Study Preview: The Body Composition Effects of Extra Protein in Elite Mixed Martial Artists Undergoing Frequent Training over a Six-Week Period


Dietary protein is key for building and maintaining muscle along with adequate physical activity. Despite the growing popularity of plant proteins many consumers have continually expressed skepticism at their effectiveness for building muscle. 

The Study:

Elite mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters from Florida’s Combat Club were enrolled in a 6-week prospective pilot study that concluded May 2017.  The objective was to examine the effects of supplementing with rice protein versus animal-derived whey protein on body weight and composition.  The study was led by Dr. Douglas Kalman and Dr. Corey Peacock, both respected sport nutrition and exercise physiology researchers.

Participants were engaged in robust MMA training sessions which were standardized to two sessions per day five days a week and one session per weekend. In addition, there were two strength and conditioning sessions per week. 

The study was poster presented at the 14th annual International Society of Sport Nutrition conference held in Phoenix, AZ. June 22-24, 2017. Full study details and results will be submitted for publication before the end of 2017. 

If results are favorable, the study will help to support the findings from the first rice versus whey study published June 2013, which showed that supplementing with rice protein was equally as effective as supplementing with whey protein for gaining muscle mass, increasing power, strength and aiding with recovery.   It will also support the notion that plant proteins like rice protein can be just as effective for sport nutrition use.