINS provides a far superior amino acid profile than sipping on one alone.

Complete protein sources provide all of the amino acids that your body cannot make, however many plant proteins, like brown rice and pea, only provide a few of these amino acids.

Because pea protein is low in the amino acids cysteine and methionine, but rich in lysine, it marries perfectly with rice protein which is low in lysine, but super-high in cysteine and methionine.

When combined, pea and brown rice provide an optimal amino acid profile which is superior to any single plant protein source.

Which is why our NOURISHING PLANT PROTEIN is powered by both for optimum added benefits.

BROWN RICE

Contains all 9 essential amino acids

Assists weight loss

Improves liver function

Hypoallergenic

Contains fibre, B vitamins and complex carbohydrates

Muscle repair

Reduces glycemic response

Easily digestible

Dairy-free

+ PEA PROTEIN

Closest plant-based protein to a complete amino acid profile including branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

Includes amino acid arginine that is essential for building muscle

Alkalising

Supports weight management

Easily digestible

Dairy-free

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Protein powders are a quick way to help ensure that your body is nourished and satisfied. People use them for a variety of reasons — to lose weight, to improve sports performance and build muscle mass, and for overall wellness.

How do you know which protein powder is best to meet your personal health goals? It’s important to know the difference between available protein powders as well as how they stack up against whole food protein sources.

Whole foods vs. protein powder

You can meet your body’s daily protein requirements whether you drink shakes or eat only whole foods. However, they don’t offer equal nutrition.

What you may find surprising is that shakes generally contain fewer nutrients than whole foods. For that reason, shakes may help you lose weight, but whole foods can offer a bigger nutritional punch.

RELATED: How You Can Beat Weight Gain After Menopause

Protein types and uses

Whey protein is one of the most commonly used proteins and is best for day-to-day use. It contains all of the essential amino acids and is easily digested. It helps boost energy and can reduce stress levels. Whey isolates and concentrates are best to use after a workout.

Soy protein is another common choice. It helps reduce high cholesterol and can ease symptoms of menopause for some women. It can also help with osteoporosis by helping build bone mass.

Other types of protein include:

  • Egg protein, released more slowly than whey, can be taken throughout the day.
  • Milk proteins help support immune function and enhance muscle growth.
  • Rice protein, which is 100 percent plant-based, is a good choice for vegetarians or for people who don’t consume dairy products. It’s also gluten-free.
  • Pea protein is highly digestible, hypo-allergenic and economical.
  • Hemp protein is also 100 percent plant-based. It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

RELATED: What You Need to Know About Protein

Matching a powder to your needs

With so many choices, how do you decide which protein powder is best for you? Here are some general guidelines, based on the outcomes you’re looking for:

  1. Build muscles — For muscle growth, choose a protein powder with a high biological value (a value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilize a protein). Whey protein and whey isolates are your best options.
  2. Lose weight — To lose weight, choose shakes with no added sugars or dextrins/maltodextrins (sweeteners made from starch). Don’t choose those with added branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they help promote muscle growth and weight gain.
  3. Stay vegetarian or vegan — If you are vegetarian or vegan, don’t choose milk-based protein shakes (e.g., whey, milk proteins); instead use 100 percent plant proteins.
  4. Go low-sugar with diabetes — Patients who have diabetes should choose protein shakes without added sugar (don’t choose protein powders with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients). It’s also best to look for a shake that’s low in carbohydrates (less than 5 grams per serving).
  5. Limit protein for kidney disease — People with kidney disease can’t tolerate a lot of protein at one time. Stick with powders that have a lower-range protein content (10-15 grams per serving).
  6. Avoid gastrointestinal problems — Patients with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance should choose powders that don’t contain lactose sugars, artificial sweeteners or dextrins/maltodextrins. If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, don’t choose powders that contain gluten.
  7. Stick to your budget — To save money, buy tubs of protein powder instead of ready-to-drink protein shakes which are more expensive because they’re convenient.

RELATED: 7 Tips to Power Up with Protein

Get the most from your protein powder

Here are a few things to consider:

  • To recover after exercise, an athlete or avid exerciser should consume protein within 60 minutes of a workout. That’s when your muscles are most responsive to the use of protein for the repair and growth process.
  • To control your weight, it’s best to consume a steady supply of protein at each meal and snack to help keep you full.

Although there’s no magic number for how much protein to consume at one time, it’s best to aim for at least 3 ounces of protein per meal.

Boost the taste of your shakes

Each protein powder has a unique taste, depending on the ingredients and protein source. A lot of companies use fillers or flavor enhancers designed by food scientists to create flavors beyond the standard vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

To improve the taste of the protein shakes you make, mix your protein powders with milk or a milk alternative (as opposed to water) to produce a creamier milkshake-like texture.

Create your own flavor enhancers by mixing in one serving of fruit or even a tablespoon of peanut butter.

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Protein powders are very popular for good reasons. They are:

  • More convenient than high-protein foods like meats, fish, eggs and dairy

  • Either fat and cholesterol-free or contain only a small fraction of the fat and cholesterol found in high-protein foods

  • Money-savers when compared to high-protein foods like meats and fish

  • Beneficial in ways beyond merely supplying extra protein

  • Great-tasting and can be used by the whole family

Protein powders also happen to be a very large product category with many choices. Many have difficulty sorting through all the options and choosing the right one. This article will help acquaint you with the different types of protein powder, what the key differences are among them and will help you zero in on the specific product that’s right for you.

Nutrition Express carries over a hundred protein powders. All of them are good products and all of them work in the sense that they will do a good job of supplementing protein to your diet. So there’s really no wrong one to choose. It’s not unusual—and not a bad idea either—for people to try a few different types over the course of a few months before finding the one they like best.

The most common concerns people raise after looking at protein powders and reading labels are allergies to protein components such as lactose, soy, casein or eggs. Another common concern relates to artificial ingredients, which some wish to avoid. In both cases, there are plenty of alternatives from which to choose.

Despite the wide variety of protein powders available, the differences boil down to a few characteristics:

• The type(s) of protein used
• The types of flavors and sweeteners used
• Cost per serving or per gram of protein
• Additional ingredients used to enhance the product’s benefits

Type(s) of Protein

The types of protein used in protein powders can be divided into two categories: animal source proteins and vegetable source proteins. Animal source proteins include milk protein derivatives like whey and casein, beef and egg white protein. Vegetable source proteins include soy, rice, pea, hemp and sprouted grain proteins.

Nutritionally and taste-wise, animal proteins are superior to vegetable proteins and far more popular. Of the animal protein types, the most popular is whey protein. Of the vegetable protein types, soy, rice and pea protein are the most popular. Most people using vegetable protein powders do so as part of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, although many people use soy protein primarily for its heart-health and/or hormone-balancing benefits.

Tip: You can browse protein powders at the Nutrition Express website by the type of protein used.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is derived from milk. The protein portion of whole milk consists of 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein. Whey is by far the most popular type of protein used in protein powders. For most people, it’s the best all-around choice in terms of taste (it’s one of the best-tasting), quality (it’s the highest) and cost (it’s the most economical). Another unique benefit of whey protein, and one that is often overlooked, is that it enhances the immune system in several ways.

Whey protein comes in two varieties, whey concentrate and whey isolate. The advantages of each are:

Whey Concentrate

Whey concentrate is more economical per gram of protein. It has a low lactose level that is well tolerated by most lactose-sensitive people. It has trivial amounts of fat and carbs relative to your overall nutrient intake. Whey concentrate is typically the best-selling category of whey.

Whey Isolate

Whey isolate is virtually fat-free for those wishing to eliminate as much fat from their diet as possible. It is typically lactose free for those few individuals who are very sensitive to the low-lactose levels found in whey concentrate. Whey isolate tends to taste slightly better than whey concentrate too, yet its consistency is a little thinner, without the fat.

Whey protein products can be made from whey concentrate, whey isolate or a blend of both. Other types of protein are sometimes combined with whey proteins in products and are known as protein blends.

Fitness Labs WheyFit Protein, WheyFit Isolate or Lindberg Whey Protein are all good choices and best sellers among the whey proteins.

Tip: The name of a particular protein powder may or may not indicate what specific types of protein are used in the product. You can check the label information or Quick Facts section on a product page to find out exactly what protein types it contains.

Casein or Milk Protein

Like whey protein, casein protein is another milk protein derivative. Since most of the protein (80%) in milk is casein, the terms “milk protein” and “casein protein” are used interchangeably. The key difference between whey and casein is that whey is absorbed in the digestive system quickly, whereas casein is absorbed slowly and steadily. Taste-wise they are similar. Both are more or less tasteless in their unflavored and unsweetened state.

Customers often ask which is better, whey or casein. That’s a hard question to answer because both have unique benefits. For a good comparison, read Jeff Volek’s article, Whey vs. Casein.

A great product that incorporates the benefits of both whey and casein is Fitness Labs NutraFit Meal Replacement, Lindberg Protein Blend or Fitness Labs MuscleFit Protein. Or you can use a casein-only product such as Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein Protein.

Tip: Casein protein may not appear on labels as casein protein. It usually appears as calcium caseinate.

Egg White Protein

Egg white protein was the most popular type of protein supplement for many years before milk proteins surpassed its popularity due to their better taste and lower cost.

Like milk proteins, egg white is also naturally very low in fat and carbs. Egg white protein is cholesterol-free and an excellent choice for those who wish to avoid dairy products.

Fitness Labs EggFit Proteinis a top seller. Healthy & Fit 100% Egg Protein is also a top seller in this category.

Plant Proteins

Among the vegetable source proteins, soy protein, rice protein and pea protein are by far the most popular. Soy and hemp proteinare unique among vegetable protein sources in that they supply all 8 essential amino acids. Plant proteins are ideal alternatives to whey, milk or egg white protein. They are derived from a variety of sources, including peas, hemp, sprouts, and grains and seeds like brown rice, quinoa, millet, spirulina, chia and more. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, and often provide antioxidants, amino acids, fiber and more. Plant proteins are typically suitable for vegetarian or vegan diets. They’re also well tolerated by lactose-sensitive individuals.

Soy has additional benefits, too. The isoflavones in soy provide antioxidant benefits, heart health benefits and is often used by women transitioning through menopause.

For all its benefits, soy protein has a characteristic taste that, while not unpleasant, can be hard to completely mask with flavors and sweeteners, especially when soy is the sole protein source in a product.

Fitness Labs found a way around this issue by using a proprietary blend of flavors and sweeteners. Their SoyFit protein powder is the best tasting soy protein I’ve ever tried and a great choice for those who want to use soy but are particular about taste.

Nutrition Express also carries a specially-formulated soy protein with very high isoflavone content, Fitness Labs Soy Protein Isolate Triple Isoflavones. Note that this product is unflavored and unsweetened. You can flavor it with frozen fruit, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, Emergen-C packets and sweeten it with xylitol, stevia, honey, agave nectar or whatever you like.

Beef Proteins

Beef protein has become extremely popular for those looking for a non-dairy, non-plant protein. It has been long known that bodybuilders and athletes consume beef to help build muscle and increase strength. Beef is one of the best natural sources of creatine. Now, you can find beef protein which is packed with natural creatine and BCAAs, and they are defatted so it contains no fat or cholesterol. They do not taste like beef, and come in a variety of flavors. Try Olympian Labs Beef Protein or Muscle Tech Platinum 100% Beef Protein.

Types of Flavors and Sweeteners Used

Manufacturers have hundreds of options to choose from when flavoring and sweetening their protein powder products. Your flavoring choices fall into 3 categories:

1. No flavors or sweeteners;
2. Artificial or a combination of artificial and natural flavors and sweeteners;
3. Only natural flavors and sweeteners.

What you decide to use is up to you. The flavors and sweeteners have no impact whatsoever on the nutritional value of the protein; they only affect the taste.

All of the artificial flavors and sweeteners in protein powders have been approved for use in food products by all the relevant regulatory agencies. Artificial flavors and sweeteners have many advantages over their natural alternatives. They give the formulators more options, flexibility and control over the taste of the product. They cost far less. Smaller quantities are required. They have greater stability and suffer less degradation during storage.

Manufacturers purchase artificial flavors as finished, stand-alone ingredients from companies that specialize in such products. Since each company’s product name for their flavor ingredient would not be recognizable to the public, and since manufacturers need to protect their flavor recipes from being copied by competitors, these ingredients are simply listed on the label as artificial flavors. The same holds true for natural flavor ingredients.

While most customers use protein powders containing a combination of natural and artificial flavors and sweeteners, some still prefer natural flavored and naturally sweetened products. There are many excellent more natural protein powdersincluding Lindberg Whey Protein, Lindberg Protein Blend, Fitness Labs Natural Vanilla Flavored WheyFit Protein or Isolate and Biochem (Country Life) 100% Whey Protein. These products contain only natural flavors and sweetening ingredients.

You may also want to use an unflavored and unsweetened protein powder for baking or for using your own flavors and sweeteners. Your best choices are Lindberg Whey Protein Unsweetened and Unflavored, Fitness Labs 100% Whey Protein Unflavored, Fitness Labs Soy Protein Isolate, Quest Multi-Purpose Mix. The whey protein is the more neutral tasting of the two.

Cost

There aren’t huge differences in protein powders when comparing similar products with similar ingredients. It is easy to compare prices on protein powders that just contain one type of protein. The difficulty arises when comparing products that are blends of protein types. Some proteins are more expensive than others and without knowing the proportions of each type in the mixture, a comparison is hard to make. Some companies add other nutrients like amino acids or digestive enzymes to their protein, making price comparisons even murkier.

In protein blends, manufacturers usually describe their unique mixture of protein types as a proprietary blend. The ingredient list will show the types of protein proportionately, from most to least, but won’t provide the exact amount of each type.

If you are trying a protein for the first time, buy the smallest size possible. Once you’ve found a product you like, the largest size offers the best value and gives you substantial savings over smaller sizes. A 2-pound tub of protein may seem like an awful lot, but will typically contain only 23-30 servings. If you use the product every day, that’s just under one month. Save yourself time and money by buying the largest size possible once you’ve found a product you like.

Tip: Ask if single serving trial sizes or free samples are available for a product that interests you, so that you can try it for free or at minimal cost.

You can find all trial size proteins here.

Enhancements

Besides protein, flavors and sweeteners, many manufacturers add other ingredients to enhance the product’s nutritional value or taste, or to make it easier to use.

One very common enhancement, and one that most customers prefer, is the addition of small amounts of lecithin granules to protein powder. Lecithin Granules are a healthy fat from soy or Sunflower Lecithin. It’s added to improve the mix-ability of the powder and reduce clumping. Unlike other soy foods, lecithin does not have any phytoestrogen compounds and makes a great addition to a protein shake. Many customers actually add lecithin granules to shakes for memory enhancing and cardiovascular benefits.

Another way to enhance a protein powder is by adding amino acids to improve its nutritional value. Although whey protein contains all the necessary amino acids, it doesn’t provide them in equal amounts. By adding amino acids like glutamine, BCAAs and arginine, the nutritional benefits of that protein are extended and enhanced. The amino blend in the MuscleFit family of products is an example of this type of enhancement.

Other types of enhancements include the addition of carbohydrates and nutritional fats to the protein and/or the addition of vitamins and minerals. However, when these types of ingredients are added, the products can no longer be accurately called protein powders. Such products are known as Meal Replacements or Gainers with Carbs.

Soy Protein vs. Whey Protein – Everything You Need to Know

Protein is a critical nutrient that your body uses to create new enzymes, muscle tissue, and hormones. Indeed, protein is found in every cell in the human body, meaning that you need to get plenty of it in your diet to ensure that your body continues to function properly. Each protein molecule is made up of amino acids, the building blocks that are strung together on chains to form protein. After digesting dietary protein, your body rearranges these amino acids to create new protein structures needed to perform various physiological processes.

One of the best ways to ensure you get enough protein in your diet is to drink protein shakes. There are hundreds of varieties of protein powder available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Two of the most common forms of protein are soy protein and whey protein. Understanding the differences between soy protein and whey protein allows you to make the healthiest choice for your body.

What Are Soy Protein & Whey Protein?

Soybeans are a type of legume that are naturally high in protein while remaining relatively low in fat. To create soy protein, manufacturers grind soybeans into a meal which contains no hulls or fat. This soybean meal is then processed into soy protein isolate, which consists of 90 to 95% protein (Soyfoods Association of America, 2013). This soy protein isolate is then sold in powder form. The soy protein powder can be used to make a protein shake or to add protein to other meals. Although soy protein isolate is naturally high in protein but very low in carbohydrates, many manufacturers add additional nutrients to commercial soy protein to improve its taste, texture, and nutritional value.

Whey protein, on the other hand, is made from cow’s milk. Cow’s milk naturally contains about 3.5% protein and 4% fat (MyProtein, 2014). After being pasteurized to kill any bacteria, special enzymes are added to the milk to separate casein — the milk solids that are used to make cheese — from the whey. This whey is processed further to remove carbohydrates, fats, and excess water. The end product is a protein-rich powder that can be used to make protein shakes.

Considerations When Choosing Between Soy and Whey Protein

There are many considerations when choosing between soy protein and whey protein. Although these factors differ by brand, the following are some broad considerations when choosing a type of protein powder.

Taste and Texture

Whey protein tends to have a smooth, somewhat creamy texture and a mildly nutty taste. Soy protein has a stronger nutty flavor, and some people find the texture a bit grainier. In the end, the taste and texture of soy versus whey protein comes down to personal preference. Both are available in a variety of flavors and formulations. Certain brands may include additives or stabilizers that are meant to achieve a creamier, richer texture. Trying several brands before choosing one can help you avoid protein powder with an off-putting “chalky” texture.

Shelf Life

Both soy and whey protein are processed so that they are relatively shelf stable. Despite being derived from milk products, you do not need to worry about whey protein powder going bad quickly. A typical container of protein powder has an expiration date that is a year or more away (Ketchiff, 2015). However, you are unlikely to suffer any ill health effects from using protein past its “sell by” date. Although the flavor of the product might diminish, the nutritional value and stability of the product is unlikely to change (Ketchiff, 2015).

Type of Protein

One of the most important factors to look at when evaluating a protein powder product is the amino acid profile. There are 22 types of amino acids used by the human body; nine of these cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Both soy and whey protein are “complete” proteins, meaning that they contain these nine essential amino acids. However, they differ slightly in their relative concentrations of the essential amino acids. For example, whey protein tends to be higher in leucine, isoleucine, methionine, and lysine (Misner, 2015). In contrast, soy protein is higher than whey protein in arginine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan.

Because lysine has been associated with muscle growth and methionine with accelerated fat loss, many bodybuilders choose whey protein for its superior profile of these amino acids (Robson, 2016). However, both soy and whey protein contain adequate amounts of essential and nonessential amino acids to support general health.

Dietary Restrictions

Other dietary restrictions may determine whether soy or whey protein is best for you. For example, whey protein comes from an animal source and is not appropriate for a vegan diet. In contrast, soy protein is vegan-friendly and can be a good way for vegans to ensure they get enough protein.

Additionally, people who are lactose intolerant may need to carefully consider their protein options. Soy protein does not contain lactose and is perfectly appropriate for people who are lactose intolerant. When it comes to whey protein, it depends on the form of protein you choose. Whey protein comes in three main forms: whey concentrates (the least processed form), whey isolates, and whey hydro-isolates (the most processed form) (Axe, 2015). Although whey concentrates have some lactose filtered out, they may still cause gastrointestinal problems for lactose intolerant people. Whey isolates or hydro-isolates have been processed to remove lactose, making them more appropriate for lactose intolerant individuals.

Other Nutritional Considerations

Protein is not the only consideration when choosing whey or soy powder. These powders also contain other nutrients that support your general health. For example, soy naturally contains B complex vitamin, vitamin E, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium (Robson, 2016). Whey protein also contains important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The exact amounts of these nutrients varies by brand, making it important to check nutrition labels before you buy.

Another nutrition consideration when evaluating whey versus soy protein is the phytoestrogen content in soy. Soybeans naturally contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the activity of estradiol, the primary female sex hormone (Robson, 2016). Historically, some people have been concerned that eating soy could increase levels of estrogen while decreasing testosterone levels. However, more recent scientific research suggests that consumption of soy has no ill effects on hormone levels or general human health. In fact, consumption of soy protein has been shown to promote lean muscle growth while stimulating weight loss (Robson, 2016). Thus, concerns about the phytoestrogen content in soy protein is not a strong reason to choose whey protein over soy alternatives.

