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

Full Manuscript Published Online JUNE 2018 – EC Nutrition


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 purpose of the study was to determine the effect of rice protein vs whey protein supplementation in elite athletes undergoing high volume and or intensity training.


11 healthy male mixed martial artists were divided to receive whey protein or rice protein (made with Oryzatein®) and instructed to supplement with 3 scoops per day (75 grams of protein total), with at least 1 scoop (25g protein) being ingested after the first training session of the day.  High volume and intensity training consisted of MMA training two times a day, 5 days a week with one session per weekend and in addition, two strength and conditioning sessions per week. Differences in body composition were compared from baseline to six weeks.


After six weeks, there were no significant changes in body weight, % body fat, fat free mass (FFM), and fat mass (FM) within the whey group or within the rice protein group.   In addition, there were no significant differences between the rice and whey group for body weight, FFM, and FM. Interestingly, the rice protein group had a lower body fat % compared to the whey group, but not significantly different.


Oryzatein® rice protein may be substituted for whey protein 1:1 in products intended to build or maintain muscle mass.  Plant proteins like rice protein can be just as effective as whey for sport nutrition use.


Supplementing the diet of MMA fighters with either rice or whey protein supports the maintenance of body composition and fat free mass while undergoing high volume and intensity training. There was no benefit to one protein source over the other.

This study helps 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 in collegiate athletes.  

Check out the consumer videos produced to share the study results with consumers nationwide, while elevating rice protein’s image and sparking conversation.