It’s worth noting that this study was only on 11 people—which is pretty tiny as far as studies go. Not to mention, the study was funded by a research grant from Growing Naturals, the rice protein powder brand. Still, previous research comparing plant protein and whey has been consistent. A 2015 study comparing pea protein and whey protein compared the muscle strength and thickness of 160 healthy adult men before and after a 12-week trial—and found there to be no difference between the whey and pea protein groups. Read: EAT THESE MUSCLE FOODS SO YOU’RE STRONGER.
Both of these proteins have their place, depending on what you’re looking for. “Rice protein, because it’s plant-based, is great for those with dietary restrictions, allergies, or sensitivities, and because it’s lactose- and gluten-free, it’s less likely to cause inflammation,” says Lisa Booth, R.D.N., a registered dietitian and health coach for 8fit. “It contains all essential amino acids, but because it’s low in lysine, it’s not a complete protein.” As for whey: “It contains all essential amino acids and is easier for the body to absorb, but it’s not great for those who are sensitive to dairy.” At the end of the day, Booth suggests “a minimally processed, plain protein powder with a short ingredient list without added artificial sweeteners.” Read: WHY YOU GET HEARTBURN DURING EXERCISE