Personal Preference

When it comes to foods, there is no “one size fits all” approach. It may take some trial and error to determine the specific variety of soy or whey protein that works best for you. Some people experience gas, bloating, or gastrointestinal problems after using certain types of protein. This may be a sign that your body is reacting poorly to some ingredient in the protein, but it does not mean that another brand of soy or whey protein will not work for you. Experiment with different types, flavors, and ingredient ratios when making protein shakes until you determine what works best for you.

Recipes with Protein Powder

The following recipes utilize whey or hemp protein powder, though substitutions can be made. It may take some slight experimentation to find the right amount of soy or whey powder to use for a substitution- but, once a balance is found, the results are sure to taste great!

Protein Acai Bowl Recipe

A delicious smoothie in a bowl, this recipe uses whey powder to fit the needs of those seeking a small meal that delivers a protein with more lysine than the powders derived from plant-based sources.
Ingredients: Frozen strawberries, almond milk, whey protein powder, acai powder, banana, fresh fruit toppings

Protein-Packed Detox Smoothie Recipe {vegan}

Though this smoothie uses hemp powder as its protein source, you can ensure that this drink offers an adequate amount of all nine essential amino acids by substituting soy or whey protein powder. Soy powder can even keep the drink vegan.
Ingredients: Almond milk, frozen banana, spirulina, hemp protein powder (optional), fresh mint, chia seeds, hemp hearts.
Total Time: 5 minutes | Yield: 2 servings

Protein Powders and Smoothie Ingredients

For a more robust list of protein powder and protein shake ingredients, be sure to check out our protein shakes page!

Soy Protein Isolate

$9.99/lb

Our soy protein isolate has been processed to offer a powder with 14% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium and for iron as well as 24 grams of protein in each ounce.

Isolated Soy Protein Powder

$7.99/lb

For those that are seeking a powder for making more than basic beverages, this isolated protein powder offers the perfect powder to use in energy bars and other confections.

Gluten Free Soy Protein Powder

$10.99/lb

This variety of soy powder is less refined to offer 25 grams of protein with every ounce. Unlike other forms of the soy powder, this variety contains less sodium to increase protein intake without impacting your micronutrient intake.

Whey Protein Powder (Unflavored)

This whey powder is a whey isolate that is ideal to meet your bodybuilding or weight loss needs. Each ounce contains more than 20 grams of protein and 10% of the DV for calcium.

Organic Hemp Protein Powder

$12.99/lb

Another option for those seeking a plant-based protein powder, our hemp powder contains nearly 40% of the DV for iron in every ounce, as well as 15 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.

Pea Protein Powder

$8.99/lb

Another vegan source of protein, this pea protein powder offers 21 grams of protein per ounce and is a source of calcium, iron, and unsaturated fats to help provide a well balanced shake or smoothie.

Soy Protein Powder Raw (Organic)

Soy Protein Powder Australia Overview

Our natural organic soy protein powder uses quality organic raw ingredients so you can be confident in the purity of your soy protein supplement. Buy soy protein powder online from us with same day despatch and Australia wide delivery.

Natural raw soy protein powder is a useful plant protein supplement, delivering over 90% protein per serving (over 90g per 100g). It is naturally vegan friendly, and free of dairy and lactose. If you need a vegan supplement or want an alternative to rice protein or pea protein, give our organic soy protein powder a try.

Being a natural organic product, production starts with a selection of quality organic soya beans which are put through a delicate manufacturing, filtration and milling process to deliver the best soy protein powder available. It is high in protein, low in carbs and fat, and free from lactose, sugar, and any animal products.

Soy protein powder is also a valuable source of amino acids and offers a full spectrum, including BCAA (considered the most important amino acids for building and maintaining muscle mass), this makes soy protein a great option for vegan athletes.

In fact, soy protein has the top protein digestibility corrected amino acid score of all protein powders.

Natural raw soy protein powder can be use as a straight-up protein drink, mix it with water, milk, or a dairy-free milk alternative. Or try adding natural raw soy protein powder to your morning oatmeal or to protein baking recipes. It has a smooth, creamy texture which mixes well and won’t clump. Because it is an all-natural powder, it has no chalky texture or aftertaste. It is a neutral powder which lends itself well to flavoured smoothies, shakes, and baking recipes.

Our organic natural soy protein powder is available online with Australia wide delivery.

Soy Protein Powder Benefits

Vegan friendly, lactose-free, high protein, amino acids, excellent digestibility score.

Soy powder is a naturally dairy-free vegan protein which can be used by anyone who wants a natural plant based protein powder high in amino acids. It is very low in fats, carbohydrates and sugar, making it a healthy choice for vegans, vegetarians, and anybody who wants a protein supplement which is free from lactose. Soy protein has the top protein digestibility corrected amino acid score of all protein powders.

Soy Protein Powder Suggested Use

As a dietary supplement, mix 30g with 300ml of desired liquid for a protein shake to be consumed at any time of the day for any goal. Consume as required. 2 scoops delivers around 30g, a scoop is included in package. Our Organic Soy Protein can also be used in smoothies and is excellent for protein baking such as homemade protein cookies, protein muffins, cakes, wraps, breads and other treats.

Soy Protein Isolate Powder 2kgs

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Protein is one of 3 macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fat. Protein is made of amino acids, and is often referred to in the context of muscle repair. There are 20 amino acids, and 9 of them are essential, meaning the body cannot produce it. It is also the building blocks of skin, hair, hormones, and neurotransmitters. We also obtain vitamins and minerals from protein, such as B vitamins that are essential for energy production. To ensure the supply of amino acids is steady, and readily available, we must consume protein daily.
The amount of protein needed varies based on age, exercise goals, stress, and body weight. For example, someone in metabolic stress may need more protein than a healthy individual. A 30 year old, 6’4” bodybuilder will need more protein than a 90 year old, 5’3”woman.
Protein powder is an easy way to increase protein intake, especially for those who you busy professionals, and have limited time to consume their food. There are many types of protein powder available on the market, and it can often be confusing to understand which to buy, let alone what ingredients to watch out for.
Here are the various types of protein powders:
Whey
Whey protein is dervied from cow’s milk. The liquid from milk is pasturized, spray dried, and filtered into a powder. Whey concentrate has around 70-85% protein, while isolate has even more protein (around 90-95%%), and less fat and carbohydrate. Whey protein is the least expensive of all of the protein powders, which makes it appealing to many people. You can also find different flavors of whey powder—chocolate, vanilla, birthday cake, and even cookies and cream are available. With whey protein, always choose a grass-fed option, as there are more fatty acids available in the product.
Whey protein is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and used for muscle growth and recovery, and lean body composition. This is best used after a workout. It is naturally complete with all the essential amino acids. However, whey contains lactose and may cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
Casein
Like whey, this protein powder is also dairy-based. Casein is a long-acting protein powder, and is best consumed at bedtime. People who want to avoid muscle breakdown consume casein before bed.
Egg-based protein
Egg protein is a concentrated amount of the egg-white portion of the egg that is dehydrated, and formed into a powder. Egg protein is relatively easy to digest, and involves minimal processing.
Plant-based protein can contain pea protein, hemp, quinoa, soy, or rice. These plant-based powders are typically lower in protein potency, and often not a complete protein on its own. Remember that we need to obtain the 9 essential amino acids from our diet. For example, pea protein is lacking in methionine, which is normally found in oats, fish, and other animal meat. Ensuring you have a well-rounded diet will help to fill in these gaps.
Soy
Soy is estrogenic, meaning it mimics the structure of estrogen. Although the evidence is still unclear about whether or not a high soy diet can lead to breast cancer, you may still want to steer clear if you have a family history. Also, some soy contains GMO (genetically modified organisms) that can be harmful to cells. GMO’s chemical structure has been manipulated to create a cross-breed of a new organism. Many corn, and soy products on the market are made from GMO and are not yet mandated to be labeled as such.
What to look out for:
Always look at the ingredient list on the back of the package. Don’t let savvy marketing, and advertising techniques fool you. You are doing this to ensure that there is no sugar in the product. If it ends in ‘-ose’ or ‘syrup’ it is a sugar. Some examples would be lactose, sucrose, maltose, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup. Keep in mind some of the other things I’ve mentioned like ‘non-GMO’ or ‘grass-fed’ as good indicators that you are choosing the right product.
No matter your preference, budget or taste, there are many options to consider when selecting the appropriate protein powder to meet your needs.

Although once considered a supplement solely for bodybuilders and professional athletes, protein powder has gained widespread popularity among those looking to gain muscle mass and increase protein intake while also improving their health. In fact, the potential benefits of protein powder extend way beyond the gym; research shows that this superstar supplement may help with everything from improving skin health to enhancing immunity and more.

Produced from both plant-based and animal sources, there are many types of protein powders available to tailor to any diet plan, taste palate or personal preference. So what are the best protein powders and how can they impact your health? Let’s take a look.

What Is Protein Powder?

Protein powder is a common supplement that provides a concentrated amount of dietary protein from both plant and animal sources. Some popular examples include whey, casein, hemp and bone broth protein powder.

Most people take protein powder looking to build muscle mass and maximize fat burning, but protein powders can also be a useful way to increase protein intake for those who may have difficulty meeting their needs, such as vegans, vegetarians or older adults. You can also use protein powder to increase your caloric intake if you’re wanting to gain weight in a healthy way by using it to supplement your meals and snacks.

And in addition to supplying an extra bit of protein to your daily diet, protein powder benefits many other aspects of health as well. In fact, several types are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, better blood sugar control and improved skin health.

Plus, protein powder is available in a wide array of different flavors and can be incredibly versatile. Although most commonly mixed with milk or water, it can also be incorporated into recipes like breakfasts and baked goods to add a punch of protein to your favorite foods.

Common Forms of Protein Powder

Protein powders can be derived from many different plant-based and animal sources. Some of the most common types cropping up on the market today include:

  • Whey
  • Casein
  • Soy
  • Bone Broth
  • Rice
  • Pea
  • Collagen
  • Egg
  • Hemp
  • Mixed Plant Protein

There are also several different forms of protein powder, each of which vary based on their nutrient profile and the way that they are processed. The three most common types include:

  • Protein concentrates: This type of protein powder is made by extracting protein from whole food sources, resulting in a final product that contains 60–80 percent of calories from protein with the remaining calories from fat and carbohydrates.
  • Protein isolates: Protein isolates are further filtered to remove much of the fat and carbohydrates, resulting in a more highly concentrated form of protein powder. In general, protein isolates typically contain between 90–95 percent protein.
  • Protein hydrolysates: This form of protein powder undergoes a process that breaks the bond between amino acids, creating a type of protein that is more easily absorbable by your body.

