Healthy Diet

What Protein is Right for You? A Look at Whey vs Rice Protein

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  • Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet
  • Both rice and whey sources can provide you with amino acids, the building blocks of protein
  • Protein is essential for efficient athlete recovery

When picking a protein supplement, you have plenty on the market to choose from. But it’s important to know that not all proteins are created equal. With the popularity of both plant-derived proteins (rice, pea or hemp) and whey proteins it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of different products so you can decide which is best for you.

Whey Versus Rice Protein: What to Know

What is Protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient that forms a key component of the human diet. It is scientifically proven to increase muscle mass, maintain current muscle tissue size and help strengthen bones. Because protein is a component of all our major body tissues, a protein deficiency has been shown to seriously affect the body, including the brain, gut, kidneys and immune system.

Protein is composed of small building blocks known as amino acids. After a hard workout, these amino acids get to work to help us recover and rebuild our muscles. But that process requires both good quality rest and a high-quality protein intake.

Recently, the market for protein supplements to aid athletes in recovery has grown enormously. Protein sources are diverse and include plant-based supplements, including rice, pea, hemp and soy. On the other hand, whey protein, derived from cow’s milk, has long been been the gold standard, providing a simple but excellent source of extra dietary protein and containing all essential amino acids. For some people, though, a plant-sourced protein may provide a good alternative.

Where They Come From

Brown rice protein is often from whole, sprouted rice grains, with the process of sprouting eliminating anti-nutrients commonly associated with grains, such as phytic acid. Once the brown rice is sprouted, protein is gently extracted. The brown rice protein serves as a whole protein source, containing a very similar amino acid composition or profile to that of breast milk. It is also particularly high in leucine, a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) which is crucial for kickstarting effective muscle recovery.

By contrast, whey protein is derived from dairy and is therefore animal protein. The product is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, a liquid formed once milk has been separated into curds (solid) and whey (liquid). The whey is then dehydrated to form whey protein powder. Whey protein provides a full or complete amino acid profile, meaning that it includes all of the essential amino acids, in adequate amounts, needed by the body.

However, it’s important to know that not all whey proteins are created equal. Firstly, you may come across different types of whey — for example, whey protein concentrate, whey isolate or hydrolysed whey protein. These describe the level of processing that the whey undergoes. Whey concentrate and whey isolate are whole proteins, whereas hydrolysates have been partially broken down by exposing the proteins to heat, acid or enzymes that break apart the bonds between the amino acids.

Puori PW1 challenges the status quo. PW1 is a minimally processed whey protein concentrate. In Europe this means we source organic whey protein, ensuring the products are pesticide free. In the US, we use the highest quality grass-fed protein.

Lower quality whey products are created from poor quality milk from intensively-farmed cows with little or no access to sunlight or grass meadows.

Additionally, Puori PW1 uses a small amount of coconut sugar for taste, but all artificial sweeteners are avoided. A common flaw of many whey protein brands is that artificial sweeteners, including sucralose or aspartame, are used.

Why Choose Plant-Based Protein?

Firstly, the bran layer of the rice grain (the outer skin) contains important antioxidants, B vitamins and fibre, which add to the great benefits of the protein source, as fiber is important for healthy digestion.

Also, as whey protein is a derivative of milk, some individuals (specifically those lacking lactase production, an enzyme which is responsible for digesting milk sugar) are left with undigested lactose, which moves through the stomach and into the intestines where it ferments.

Why Choose Whey Protein?

On the other hand, Puori PW1 delivers between 70% and 85% protein (depending on the flavor you choose), which equates to 18-20g of protein per 30g serving. This is more than can be delivered by any plant-based protein source and thus gives you great value for money. Our whey protein is also absorbed very quickly. Not only that, but the mixability of Puori PW1 protein is fantastic — great news if you’re on the go. We don’t add any additives or artificial ingredients to increase solubility, so be sure to give it a good blend or shake it up well in a shaker for optimum consistency.

The Choice is Yours

Which Puori protein supplement should you choose? For some of us, the choice between whey or plant-based protein will be easy – it will be based on dietary or training preferences, food allergies and even taste preferences. However, the important thing is to ensure that you purchase a high-quality supplement with minimal additives and low levels of contaminants. In fact, Puori PW1 Vanilla was awarded the number one spot in The Clean Label Project’s ranking of protein supplements.

PW1 is available now.