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Does Rice Help You Build Muscle Mass?

Last updated April 29, 2016

Rice-based protein products may be a good source of building exercise-induced muscle mass in vegetarians.


Americans have seemed to develop a liking to protein in association with exercise. They have added powder-rich powder to smoothies, sprinkled it on foods, and even added it as an ingredient in cereals to build muscle mass. Current protein products on the market, such as whey protein, may cause problems for those who refrain from using animal products. Soy proteins may not be tolerated by individuals as well. These realizations have led to a need for a plant-based protein, such as derived from rice.

You might think of rice as a food rich in carbohydrates. However, about 8% of each grain of rice is made of protein. Rice protein is made by extracting and concentrating the protein to be used in powder form. Rice is rich in the amino acid leucine, which has been used to build muscle.

A study published in the Nutrition Journal in 2013 examined the effect of whey protein versus plant-based protein, such as rice, on body composition and recovery when taken after exercise. The researchers found that subjects who exercised using rice protein and whey protein experienced the same performance, elicited improved indices of body composition, and recovery. This indicates that rice-based protein may have similar beneficial effects compared to whey protein, when it comes to building muscle mass.

The study, however, was only conducted on 24 college-aged males. This small group, although it showed significant results, indicates the need for much larger studies to verify this finding.

In summary, rice-based protein products may be a good source of building exercise-induced muscle mass in vegetarians.

References:

http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/top-12-protein-filled-foods-for-your-physique/slide/10 (accessed on 04/02/2016)

http://www.caloriesecrets.net/top-10-foods-for-building-muscle/ (accessed on 04/02/2016)

http://growingnaturals.com/knowledge/our-proteins/why-rice-protein/ (accessed on 04/02/2016)

Wells J. Want Muscles? Rice is the New Meat [Internet]. CNBC; 2015 Feb 25 [cited 2015 Mar 1]. Available from: Available from: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-12-86.pdf

Joy JM, Lowery RP, Wilson JM, Purpura M, De Souza EO, Wilson SMC, Kalman DS, Dudeck JE, Jager R. The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutrition Journal. 2013;12(86):1-7.

Janssen, I., Heymsfield, S. B., Wang, Z., & Ross, R. (2000). Skeletal muscle mass and distribution in 468 men and women aged 18–88 yr. Journal of applied physiology, 89(1), 81-88.

Willett, W. (2011). Eat, drink, and be healthy: the Harvard Medical School guide to healthy eating. Simon and Schuster.

Stibbe, A. (2004). Health and the social construction of masculinity in Men’s Health magazine. Men and Masculinities, 7(1), 31-51.

Seguin, R., & Nelson, M. E. (2003). The benefits of strength training for older adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 25(3), 141-149.

Luepker, R. V., Perry, C. L., McKinlay, S. M., Nader, P. R., Parcel, G. S., Stone, E. J., ... & Kelder, S. H. (1996). Outcomes of a field trial to improve children's dietary patterns and physical activity: the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH). Jama, 275(10), 768-776.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 29, 2016
Last updated: April 29, 2016