Rice Protein vs. Rice or Rice Flour
Things may get a little confusing and overwhelming when you first enter the world of protein powders. If you are considering a plant-based protein, you have many options to choose from (pea, hemp, soy, rice, etc.) but one of the most allergen-friendly options is rice protein.
One of the most common misconceptions out there is that rice protein is the same as rice flour and therefore high in carbs. In reality, it’s not.
Rice protein is not just ground up rice (i.e. rice flour). Rice protein is a product derived from brown rice.
How Its Made
First of all, you should know that rice grains do contain protein, albeit a small amount. To make rice protein, the brown rice grains are ground up into a fine powder and then treated with enzymes. The enzymes help to break apart and separate the starch (carbs) and after most of the starch content has been removed, the remaining product is now concentrated protein. (And by the way, the starch is not wasted, it is actually used to make a brown rice syrup (aka brown rice sugar).
The nutrients your body gets from rice protein vs. rice flour are significantly different in terms of ratios. With rice protein (flavoring and sweeteners aside), your body mainly gets protein, and very small amounts of carbs and zero fat. With rice flour or whole grains, your body gets minimal amounts of protein and fat but mainly lots of carbs.
Growing Naturals Premium rice proteins contain 15-16g protein, and 3-4g carbs per serving. Serving sizes range from 20-21 grams depending on the flavor. On the other hand, it would take roughly 2.75 cups (555 grams) of cooked brown rice to get 15 grams of protein and you’d be getting 142g carbs to go with that.
Bottom line, rice protein powder is much like eating a very low-carb version of rice grains or rice flours. It can be used toward your daily protein needs.
By: Scarlett Full, in-house Registered Dietitian