For a couple of decades now, the "experts" have maintained that animal proteins are superior to plant-based proteins. More specifically, whey protein has been considered the premier source of protein supplementation for athletes and weight lifters (or sometimes egg protein).
However, a new study shows that rice protein is just as good as whey protein for exercise recovery and generating changes in body composition. This is great news for vegetarians and vegans who want to be sure they get adequate protein.
Joy, JM, Lowery, RP, Wilson, JM, Purpura, M, De Souza, EO, Wilson, SMC, Kalman, DS, Dudeck, JE, Jäger, R. (2013, Jun 20). The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutrition Journal, 12:86 doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-86
The article is open access - read it here.
The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance
Jordan M Joy, Ryan P Lowery, Jacob M Wilson, Martin Purpura, Eduardo O De Souza, Stephanie MC Wilson, Douglas S Kalman, Joshua E Dudeck, Ralf Jäger
Consumption of moderate amounts of animal-derived protein has been shown to differently influence skeletal muscle hypertrophy during resistance training when compared with nitrogenous and isoenergetic amounts of plant-based protein administered in small to moderate doses. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to determine if the post-exercise consumption of rice protein isolate could increase recovery and elicit adequate changes in body composition compared to equally dosed whey protein isolate if given in large, isocaloric doses.
24 college-aged, resistance trained males were recruited for this study. Subjects were randomly and equally divided into two groups, either consuming 48 g of rice or whey protein isolate (isocaloric and isonitrogenous) on training days. Subjects trained 3 days per week for 8 weeks as a part of a daily undulating periodized resistance-training program. The rice and whey protein supplements were consumed immediately following exercise. Ratings of perceived recovery, soreness, and readiness to train were recorded prior to and following the first training session. Ultrasonography determined muscle thickness, dual emission x-ray absorptiometry determined body composition, and bench press and leg press for upper and lower body strength were recorded during weeks 0, 4, and 8. An ANOVA model was used to measure group, time, and group by time interactions. If any main effects were observed, a Tukey post-hoc was employed to locate where differences occurred.
No detectable differences were present in psychometric scores of perceived recovery, soreness, or readiness to train (p > 0.05). Significant time effects were observed in which lean body mass, muscle mass, strength and power all increased and fat mass decreased; however, no condition by time interactions were observed (p > 0.05).
Both whey and rice protein isolate administration post resistance exercise improved indices of body composition and exercise performance; however, there were no differences between the two groups.