Protein, protein, protein.
People never get tired of talking about protein.
If someone has recently just started working out, we guarantee they’re talking non-stop about protein; where they get theirs, where you get yours, how much they’re eating, how it’s the most important ting for health, etc.
The truth is that protein is really not that important, even for building muscle.
The amount of protein used to create a muscle cell is not that much. Only 20% of muscle tissue is composed of muscle proteins by weight; the rest is water, polyphenols, and so on. The entire human musculoskeletal system only contains about 3-10kg of muscle, depending on your height, weight, etc.
So the people cramming hundreds and hundreds of grams of protein down their necks every day are wasting their time. Realistically, even Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t have needed any more than about 150g per day at the height of his Mr Olympia reign (he even said that this is how much he needed).
So do you need to think about protein at all?
Yes, of course you do!
Protein is not the most important thing when it comes to building muscle mass; it is behind exercise, rest, water and complex carbohydrates. But it is still definitely a factor that you need to program properly.
Food or Supplements?
Ideally, you should try to meet your protein requirements through food rather than supplements.
For some reason, people believe that protein supplements are better for building muscle; they seem to think that a protein shake contains some kind of special substance that makes their muscle grow more than they would otherwise.
In reality, the opposite is the case.
You will see much better gains getting your protein from food. We guarantee that fish, eggs, beans, and nuts will give you better gains than a whey shake twice a day!
However, supplements have a place in your diet if you are a busy person with limited access to a kitchen or good quality, fresh food.
It’s better to get some protein in than to go without food altogether, so if your choice is between supplements or nothing, it’s best to go with supplements – assuming your goal is building muscle of course.
Supplements also represent an easily-controllable way to augment your diet. You might have limited access to good quality protein (maybe you’re living out of a hotel for a while). In that case, a protein powder gives you a way to have at least some consistency in your diet – you know you’re going to get a certain amount of protein at a certain point of the day.
This raises a very good question: are all protein supplements the same?
In our opinion, they absolutely are not all the same.
Different proteins – or rather sources of protein – have drastically different make-ups. They have a different effect on the body, and they offer different benefits.
We’re going to take a look at one of the most under-appreciated, overlooked plant-based proteins: rice protein.
Right now, nothing comes close to whey in terms of popularity. But rice protein is fast becoming a favorite among vegan bodybuilders and people with lactose intolerance. Let’s take a closer look at rice protein supplements and find out why they’re so popular!
To really judge the quality of a protein supplement, we need to look at the nutritional profile.
Here is the basic overview of calories and macronutrient proportions:
As you can see, a rice protein shake contains about 100 calories and provides about 96 protein calories, or about 22g of protein in total.
Some people aren’t convinced by this alone though. They claim that rice protein has a poor amino acid profile, by which they mean that rice protein doesn’t contain all of the amino acids needed to make muscle fibers.
Here is the amino acid profile of rice protein:
Contrary to popular belief, most proteins are technically “complete”.
But even if we accept that rice protein is almost incomplete, or that it doesn’t provide much of some important amino acids, then we still don’t care.
If a food doesn’t contain every single amino acid in large quantities, then you know what you do?
YOU EAT DIFFERENT FOODS!
The only way you would need to care about whether or not proteins are complete is if you were only going to consume that protein for the rest of your life.
If you’re a normal person and you’re just looking for a nice amino acid boost after training, then you don’t need a complete protein at all; you need something low calorie, easy to digest, and delicious. Rice protein fits that bill nicely!
Rice vs Whey
If you currently use a whey protein supplement you’re probably reluctant to swap it for a plant-based powder. Whey has had a pretty spectacular PR campaign behind it for a long time, and people everywhere are convinced that it is some kind of magic bullet for building muscle mass.
But there is absolutely no evidence that whey protein is particularly good for getting results.
In fact, this study compared rice protein and whey protein directly and found that both produced similar increases in muscle mass gain relative to baseline.
So when you consider the added benefits of rice protein – the low calories, the fact that it’s plant-based, and the fact that its hypoallergenic – there’s really no reason not to give it a whirl!