Quality Protein Powder vs. Protein Powder with Fillers

Not all protein powders are created equally. And not only are many pumped full of fillers and added ingredients, but they often contain misleading labels, making it impossible to tell what you’re really getting in each serving. In fact, a slew of recent lawsuits have found that many popular brands of protein powders actually contain less than half of the amount of protein listed on the label.

These lawsuits allege that many companies use a practice called “amino spiking,” meaning that they use cheap filler amino acids like glycine, leucine and taurine and then count these amino acids towards the total protein content on the label. The problem is that these amino acids are incomplete proteins and don’t contain the same health benefits as the complete proteins found in organic protein powder. Lab results even showed that MusclePharm’s “Arnold Scharzenegger Series Iron Mass,” one of the most popular brands of protein powder, delivered just 19 grams, which equates to less than 48 percent of the amount listed on the label. (1)

So how can you skip the scams and make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck? Take a closer look at the ingredients label and skip the supplements that add extra amino acids or fillers like maltodextrin or artificial sweeteners. Instead, opt for organic, naturally sweetened protein powders with minimal ingredients and be sure to always purchase from reputable retailers.

7 Best Protein Powders

  1. Protein Powder Made from Bone Broth
  2. Collagen Protein Powder
  3. Whey Protein Powder
  4. Hemp Protein Powder
  5. Pea Protein Powder
  6. Casein Protein Powder
  7. Brown Rice Protein Powder

1. Protein Powder Made from Bone Broth

Bone broth is made by simmering different parts of animals, including bones and connective tissues, into a nutrient-rich broth, which can then be dehydrated and concentrated into a protein powder. Not only is protein powder made from bone broth highly nutritious, but it’s also available in an assortment of flavors, which is why it’s often dubbed the best tasting protein powder for baked goods and recipes.

Benefits:

  • Rich in Collagen: As the most abundant protein in your body, collagen plays a central role in the health of your hair, skin, joints and nails. Getting enough of this protein is key to many aspects of health, especially as you start getting older.
  • Promotes Skin Health: Collagen levels drop as you age, resulting in symptoms like saggy skin and wrinkles. Studies show that supplementing with a collagen-containing supplement like a protein powder made from bone broth could improve skin elasticity and skin moisture in older adults. (2)
  • Enhanced Immune Function: Some research suggests that protein powder made from bone broth can reduce inflammation to give your immune system a hearty boost and reduce the risk of conditions like leaky gut syndrome. (3)
  • Relieves Joint Pain: Supplementing with collagen, one of the primary ingredients found in protein powder made from bone broth, has been shown to reduce activity-related joint pain in athletes. (4)

Goals:

A protein powder made from bone broth is ideal for those looking to improve their health, optimize immunity and combat the signs of aging while also increasing their daily protein intake.

Diet Types:

  • Low-Carb Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Paleo Diet
  • Gluten-Free Diet
  • Weight Loss Diet

2. Collagen Protein Powder

As the most abundant form of protein in the body, collagen is found in the muscles, skin, bones and blood vessels. However, collagen levels begin to slowly decline as you get older, resulting in symptoms like joint pain, wrinkles and hair loss. Taking a collagen supplement is an effective way to boost collagen levels and reverse the symptoms of aging to improve health and quality of life. The best form of a collagen protein includes several types, including from chicken collagen, bovine collagen, fish collagen and egg shell collagen.

Benefits:

  • Decreases Joint Pain: Collagen can help increase the synthesis of cells in the extracellular matrix to reduce joint pain and improve symptoms of arthritis. (5)
  • Prevents Leaky Gut: Leaky gut syndrome is a condition caused by increased intestinal permeability resulting in symptoms like inflammation, decreased immunity and nutritional deficiencies. One study in Food & Function found that collagen can improve intestinal barrier function and protect against leaky gut syndrome. (6)
  • Promotes Hair and Skin Health: As the building block of the hair, skin and nails, some studies show that collagen supplementation could be therapeutic against hair loss and skin-related conditions. (7)
  • Improves Liver Function: Collagen is rich in a type of amino acid called glycine, which has been shown to preserve liver function and protect against liver injury in some animal studies. (8)

Goals:

Collagen is a good option to help combat signs of aging and enhance overall health. It can be especially beneficial for those with autoimmune disorders or conditions like arthritis, leaky gut syndrome or liver problems.

Diet Types:

  • Low-Carb Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Paleo Diet
  • Gluten-Free Diet
  • Weight Loss Diet

3. Whey Protein Powder

Whey is a type of protein found in milk. More specifically, it is the liquid that separates from the curds during the cheese-making process, resulting in a final product that is high in protein. However, it may also contain lactose, a type of sugar found in milk that can be difficult for certain people to digest. Whey protein isolate is the best whey protein option if you have lactose intolerance, as the lactose content is significantly decreased during processing.

Benefits:

  • Supports Muscle Growth: Whey protein is quickly digested, making it an ideal choice for a post-workout smoothie to gain muscle mass fast. In fact, multiple studies show that whey protein can help speed up muscle recovery and enhance muscle growth. (9, 10)
  • High in BCAA: Whey protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), which help promote muscle recovery and support muscle synthesis after exercise. (11)
  • Controls Appetite: Some research also shows that whey protein could decrease appetite and may help reduce levels of certain hunger hormones to a greater extent than other protein powders, including casein or soy. (12)
  • Improves Body Composition: For those looking to lose weight and kick up fat burning, whey protein may be the way to go. Studies show that supplementing with whey could help decrease fat mass and waist circumference — overall belly fat — in people who are overweight or obese. (13, 14)

Goals:

Whey protein may be the right choice for you if you’re looking to increase muscle mass and improve muscle recovery after an intense workout. Whey protein is also sometimes considered the top protein powder for weight loss because it can help curb cravings and improve body composition.

Diet Types:

  • Vegetarian Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Gluten-Free Diet
  • Weight Loss Diet

4. Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa, a type of flowering plant indigenous to Asia. Although most well-known for its association with marijuana, hemp actually contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the cannaboid responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana. Instead, hemp is actually jam-packed with protein, and hemp protein used to make one of the most popular plant-based protein powder options on the market today.

Benefits:

  • Easily Digestible: Hemp protein powder is an easily digestible form of protein, meaning your body is able to metabolize and utilize more protein to get you closer to your goals. (15)
  • Contains Heart-Healthy Fats: Unlike other protein powders, hemp protein powder stands out because it contains a hearty dose of omega-3 fatty acids
  • , a type of heart-healthy fat that’s been linked to decreased inflammation, improved heart health and better brain function. (16)
  • Plant-Based: Hemp protein powder is often considered one of the best vegan protein powder options because it’s totally plant-based and can be enjoyed on nearly any diet.
  • Rich in Fiber: Hemp seeds are loaded with beneficial fiber and each serving of hemp protein powder packs in a good chunk of fiber as well. Besides supporting regularity, fiber can also lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar and even enhance weight loss. (17)

Goals:

Hemp protein powder is perfect for those looking to boost protein intake to gain muscle mass and strength while also reaping the nutritional benefits of the hemp seed, including its high fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content.

Diet Types:

  • Vegan Diet
  • Vegetarian Diet
  • Low-Carb Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Paleo Diet
  • Gluten-Free Diet
  • Weight Loss Diet

5. Pea Protein Powder

Tiny but packed with protein, pea protein is a relatively new form of protein powder that’s been gaining popularity fast. Derived from the yellow split pea, pea protein powder contains a good amount of nearly all of the essential amino acids and has been associated with a number of health benefits thanks to its stellar nutrient profile.

Benefits:

  • Boosts Muscle Growth: One study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that pea protein was equally effective as whey protein at increasing muscle thickness when combined with resistance training. (18)
  • Reduces Hunger: Some research shows that pea protein can help increase the levels of specific satiety hormones to keep you feeling full and decrease hunger. (19)
  • Lowers Blood Pressure: In addition to kicking up your protein intake, pea protein may also help keep your heart in tip-top shape by keeping blood pressure in check. A 2011 study showed that supplementation with pea protein was able to significantly lower systolic blood pressure levels after just three weeks. (20)

Goals:

Pea protein works well for those looking to increase muscle growth while also curbing cravings and decreasing appetite, making it a contender for the best protein powder for weight loss. When paired with a healthy, well-rounded diet, it may also benefit other aspects of health, such as heart health.

Diet Types:

  • Vegan Diet
  • Vegetarian Diet
  • Low-Carb Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Gluten-Free Diet
  • Weight Loss Diet

6. Casein Protein Powder

Casein is a type of protein found in milk. Unlike whey protein, however, it’s digested much more slowly within the body, helping to decrease muscle breakdown. Because it’s derived from milk, casein protein is also rich in several essential nutrients, including calcium.

Benefits:

  • Slows Muscle Breakdown: Casein has anti-catabolic properties, meaning that it slows the breakdown of muscle tissues during resistance training and supplies the muscles with a steady stream of amino acids to promote muscle growth. (21)
  • Enhances Strength: Some research indicates that casein protein may be even more effective than other types of protein like whey at stimulating muscle growth and increasing strength. (22, 23)
  • Improves Body Composition: One study comparing the effects of whey protein and casein found that supplementing with casein doubled the amount of fat loss, lean body mass gains and chest strength compared to whey protein. (24)
  • Boosts Metabolism: Casein tops the charts as potentially the best protein powder for women looking to lose weight because it’s been shown to ramp up energy expenditure and keep your metabolism running. (25)

Goals:

Casein can help increase fat loss and build muscle for those looking to tone up. It can also increase metabolism, allowing you burn more calories throughout the day to help the weight slide right off.

Diet Types:

  • Vegetarian Diet
  • Low-Carb Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Gluten-Free Diet
  • Weight Loss Diet

7. Brown Rice Protein Powder

As its name implies, brown rice protein powder is made from brown rice and contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. It’s plant-based, high in fiber and contains additional micronutrients like iron, calcium and vitamin C, all of which provide it with an added boost of health benefits.

Benefits:

  • Aids in Weight Loss: Adding a scoop of brown rice protein powder into your smoothie can do double duty by increasing your protein intake and kickstarting weight loss as well. According to an animal model out of China, brown rice protein includes specific peptides that were shown to reduce weight gain in hamsters. (21)
  • Promotes Muscle Building: One study in the Nutrition Journal showed that brown rice protein powder was as effective as whey protein powder at improving body composition and exercise performance. (22)
  • Regulates Blood Sugar: Thanks to the high fiber content of brown rice nutrition, brown rice protein powder has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels in some animal models. (23)
  • Lowers Cholesterol: High levels of cholesterol can build up in the bloodstream, causing arteries to narrow and thicken, plus upping the risk of heart disease. Some animal studies have found that brown rice protein could cut cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart disease. (21)

Goals:

If you’re looking to lose weight and improve your body composition, brown rice protein powder is a good plant-based alternative to whey protein. It also comes with several added health benefits for those who may want to simultaneously improve heart health and lower blood sugar as well.

Diet Types:

  • Vegan Diet
  • Vegetarian Diet
  • Low-Carb Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Gluten-Free Diet
  • Weight Loss Diet

How to Use Protein Powder + Recipes

The possibilities of protein powder extend way beyond sticking a scoop in your morning smoothie or shake. In fact, you can easily add protein powder to everything from baked goods to oatmeal dishes to smoothie bowls and more. Stick to a single serving right after working out to maximize muscle gain, or enjoy it throughout the day in your favorite snacks if you’re looking to increase your caloric intake and use protein powder for weight gain.

Need a little more inspiration? Here are a few creative (and tasty) ways to bump up your protein intake, quickly and easily:

  • Lemon Protein Bars
  • Protein Pancakes
  • Bone Broth Protein Mocha Fudge Smoothie
  • Vanilla Coconut Protein Balls
  • Protein Peanut Butter Fudge

Related: 23 Protein Shake Recipes to Make You Lean & Strong

Protein Powder Side Effects & Precautions to Take

Adding protein powder into your routine can enhance your results at the gym and make it easier to meet your protein needs throughout the day. Certain protein powder supplements may also come with other benefits, such as better heart health, improved immunity and a decreased appetite.

Protein powder should not be used as a replacement for protein from whole food sources, however. Protein foods like meat, fish, eggs and legumes not only supply a good amount of protein in each serving, but they also pack in tons of other important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that more is not always better when it comes to protein powder. Overdoing it can lead to protein powder side effects like weight gain, bone loss, kidney damage and liver problems. (26)

Finally, remember to always buy from a reputable retailer and look for organic products with minimal ingredients and fillers to make sure you’re getting the best protein powders possible.

Final Thoughts

  • Protein powder is a common supplement that delivers a convenient and concentrated amount of protein in each serving.
  • It can be derived from both plant and animal sources, including whey, bone broth, hemp, pea, casein, brown rice and collagen.
  • Each type of protein powder offers a unique set of nutrients and health benefits and can be used to cater to your specific diet and goals, making it easy to find the best protein powders for you.
  • Protein powder can be added to many recipes, including smoothies, baked goods or sweets.
  • Coupled with a healthy diet and lifestyle protein powder, using a few of these best protein powders help you reach your fitness goals, increase your protein intake, manage your weight and enhance your overall health.

Read Next: Best Pre-Workout Foods (+ Best Foods for Athletes)

How to Choose the Best Protein Powder for Your Body

An objective look at protein powders is hard to find.

Johnny Powerlifter says you should have a thousand grams a day. Victor Vegan says you’re burdening your kidneys if you have more protein than you get from broccoli. Do you supplement? Do your proteins have the right amino acid profile, or should you combine proteins? Is your protein complete? Are plant or animal sources more bioavailable? Do you reach for the isolate, concentrate, or hydrolysate?

To clear up some of the confusion and to help you choose what’s best for your biology, here’s an overview of protein supplements, their sources, and their processing methods and quality measures.

Absorption, digestibility, amino acids – what is this mumbo jumbo in my smoothie?

Before comparing proteins, you should know what you’re comparing. There are several ways to measure protein quality, and each measure has its own strengths and weaknesses.

The most widely accepted measures of how your body uses different types of protein are:

  1. Biological value and
  2. Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)

These are both solid measures to score a protein’s quality and bioavailability (how well your body absorbs and uses protein), and the manufacturers of your supplements are likely to have these measures printed on the label or available on request.

Every scoring system has its own benefits and shortcomings, so it’s best to check more than one quality score when deciding what protein to use.

Three ways to determine the best protein for your body

1. Biological value

Biological value (BV) is represented on a scale of 0-100, 100 being the highest bioavailability. BV determines how much of the digested protein stays in your body.

2. Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)

PDCAAS, or the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (say that five times fast!) ranges from 0-1.0, 1.0 being the most likely to meet human protein needs. PDCAAS measures the amount of protein your body flushes out, so we end up with a pretty good idea of how much your body actually uses. It accounts for the protein needs of humans, as opposed to outdated methods (for example, the protein efficiency ratio) that used the protein needs of rats as the reference point.

3. Amino acid profile

You’ll also want to look at a protein’s amino acid profile. A complete protein will contain the full range of essential amino acids (amino acids you have to get from your diet) or it will contain essential amino acids that are difficult to get from dietary sources.

A complete amino acid profile means that every amino acid makes an appearance. It doesn’t mean it has the amounts you need. The amino acids link up and synthesize proteins in the body only when they have the right partners. If an essential amino acid is available in small amounts, that amino acid limits the amount of protein you can synthesize in the body. Collagen helps balance out these proportions, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

Using these measures, let’s compare protein supplements.

Undenatured whey protein

Quality:

  • Biological Value: 104
  • PDCAAS: 1.0
  • Amino acid profile: Complete

Pros:

  • People with dairy sensitivities from milk sugar (lactose) and milk protein (casein) often tolerate whey
  • Complete amino acid profile
  • Bioavailable
  • Reverses atherosclerosis
  • Helps the liver make glutathione

Cons:

  • Heated whey doesn’t boost glutathione
  • Heating whey oxidizes cholesterol (you can easily avoid this by getting undenatured whey protein and not heating it)

Whey protein is easy to digest and contains compounds called bioactive milk peptides (BMPs) that reduce stress and improve sleep. You can buy BMPs as a standalone supplement, but you’ll save some money getting them from whey protein. Whey also contains lactoferrin, which scrubs your arteries.

Whey protein also gives your liver what it needs to produce glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant. Glutathione scavenges free radicals and helps your liver neutralize toxins, among other things. If you’re using a denatured whey protein, you can offset that loss by supplementing with glutathione.

Undenatured whey vs. whey protein isolate

Avoid whey protein isolate. The heating and refinement process denatures the protein, which destroys nutrients, eradicates growth factors and renders the protein useless to your liver for glutathione production. Plus, there are small amounts of fat found in whey, and processing into isolate form oxidizes the fat which contributes to inflammation.

Undenatured whey protein is most effective. Heat and pressure reduce the effectiveness of BMPs and researchers found that only undenatured whey boosts glutathione. When choosing a whey protein, be sure to choose one that hasn’t been processed over 180 degrees.

Because of its neutral taste and its digestibility, it’s easy to go overboard with whey. Use around two tablespoons per day, up to four if you’re working out or recovering from injury. More whey than that will give you too much cysteine and methionine, which can contribute to inflammation.

To balance amino acid ratios while upping your protein intake, combine undenatured whey and collagen protein.

Collagen

Quality:

  • Biological value: Uncertain
  • PDCAAS: 0, only because it does not contain tryptophan, otherwise it would be up there with the other animal protein sources
  • Amino acid profile: Incomplete, although it contains glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline, which are scarce in the standard American diet

Pros:

  • Gut bacteria turns collagen peptides into butyric acid which is good for digestion
  • Supports connective tissue repair
  • Improves skin appearance
  • Fills in amino acid gaps

Cons:

  • Not a stand alone protein source; must get other amino acids from food, whey, etc.
  • Heat processing reduces the benefit of collagen (no worries, you can get enzymatically processed hydrolyzed collagen)

Collagen peptides are in every tissue of your body. Supplementing collagen provides all the amino acids you need for connective tissue repair, and it thickens the skin for a more youthful appearance.

Although collagen has an incomplete amino acid profile, the amino acids it does provide fills in the gaps you commonly see in dietary protein and protein supplements.

Take whey, for example. More than four tablespoons of whey will overload cysteine and methionine, which causes inflammation. People with a higher protein requirement (athletes, people with injuries) can balance the amino acid profile of whey and avoid inflammation by adding collagen instead of adding more whey.

Bovine colostrum

Quality:

  • Biological value: Depends on the date. For mammals, biological value hovers close to 130 immediately after birth and slowly declines by 10-15% until milk production takes over.
  • PDCAAS: 1.0
  • Amino acid profile: Complete

Pros:

  • Contains growth factors
  • Boosts immune system with probiotics and antibodies
  • High bioavailability

Cons:

  • Colostrum has small amounts of lactose and casein, which may trigger reactions if you’re super sensitive
  • Expensive compared to other protein sources

When mama cow births a calf, the first thick, yellow-gold pre-milk she produces is packed with antibodies and probiotics for her growing calf at its most vulnerable stage of life.

This “liquid gold” is called colostrum. Human mothers produce it too, and that’s why initiatives have popped up in hospitals to encourage mothers to breastfeed shortly after birth. The sooner babies get protection from colostrum, the better.

Colostrum contains growth factors that trigger cell growth and DNA synthesis, which makes sense for a growing baby or calf. But do walking talking adults benefit from colostrum supplementation?

Athletes who took bovine colostrum saw an improvement in performance, a jump in measurable insulin-like-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) as well as enhanced lean body mass.

Casein protein

Quality:

  • Biological value: 77
  • PDCAAS: 1.00
  • Amino acid profile: Complete

Pros:

  • Bioavailable
  • Complete amino acid profile
  • Slow absorption rate

Cons:

  • High allergen/sensitivity risk
  • A1 casein associated with diabetes and ischemic heart disease

You already know that whey is a milk-derived protein. Casein is the other protein found in milk. A fitness industry favorite, casein absorbs slowly and the muscles readily use it for recovery.

It’s a fine choice for people who can tolerate it, but a large portion of the population reacts to casein. It’s a common allergen, autoimmune trigger and people with even a mild sensitivity can experience symptoms like digestive upset and skin issues.

There are two main types of casein protein, A1 casein, and A2 casein. The most common dairy cow breeds produce A1 casein, so that’s what you find most often in dairy products and casein protein supplements. A1 casein is associated with diabetes and ischemic heart disease.

