Search IconSearch

What To Know About Brown Rice Protein Powder

It’s nutritious, offers fiber, antioxidants and protein, and is good for food sensitivities

brown rice powder with scoop

“Protein” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of brown rice. Most people think of brown rice as a carb (although a healthy one). But you might be surprised to learn that brown rice is more than just a whole grain. It also has a significant amount of protein.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Brown rice protein powder isn’t as well-known as whey, soy, casein or even pea protein powder, but it offers some notable benefits. “And it’s a good option if you have food allergies or can’t tolerate other types of protein powder,” says registered dietitian Kayla Kopp, RD, LD.

How much protein is in brown rice?

One cup of cooked brown rice has about 5.5 grams of protein. That’s about 10% of the protein a healthy adult weighing about 140 pounds should eat daily, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Is brown rice a complete protein?

A complete protein supplies all nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Your body can’t make these amino acids. They’re called “essential” because you must get them from food.

The protein in brown rice isn’t a complete protein because it doesn’t provide all the essential amino acids. But Kopp says that as long as you eat a variety of healthy foods, you should get enough of the nine essential amino acids.

So, is brown rice protein powder as good as alternatives when it comes to amino acid content? Yes, according to a study comparing brown rice, soy and whey proteins. The researchers analyzed the amino acids each protein provided. They found that brown rice protein is an acceptable substitute for soy or whey protein.

Brown rice protein benefits

So, what does brown rice protein have to offer? Here are some of its benefits:

  • Plant protein: Brown rice protein is plant-based, making it suitable for people eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. Egg, whey and casein protein powders come from animal sources.
  • Allergies and sensitivities: Allergies to rice are relatively rare, which makes brown rice protein a safe option for many people with food allergies and sensitivities. Brown rice protein is dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free.
  • Weight loss: One lab study suggests that brown rice protein is better than white rice protein and soy protein for controlling weight gain.
  • Liver health and cholesterol: The same lab study found that eating brown rice protein led to a higher expression of a gene that controls an enzyme that processes cholesterol. Those in the brown rice protein group also had lower liver cholesterol.


Brown rice protein powder side effects

There aren’t any known harmful side effects of brown rice protein. “However, a diet with too much protein can be harmful in some cases,” notes Kopp.

This is because eating too much protein over the long term can actually damage your kidneys. The recommended daily protein intake is 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per 1 kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of body weight. If you weigh 165 pounds (75 kilos), that’s about 60 to 75 grams of protein. If you’re active or trying to build muscle, you may want to eat a bit more than this. You can work with a registered dietitian to determine your specific protein needs.

Brown rice protein vs. pea protein

Trying to decide between brown rice protein and pea protein? Here are some things you may want to consider:

  • Protein content: Per serving, most brown rice protein powders and pea protein powders have similar amounts of protein. Exact amounts vary from one product to the next.
  • Plant-based: Brown rice protein and pea protein are both made from plants, making them suitable for people eating a vegetarian or vegan diet and those who prefer more plant-based foods.
  • Digestion and allergies: Both proteins are relatively easy to digest and usually come in gluten-free, dairy-free formulations.
  • Fiber and antioxidants: Depending on the brand and formulation of the protein powder, brown rice may offer more fiber and antioxidants than pea protein powder.
  • Complete protein: If you’re concerned about getting complete proteins in your diet, pea is a better choice because it contains all nine essential amino acids. But you can find brown rice protein powders that contain other ingredients to supply the missing amino acids, making the product a complete protein.
  • Taste: Pea protein powder has a more neutral flavor than brown rice protein powder, so you may prefer pea protein for blending into your smoothies and drinks.

Other protein powder options include:

Protein powders provide a quick, convenient way to get a nutrition boost, says Kopp. There are endless ways to customize them in tasty smoothies. Just blend the powder of your choice with a combination of fruits, veggies, yogurt, nuts, seeds or spices.


Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Person contemplating healthy food choices with protein
June 7, 2024/Nutrition
How Much Protein Do You Need? And How To Get It

The general rule is 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight — but that may not be right for you

smoothie with acheta protein powder in scoop
January 24, 2024/Nutrition
What Is Acheta Protein? What To Know About Eating Crickets

This edible insect powder can be a good source of protein, fiber and other nutrients

person with cut loaf of ezekiel bread
October 19, 2023/Nutrition
What Is Ezekiel Bread?

Made from sprouted whole grains and legumes, it’s low calorie and full of fiber and protein

bowl of cooked tofu
September 14, 2023/Nutrition
5 Reasons To Eat More Tofu

A protein powerhouse, tofu builds muscle, protects your heart and lowers cancer risk

Samples of healthy protein; shown are nuts, seeds, and salmon, displayed on a bluish white marble table.
July 20, 2023/Nutrition
Plate Debate: What Are the Best and Worst Sources of Protein?

Some options like chicken breast and beans are better for you than processed meats or dairy

pouring dairy milk into glass
July 13, 2023/Nutrition
4 Benefits of Casein

Protect and build muscle while getting essential amino acids and calcium with this protein

jar and spoonful of quinoa
June 30, 2023/Nutrition
The Health Benefits of Quinoa

This versatile seed is packed with protein and fiber to ward off hunger

Bacon, sausage links and eggs
June 15, 2023/Nutrition
Yes, You Can Definitely Eat Too Much Protein

Going overboard on protein can lead to weight gain and kidney damage, among other issues

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims