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Rice Protein for Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Rice Protein for Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

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Expert Review By: Steven Cleark&

Vegans and vegetarians have dietary restrictions. They do not partake in a range of animal products and are mostly reliant on plant-based proteins such as soy, pea, hemp, and brown rice as sources of health supplements. Our focus today is rice protein, one of vegans' and vegetarians' most common protein sources. Let's find out what rice protein is and how it can help you achieve your dietary or workout supplementation goals. 

Introduction to Rice Protein

What is Rice Protein?

Rice protein is a plant-based protein obtained from brown rice. It contains all the essential amino acids required for the proper functioning of the body, the only downside being its low concentrations of lysine, an amino acid known to promote fat transportation across the cells. Like whey protein, rice protein is also available in concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate forms. 

Benefits of Rice Protein

  • Rice protein has most of the amino acids the body can't produce; therefore, it qualifies as a quality source of protein for vegans.  
  • Protein is a macronutrient known for its many benefits, including faster muscle recovery and weight management 
  • Additionally, rice protein is environmentally sustainable, as it is derived from a naturally growing plant. 
  • This plant-based protein is also recommended for people with allergies, given its hypoallergenic property, making it your best bet if you have a problem with whey protein consumption. 
  • Lastly, rice protein is easy to digest and can supply the body with a near-instant nutrient boost, which you need during physically demanding activities. 

Rice Protein Vs. Other Plant-Based Protein

We will compare rice protein with three main plant-based proteins, i.e., pea, soy, and hemp, to see how it fairs. 

Pea Protein

Pea protein is obtained from pea plants, and like rice protein, it is hypo-allergenic, gluten-free, and easily digestible. The only difference is that pea protein contains higher amounts of lysine, an amino acid low in rice protein.

Soy Protein

Soy protein is obtained from soybeans. It is generally considered one of the best protein sources in plant-based diets, given that it has a complete amino acid profile. However, soy is not hypoallergenic like rice protein, as it causes an allergic reaction in some people. Besides that, it is a better protein source than rice protein. 

Hemp Protein

Hemp is a complete protein source, just like soy and pea protein. Its amino acid profile is almost similar to that of rice protein, and the only difference comes in its lysine content, which is way higher than that of rice protein. 

All in all, rice protein is still a good source of essential amino acids. 

Rice Protein for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Rice protein is a common inclusion in vegetarian and vegan diets, which are usually plant-based. A plant-based diet excludes animal products because of health and ethical reasons. However, such vegan diets require protein supplementation to ensure they have  essential amino acids, including the BCAAs lysine, isoleucine, and valine. 

Rice Protein as a Supplement for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Rice protein can be an excellent supplement for vegetarian and vegan diets, which are mostly plant-based. This is because it has reasonable quantities of essential amino acids(save for lysine, which can be obtained from other plant-based protein sources such as peas). It is also quite convenient, as it is obtained from a naturally growing plant. Lastly, rice protein supports muscle growth and recovery thanks to its relatively high concentration of leucine, an amino acid known to boost muscle growth and recovery through muscle protein synthesis. 

Rice Protein Nutritional Information

Rice protein comes from brown rice, which contains  20-25 grams of protein in one scoop. It is low in carbohydrates and fats, approximately 1 gram of each per serving.  Most of its carbohydrate content comes from starch- a combination of long glucose chains such as amylose. Additionally, this protein has several vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and B vitamins, all needed for proper body functioning. 

Though rice protein is typically low in lysine (one of the essential amino acids), good brands’ rice protein products improve their amino acid profile by fortifying additional amino acids. 

Rice protein allergens

Rice protein is hypoallergenic, i.e., it contains no common allergens. It is free of gluten, nuts, dairy, and soy, making it one of the best protein sources for people with allergies. 

Rice Protein Recipes

For breakfast, you can make rice protein pancakes, oatmeal, and muffins, or get creative and go for a rice protein smoothie bowl. For main courses, consider making rice protein pasta, tacos, burgers, or stir-fry. These are all healthy options that can boost your body's protein intake. 

Side Effects of Rice Protein

Rice protein is generally safe because it is a natural protein source devoid of gluten, dairy, nuts, or soy. However, watch out for stomach issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and side effects such as excess fat (due to its relatively high carb content), blood pressure, nausea, and kidney issues. Discontinue usage and visit a healthcare specialist or physician immediately if you notice any of the above side effects. 


Rice protein is an excellent plant-based protein. Despite its low lysine content, it can still supplement plant-based diets, which are generally low in amino acids compared to animal-based diets. Its benefits include muscle growth, recovery support, and ready availability. Consider trying it if you are switching to plant-based diets.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Rice Protein Made From?

    As the name suggests, rice protein is made from rice, brown rice, to be specific.

  • Is Rice Protein Safe For People With Gluten Intolerance?

    Yes, rice protein has no gluten content, making it safe for those with gluten intolerance.

  • How Much Rice Protein Should I Take Daily?

    Daily supplementation of 1-2 scoops of rice protein powder, roughly 25-50g, is enough to help you achieve your goals.

  • Can Children Consume Rice Protein?

    Rice protein is a relatively safe protein source, which children can also consume.

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