A2 dairy products are a little more difficult to source because they come from goats and cow breeds that produce less, like Jerseys and Guernseys. You can avoid problems by finding an A2 milk derived casein protein (or skipping casein and opting for whey).

Egg protein

Quality:

  • Biological value: 100
  • PDCAAS: 1.00
  • Amino acid profile: Complete

Pros:

  • Bioavailable
  • Complete amino acid profile

Cons:

  • High allergen risk
  • Processing into supplement form oxidizes cholesterol

Eggs are highly bioavailable and have a complete amino acid profile, although egg protein supplements fall short.

Processing whole eggs into protein powder oxidizes cholesterol in the yolk. You miss out on the B vitamins, choline and omega-3s if you opt for egg white powders. You can find brands that minimize the oxidized cholesterol content in egg protein powders, but that’s an expensive form of an otherwise cheap and abundant food-based protein. So just eat pastured eggs.

You also need to watch your food sensitivities. Eggs (whites and yolks) are high on the allergen list, and people spend years unaware that they have an egg sensitivity. They miss the connection between eggs and skin problems, joint pain, or digestive discomfort.

Pea protein

Quality:

  • Biological Value: 65
  • PDCAAS: 0.893
  • Amino acid profile: Incomplete

Pros:

  • Decent protein source for vegans
  • Amino acid profile
  • Bioavailable

Cons:

  • Contains phytic acid that blocks nutrients
  • Contains lectins that trigger inflammation and autoimmune response
  • Gritty texture (varies by formula, can be masked with thickeners)

Pea proteins are sold alongside to every major protein supplement, and their popularity is rising. Though pea protein isn’t a complete protein, you can combine it with other sources to get all of the essential amino acids.

A benefit of pea protein is that it inhibits linoleic acid oxidation, and linoleic acid oxidation causes heart disease. Linoleic acid is in vegetable oils and those aren’t food, so this benefit of pea protein isn’t as much of an issue for you if you’re eating the right fats.

Plants rely heavily on chemicals to keep hungry herbivores away. The downside of pea protein is that peas produce chemicals that are bad for you to discourage you from eating them. Nuts, seeds and legumes (like peas) contain phytic acid, a substance that blocks the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium, manganese and other nutrients. Another type of chemical they produce, lectins, cause inflammation and autoimmune responses if you’re sensitive to them.

How to avoid antinutrients in pea proteins

Fresh green peas (as opposed to dried) are lower in phytic acid, because phytic acid develops when the plant goes into storage mode. Whether they knew why or not, the old timers used to soak dried grains and beans before cooking. The practice made a comeback with new knowledge of how phytic acid blocks nutrient absorption. That’s why soaking and discarding the water removes a portion of phytic acid. The bean leaches out a portion of its phytic acid before waking back up.

Manufacturers use ground dried peas to make pea protein, so storage mode is in full effect with plenty of phytic acid to protect the seed from hungry animals and post-workout humans. Some manufacturers use extra processing to remove some of the phytic acid, as well as some of the oligosaccharide – the naturally-occurring carbohydrate that gives beans their…ahem, musical qualities. Despite extra processing, a portion of phytic acid and oligosaccharides hang behind, headed for your smoothie and your body’s mineral stores.

Soy protein

Quality

  • Biological Value: 74
  • PDCAAS: 0.98-1.0
  • Amino acid profile: Complete

Pros:

  • Complete source for vegans
  • Neutral taste

Cons:

  • Non-organic soy is genetically modified and loaded with glyphosate
  • Messes with your thyroid hormones and sex hormones
  • Contains phytic acid and lectins

Vegans turn to soy to meet their protein needs owing to its complete amino acid profile. However, soy is far from perfect.

In the 1990s, soy was genetically modified to survive “extreme” amounts of the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate. Researchers have identified strong associations between glyphosate and cancer, so you want to avoid it at all costs.

Even without the deadly sprays, soy messes with your system. It has a measurable effect on your estrogen receptors and it impacts thyroid function. And since soy is a legume, you run into the same phytic acid and lectin problems that you did with pea protein.

Protein FAQs

Do vegans get enough protein?

All essential amino acids are found in plants but rarely does one plant stand alone as a complete protein. You can get all of your amino acids with careful planning, but most vegans do not map out their essential amino acids with mathematical precision.

Every now and again, you’ll find a plant that’s a complete protein. One example is quinoa–it has a complete amino acid profile, but you have phytic acid and lectins to deal with. To keep it from attacking you, you have to ferment it, and when was the last time you saw fermented quinoa on the menu? Besides, gram for gram it doesn’t have anywhere near the protein content that animal proteins have.

So yes, vegetarians can get enough protein, but it takes extreme planning. Most vegans simply do not list and check off all of the amino acids consumed each week.

Not to mention, protein pushes carbs off of the plate, which helps keep your blood glucose in check. Vegans have to be careful not to let blood sugar hit extreme highs, because extreme lows are sure to follow.

If you’re not sure how much protein you need, this guide can help.

Does protein burden the kidneys?

When you first become Bulletproof and describe to others the superhuman state you’re in, you’re going to hear it at least once:

“All that protein is so hard on your kidneys.”

First off, people fail to realize that you’ve replaced carbs with a boatload of vegetables and high-performance fats. They assume you’re eating piles of burger patties and bacon. Vegetables will keep your digestion happy, which in turn keeps your kidneys happy.

You may be eating more protein than before, and if you’re doing it right, it’s not hurting your kidneys.

Protein isn’t the golden key to your goals. It’s a piece of the big picture. You need veggies galore for their minerals, polyphenols, and antioxidants. You need the right carbs and fats at the right times. Still, getting protein right can wake up your brain, your metabolism, and your power.

Once you get going, you’ll find that it’s not as hard as your pre-Bulletproof self thought. Want a cheat sheet? This infographic can help you plan your whole-life upgrade. Thanks for reading and have an incredible week!

READ NEXT:

How to Find Your Ideal Protein Intake

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  • With a rise in vegan health foods available, we’re also seeing more rice protein supplements being used by athletes. In this article, I’ll compare whether rice protein is better than whey protein for muscle growth, repair, and performance.

    For starters, the problem we face with nutrition and supplementation is marketing hype, where companies aim to sell their supplements based on limited or incorrect information.

    This leaves us with ‘pop-up’ manufacturers promoting propaganda based on false scientific research. This often puts our health at risk just to sell a supplement.

    On top of this confusion, building and maintaining muscle can be a hard and long process. But what’s more difficult is deciding on how to structure our diet.

    We’re always asking ourselves; “What supplement will promote the best muscle building (or maintaining) benefits?”.

    For years now, we’ve been bombarded with advertising that promotes milk-derived whey protein as the most potent muscle building formula. However, new research proves otherwise.

    Research shows that ‘organic brown rice protein’ may hold the answers that we’ve been looking for. Continue reading to discover more…

    About this comparison: To make this comparison fair, I’ve compared Oryzatein®, which is a world-leading organic brown rice protein featured in the Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences. And then I’ve used whey protein – which is well studied, and it’s been in mass production for many years.

    Table of Contents

    Organic Brown Rice Protein vs Whey Protein

    Brown Rice Protein

    Organic brown rice protein is made up of a germ which contains antioxidants. Then there’s the bran, which contains the protein and trace minerals that are important for cellular growth and function.

    Finally, there’s the endosperm. This also contains a protein and starch that helps the amino acid l-leucine to be absorbed and delivered directly into the muscle.

    Due to the nature of organic brown rice protein (being non-animal based) it doesn’t create an inflammatory response. Inflammation may otherwise lead to swelling and the onset of diseases – slowing down your recovery process.

    Another good point to mention here is that brown rice protein leaves you feeling fuller for longer, minus the bloating. This is good for weight management – a.k.a fat loss and appetite control.

    As for muscle repair and performance, clinical trials show that organic brown rice protein, (the type that comes from Oryzatein®) is highly effective at muscle repair. It delivers the main muscle-building amino acid l-leucine into the muscle 30% more than whey protein. (I)

    Whey Protein

    Whey protein is relatively cheap, it contains small amounts of casein and higher amounts of l-leucine that’s been shown to promote muscle repair. (II) And it can be absorbed quickly into the muscles after exercise. Now, this may or may not be of benefit to you.

    Casein is good in the evening as it’s slow-releasing, but it often causes sleepiness through the day even when it’s digested in small amounts.

    While fast amino acid delivery is good post-exercise, it often leaves us feeling empty in the stomach. This could then cause overeating after a tough workout.

    Furthermore, most over the counter (diary) whey protein supplements aren’t organic, and may even contain banned or harmful substances such as methylhexaneamine. (III)

    Then there are allergens to consider, which are associated with uncontrolled or unstable dairy manufacturing.

    In short, dairy products take more processing and the use of natural resources to become a final product. Rice protein, on the other hand, (that comes from certified organic brown rice farms) is drug-free and safe to use.

    Digestion and Absorption Rates

    While whey protein is fast-absorbing, which makes it perfect post-exercise as it gets to work at a quicker rate, it may, however, stimulate hungry soon after. Leaving you in search of your next meal.

    The organic brown rice protein, on the other hand, has a ‘medium’ absorption rate – absorbing between whey protein and casein protein.

    This not only helps to feed your muscles evenly, but it also keeps you feeling full for longer – curbing hunger cravings, which could lead to fat loss in the long term.

    However, what we need to pay attention to is not only the absorption rates of the product itself but also the rate at which l-leucine is absorbed (the main muscle-building amino acid).

    In a groundbreaking research paper, it was shown that l-leucine can be absorbed up to 30% faster in the organic brown rice protein compared to dairy protein – at 67 minutes as opposed to 85 minutes. (IV)

    Furthermore, when using rice protein “post resistance exercise, decreases fat mass and increases lean body mass, skeletal muscle hypertrophy, power and strength” works just as effectively as whey, if not better in some cases. (V)

    Therefore, if you combine the ‘medium’ absorption rates of brown rice protein with its ‘rapid’ delivery of l-leucine, then you’ll provide your body with a more powerful muscle building, nutrient-dense, and bioavailable formula.

    This makes brown rice protein my preferred choice – and that’s why I recommend using an organic source of brown rice protein. This doesn’t mean, however, that whey protein is altogether bad.

    Benefits of Organic Rice Protein?

    Oryzatein® is the only rice protein available with 3rd-party clinical trials. These trails prove that it acts as a complete protein. The creators of this protein are even published in Nutrition Journal 2013, and the Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences 2014 & EC Nutrition 2018. (VI)

    Furthermore, organic brown rice protein that’s created by Oryzatein® isn’t mixed with any growth hormones (rbST/bGH), anabolic steroids, or antibiotics that might be associated with whey protein manufacturing.

    Another bonus is that it doesn’t contain preservatives or flavourings of a synthetic, and non-organic nature. Making it the cleanest source of protein available as a supplement.

    In summary; it’s allergen-free, certified organic by the Soil Association, environmentally sustainable practices employed, GMO-free, non-irradiated, and it’s even tested for heavy metals and mycotoxins.

    List of Benefits when using Rice Protein

    • Improved body composition – when using rice protein vs whey protein post-exercise, it will increase lean muscle growth to a greater extent whilst limiting fat gain. This is due to its low-calorie content and advanced bioavailable source of l-leucine.
    • Hypoallergenic and free of fat – No allergic reactions which cause sinus issues – Unless intolerant to grains.
    • No bloating – It’s easy on digestion, which also falls into the category of hypoallergenic – allergic reactions can take place on the skin, and inside the body from your gut which negatively affects your immune system.
    • Increased absorption of l-leucine – The main muscle-building amino acid gets delivered up to 30% more than the l-leucine found in a standard whey protein.
    • Intelligent delivery rates – It absorbs between whey protein and casein protein making it suited for any time of day.
    • No brain fog or sleepiness – Almost all why or animal milk-based proteins contain a small amount of casein (some more than others). Casein makes you sleepy and tired – this is not the case with rice protein.
    • Good for the environment – Most commonly, rice protein is better for the environment when compared to whey protein for obvious reasons (not using animals, which require large amounts of land, water and food for manufacturing).

    How is Organic Rice Protein Made?

    Oryzatein® organic brown rice protein is sourced and made using rice from certified organic farms. The company that produces Oryzatein® takes rice that’s not used by supermarkets, turning it into a highly effective protein source.

    Their manufacturing process uses fewer carbon emissions than its whey protein counterpart – where it produces a clean, eco-friendly, premium rice protein powder. This is all thanks to its ethical sourcing of their single-ingredient product, which is then tested and turned into a protein powder ready for consumption.

    This vegan and eco-friendly protein source (Oryzatein®) is the world’s first, certified organic brown rice protein powder studied to provide the same benefits of whey protein without the side effects.

    However, not all rice protein supplements are of equal quality. Others may be filled with synthetic solvents or manufactured in resulting in neurotoxic, or producing unfriendly hexanes.

    This is why I’ve used Oryzatein® as an example – as it’s been certified organic and scientifically proven to be as effective as whey protein without the side effects.

    Benefits of Whey Protein?

    Whey protein is made from milk where it’s reduced down into a fine powder. Therefore, if you consume hydrolysed whey protein (which is an even finer grain of milk protein powder) it’s easier to digest and absorb which helps muscle recovery.

    The negatives are; it can cause stomach or allergy issues as it contains lactose. Furthermore, it can also cause brain fog as it contains casein and may be contaminated with chemicals or banned substances.

    To limit these side effects, choosing a grass-fed and organic alternative should be a priority where possible.

    List of Benefits when using Whey Protein

    • Fast-acting delivery – If choosing an isolate whey protein, then you’ll get the fastest-acting whey protein available. This is good for immediately post-exercise as the rapid delivery is welcomed by nutrient-depleted muscles.
    • Contains casein – This may or may not be of benefit to you. This is because casein (even in small amounts) is slower releasing which can be good at bedtime. However, using it throughout the day may cause brain fog or sleepiness.
    • Cheap alternatives – You’ll often find cheap whey protein supplements on the market. This is because they are mass-produced and the companies are in high competition with each other. However, this often makes not only the price but the quality decrease.

    How is Whey Protein Made?

    Creating a whey protein is a complex process. First, it’s sourced from the cow (which raises many ethical and environmental questions). From there, the milk is taken to a factory where it’s sent through several complex processes.

    The first process it goes through is separation from the solid part of the cheese into the whey segment. Then, and most often, it gets transported into another factory where it goes through pasteurization and then onto filtration.

    On average, it takes a massive 720 lbs of raw material to create only 5 lbs of the final production. In other words, it requires a lot of energy and natural resources to source and transport – turning cows milk into a final product.

    There are also some manufacturers that use harsh chemicals. These chemicals denature the protein value whilst harming the micronutrients found in the raw product.

    Which Protein is Best, Organic Brown Rice or Whey?

    In my opinion, and with my own experience (along with the research surrounding the two) I would always choose organic brown rice protein where available.

    Organic brown rice protein is ethically sourced and produced. It delivers more l-leucine content than whey protein – by a massive 30% extra! and it’s safe to use in the long run, posing no health concerns (unless allergic to grains).

    Not only that, when using organic brown rice protein, you’ll feel fuller for longer without the bloating. Furthermore, you won’t suffer allergic reactions that might otherwise come from dairy as it’s lactose-free.

    Personally speaking, when using an organic protein supplement containing Oryzatein®, I had more energy and my recovery improved. I also felt lighter on my feet, and I was able to go longer without feeling hungry between meals. Because of this, I saw great improvements my in training adaptations.

    As for whey protein, it’s also been a staple in my supplement stack for many years. However, now the research is out, I question if whey protein is actually worth it in the long run.

    This leaves me asking myself; “will I’ll ever use a standard whey protein again, not just for health and performance, but also ethically and environmentally?” potentially not, because you can’t argue with the science.

    (I, IV, VI) Lowery1, Ryan P, et al. “The Effects of 8 Weeks of Whey or Rice Protein Supplementation on Body Composition and Exercise Performance.” Nutrition Journal, BioMed Central, 20 June 2013. (source)

    (II) West, Daniel W D, et al. “Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study.” Nutrients, MDPI, 11 July 2017. (source)

    (III) “Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.” Supplements Proven to Contain Banned Substances like Methylhexaneamine | Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. (source)

    (V) Rice Protein Increases Lean Body Mass, Muscle Hypertrophy, Power and Strength Comparable to Whey Protein Following Resistance Exercise. (source)

    The Complete Guide To Rice Protein Powder

    Usually, when you hear “rice,” you think of carbs, not protein. But there’s enough protein in those little grains for anyone (vegetarian or otherwise) to boost lean muscle and strength.

    Believe it or not, rice protein powder can deliver the same gains as whey, when taken in adequate amounts and complemented with other high-quality foods. In addition, rice protein is allergen- and gluten-free, easy to digest, and Earth-friendly.

    The Complete Guide To Rice Protein Powder

    If you’ve been avoiding rice products because you think of them as “carb foods,” it’s time you tapped into the power of rice protein.

    Despite its rep as a carb source, rice contains a fair amount of protein—around four grams per cup of white rice, and more than five grams per cup of brown rice. Because brown rice offers slightly more protein, most rice protein supplements are derived from it. Rice protein powder is made by grinding up rice grains and treating them with an enzyme that separates the starch (carbohydrate) from the protein.

    Rice protein is considered a medium-digesting protein. It absorbs more slowly than whey (which is the speediest one on the market), but it’s faster than casein (the slowest-digesting protein).

    Rice protein is not technically a complete protein, but, as we’ll discuss below, it contains enough of the nine essential amino acids (EAAs) to be a great plant-based muscle-builder regardless.

    What are the Benefits of Rice Protein?

    Because it’s plant-based, rice protein is a viable supplement option for vegetarians and vegans who don’t want to look like your stereotypical vegetarian or vegan (just kidding!). But even carnivores can appreciate rice protein’s various benefits.

    Helps Build Muscle

    It’s a common perception that plant-based proteins don’t support muscle and strength gains like dairy, egg, and meat sources do, but science suggests otherwise. A 2018 study had MMA fighters split into two groups and supplement with either rice protein or whey to determine the effect. After six weeks, both groups had gained muscle and lost fat, with no discernible difference between them.

    “Plant proteins are usually absorbed slower than whey protein due to their composition of more complex carbohydrate structures,” Says Ralf Jaeger, Ph.D., co-founder of the food, beverage, and supplement consulting firm Increnovo, and a co-author on multiple rice protein studies. “However, leucine, the most important amino acid for muscle building, is actually absorbed faster from rice than from whey.” (To be clear, when you take rice protein, you’re getting mostly protein, but, as with whey concentrate powders, there are usually three to four grams of carbs per serving as well.)

    No Allergens, No Gluten

    Individuals with allergies or sensitivities to soy, lactose, eggs, nuts, and gluten have nothing to worry about with rice protein.

    Sustainable and Easy on the Environment

    It takes fewer natural resources to produce rice protein than dairy proteins like whey and casein, and growing rice emits less carbon than raising cattle.

    Digests Easily

    Consuming rice protein usually does not result in bloating, cramping, or other gastric discomfort (many people can’t say the same about whey). According to research in Food Chemistry, rice protein is easier to digest than whey.

    To get a little more technical, rice protein has greater than 90% digestibility and a relatively high bioavailability (how much of the protein is actually utilized by the body). For perspective, its ratings compare favorably to soy protein and are on par with pea protein, but rice protein isn’t quite as bioavailable as whey.

    Technically, rice protein does not meet the criteria to be considered complete (and neither does hemp or pea protein, FYI). To be complete, a protein must not only contain all nine EAAs (tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine+cystine, phenylalanine+tyrosine, valine, and histidine), but also offer them in adequate amounts. Animal-derived proteins such as whey, egg, and beef have all of these aminos, and in large amounts, so they get more glory than their plant-based alternatives.

    With that said, rice protein isn’t too far off the mark. It provides all of the EAAs, but falls short on lysine. The adequate amount here is 51 mg/g of protein, and rice protein contains only 31 mg/g. Lysine plays a vital role in supporting calcium production, aiding fatty acid metabolism, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and the nurturing of connective tissues like tendons and cartilage, so it’s certainly an important amino acid to consume. Fortunately, lysine can be found in a number of other commonly-eaten foods, including red meat, pork, poultry, cheese, cod, eggs, soybeans, tofu, spirulina, and fenugreek seed.

    Lysine is also found in sufficient levels (71 mg/g) in another popular plant-based protein powder: pea protein (see our guide to pea protein HERE for more info). Interestingly, pea protein misses complete protein status by being low in only one amino acid also—methionine+cystine. Therefore, if you combine rice and pea proteins (as many plant-based protein supplements do), you’ll get all nine EAAs in adequate amounts.

    Rice Protein vs. Whey

    In a head-to-head comparison between rice protein and whey, most muscleheads would expect whey to win in a landslide—but it doesn’t.

    As discussed in our guide to pea protein article, when looking for a protein powder to help stimulate muscle protein synthesis—and, as a result, drive muscle recovery and growth—there’s one amino acid, in particular, you need to focus on: leucine. It’s one of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), but more specifically, it’s the only one that’s been found to stimulate muscle growth on its own.

    Whey contains more leucine than any other protein source, at 104 mg/g of protein. (Adequate leucine levels for complete proteins are 55 mg/g and up.) That’s why whey is widely considered the best protein for building muscle. But with that said, rice protein contains plenty of leucine in its own right, at 80 mg/g. And while it will never match the leucine content of whey, if you take in a sufficient amount of protein in your diet overall, it probably doesn’t matter. Why? Because once you reach a certain amount of leucine (achieved with only 1–2 scoops of virtually any protein powder), getting more of it provides no additional benefit.

    Here’s what the science tells us…

    It takes 0.7–3 grams of leucine per serving of a protein source to stimulate muscle growth. Take in less than 0.7, and you risk leaving gains on the table, but consuming more than 3 appears to be overkill (not harmful, but produces no additional results). Coming in at the top end of that range takes right around two scoops of rice protein, or a little less than two scoops of whey.

    So while whey does the job a bit more efficiently than rice protein, if you take two scoops of a rice protein supp post-workout, you can feel confident that you’re giving your body enough leucine to make the most of the session.

    Research bears this out, specifically a 2013 Nutrition Journal study, co-authored by Jaeger. In the experiment, subjects consumed either 48 grams of rice protein or 48 grams of whey post-workout for eight weeks while following a standardized three days per-week resistance-training program. (Forty-eight grams represents right around two scoops of protein powder, or slightly more, as most products deliver 20 grams or so per scoop.)

    Results showed that subjects in the rice and whey protein groups experienced equally positive gains in muscle thickness, body composition, and upper- and lower-body strength.

    The study shows that rice protein can be on par with whey, but it also begs the question: can you still build muscle with less rice protein—say, one scoop of rice protein instead of two? As the amount of leucine in rice is less, would taking in less rice protein cost you gains?

    Jaeger responds: “Twenty-one grams of rice protein would allow you to hit the minimum leucine threshold, and half of what we used in our study should get you there. We’re actually running exactly that study right now: 24 grams of rice protein versus 24 grams of whey. When we did the original study, plant proteins were generally considered to be not as effective for muscle protein synthesis, and we picked a dose that would safely put us over the max of the leucine threshold for both protein sources—that’s why we picked 48 grams.”

    If you want to be certain you’re doing all you can for muscle growth, aim for two scoops of rice protein to be sure it loads you up with as much leucine as whey.

    Does Rice Protein Cause Bloating?

    Many people complain that whey protein makes them feel bloated and gassy, but we haven’t found any such criticism of rice protein supplements. This is likely due to the fact that nearly all of the fiber is stripped from the rice when the starch is separated from the protein during processing. Rice is also a hypoallergenic food.

    Is Rice Protein Good for Weight Loss?

    Research looking specifically at rice protein’s effectiveness for weight loss is limited, but the 2013 study referenced above found that subjects taking rice protein experienced the same fat loss as those taking whey.

    Consistent protein intake in general has been linked to fat loss in numerous studies. High-protein foods tend to make you feel fuller than high-carb foods, and so they can help to control appetite and lead to a lower daily calorie intake.

    This seems to hold true whether the protein is plant- or animal-based. One 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed comparable weight loss results in overweight subjects following diets high in either plant proteins or animal sources.

    “Overall, protein is beneficial in increasing and maintaining weight loss due to effects on appetite regulation and energy expenditure,” says Jaeger. “It has been speculated that slow-release proteins have greater satiating effects ; however, data on this is inconclusive. This theory would favor rice over whey, as rice is more slowly digested than whey. In addition, the complex carbohydrates in rice should have a greater satiating effect than the simple sugars in whey . Either way, I would expect rice protein to be as effective as animal proteins to support weight management.”

    How Does Rice Protein Taste?

    Better than you’d think. As with whey products, rice protein powders come in a variety of appealing flavors, from vanilla to chocolate to strawberry. Rice protein is slightly sweet and mixes easily in liquids. That said, many people describe its consistency as “chalky.” If possible, purchase individual (one-serving) samples initially instead of an entire container, so you can test the flavor before you invest in a big tub of it.

    You can also mix rice protein into a smoothie with other ingredients you enjoy that can mask the powder’s flavor. Almond or coconut milk, fruit, peanut butter, and cocoa can all help cut a chalky taste and offer other nutritional benefits.

    Who Should Take Rice Protein?

    Vegetarians, vegans and anyone steering clear of dairy for any reason will want to consider rice protein in lieu of whey or casein. This holds whether you’re trying to support muscle and strength gains or just boost your overall protein intake for weight loss or health. Rice protein can be taken throughout the day just like any other protein powder. Mix a scoop into the liquid of your choice and take it with meals, or as a meal-replacement.

    Which Rice Has the Most Protein?

    Technically, brown rice contains slightly more protein than white rice, and most rice protein powders are made from brown rice. According to Jaeger, though, there’s no need to discriminate between white and brown. “The type of rice doesn’t matter,” he says, “as all same-source proteins will have similar amino acid profiles.”

    What to Look for in a Rice Protein Product

    When shopping for rice protein, you have the option of going with either a pure rice protein product, where rice is the only protein source, or a plant-based blend, where rice is one of multiple protein sources. Blends often contain pea and hemp protein in addition to rice.

    The benefit of a protein blend is that you get a more diverse amino acid profile. This would mean that you’ll get more lysine, the one EAA that’s lacking in rice protein but isn’t in, say, pea protein. But, as mentioned earlier, lysine is found in a host of other foods, so you don’t absolutely have to make sure your protein supplement covers it.

    “I personally would be looking for either straight-up rice protein or for a rice/pea protein blend,” says Jaeger, but he recommends looking for one that tastes good to you and dissolves easily.

    Get the Scoop on Protein Powders

    Whether you’re a hard-core triathlete or the average gym-goer, it’s crucial to include plenty of protein throughout the day to build strong muscles and stay full. But when scrambled eggs and chicken breasts get a little boring, protein in powdered form can come in handy.

    “While whole-food protein provides nutrients that isolated powdered proteins do not, powder supplements can be a simple and convenient way to get ample protein in your diet,” says Heidi Skolnik, a New Jersey-based sports nutritionist. “Try adding a scoop to your oatmeal or making a smoothie with 100%-percent orange juice for a full day’s supply of vitamin C, tons of potassium, and B vitamins for a post-workout snack.”

    When it comes to buying the right type, it’s easy to be confused by the tons of different powders on store shelves. Use this handy breakdown to determine which is best for your personal needs and dietary preferences.

    1. Whey: Whey is a complete protein made from milk that’s easily digestible (unless you have a lactose or dairy allergy, in which case you should steer clear). “Whey can limit muscle breakdown and help with muscle repair and rebuilding, especially when consumed within 60 minutes of your sweat session when enzyme and protein synthesis is most active,” Slonik says. “Look for whey protein isolate-not concentrate-as it contains the highest protein concentration (90 to 95 percent) and very little fat.”

    2. Casein: Another milk protein, casein is absorbed by the body much more slowly than whey, says Heather Mangieri, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “This means it’s a good choice for meal replacements, which helps you stay fuller longer, or to take right before bed when it will supply the body with protein throughout the night when you enter a catabolic state.” One downside is that casein is less water-soluble than whey, so it doesn’t mix quite as well with liquids. Look for the ingredient “calcium caseinate” on the label to ensure you’re getting the purest form of the protein.

    RELATED: Can’t consume moo juice? Find the best milk for you.

    3. Soy: As a complete plant-based protein, soy is a great option for vegans or anyone who’s lactose intolerant. However, Skolnik wouldn’t recommend soy as the sole way to get your protein since it is highly processed and some studies have linked soy consumption in women with a history of estrogen positive cancer to an increased risk of breast cancer. If you do choose soy, consume it in moderation, and be sure look for labels that read soy protein isolate, which contains more protein, isoflavones, and less cholesterol and fat compared to soy protein concentrate.

    4. Brown Rice: While rice is mostly composed of carbohydrate, it contains a small of protein, which is extracted to create brown rice protein. “However, since it’s plant-based, it’s not a complete protein, so pair it with other plant-based proteins like hemp or pea powder to complete the essential amino acid profile,” says Brendan Brazier, formulator of Vega and author of Thrive. Brown rice protein is hypo-allergic and easily digested, making it an excellent alternative for anyone with a sensitive stomach or allergies to soy or dairy.

    5. Pea: This plant-based protein is highly digestible and has a fluffy texture. “Plus pea protein is high in glutamic acid, which helps convert carbs into energy so they won’t be stored as fat,” Brazier says. Again, since pea protein is plant-based, it isn’t a complete protein so it needs to be paired with other vegan sources of protein, like brown rice or hemp.

    RELATED: Whether or not you consume dairy, you’ll love these thick, satisfying vegan smoothies.

    6. Hemp: A near-complete plant-based protein, hemp offers the inflammation-fighting power of omega-6 essential fatty acids and is high in fiber, it’s a great choice for those following a vegan diet. Some studies have also suggested hemp protein may be more helpful in weight loss, thanks to its high fiber content, than other protein powders, says Mangieri.

    The bottom line? “Dairy-based proteins like whey and casein are great choices for their muscle-building benefits as well as their bioavailable zinc and iron, if you’re not a vegan or suffer from dairy allergies,” Skolnik says. However, there’s a strong case to be made for integrating plant-based proteins into your diet as well, even if you’re not vegan or allergic. “These proteins are easily digestible and have been proven to fight inflammation and reduce muscle soreness more effectively than dairy-based proteins, which makes them a good choice for any athlete or active person,” says Brazier.

    Since one plant-based powder alone won’t offer a complete protein, look for a product that combines several to create a full amino acid profile, such as PlantFusion or Brazier’s Vega One line, which provides complete proteins, omega-3s, probiotics, greens, antioxidants, and more in each serving.

    What’s your protein powder of choice? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @Shape_Magazine.

    • By Locke Hughes @LockeVictoria

    Pea rice protein powder

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