Update: Leucine, Whey and Rice Protein

On June 17, I made a post about a study that had found that rice protein was as effective at increasing muscle mass as whey protein (see Leucine, Whey and Rice Protein). The study was described in a press release, I never found an actual published paper on it.

Pete from VeganBodyBuilding.org pointed out a podcast in which one of the researchers who conducted the study, Jacob Wilson, says that the press release is misleading (click here for the podcast, the part I’m referring to is in the first few minutes).

Dr. Wilson says that because the study used so much protein powder, 48 g of protein to be exact, there was enough leucine provided by the rice protein to achieve similar results to the whey protein. He says that at a lower protein amount, such as 25 g, whey protein is superior because of it’s higher leucine content which has been shown in many studies. From what I could gather, Dr. Wilson considers 3 g of leucine to be necessary to begin muscle synthesis in any given serving of protein.

7 Responses to “Update: Leucine, Whey and Rice Protein”

  1. Dima Says:

    Jack, here’s the study: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/86

  2. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Thanks, Dima.

  3. Dan Says:

    I am thinking that vital wheat gluten (minimum 75% protein and virtually no carbs) would be a useful source of protein for vegan bodybuilders, unless they have gluten-sensitive enteropathy (celiac disease). This source is 6.8% leucine, so 3/8th of a cup would provide 3 grams of leucine.

  4. Reader Says:

    Hey Jack, I just saw something and thought you could use the heads-up too. Someone’s promoting a vegan baby formula recipe that *also* follows a whole bunch of other weight-LOSS trends: http://naturesraworganics.blogspot.com/2012/07/finally-100-raworganic-vegan-baby.html (raw! chia seeds! superfruits!). The blogger touts the vitamins and minerals and fatty acids but says little about *calories*…

  5. Jack Norris RD Says:


    That’s frightening.

  6. Reader Says:

    Thank you for noticing, seriously. When I read that I knew I had to tell *someone* who’s inside vegan circles and knows what’s what, and then I remembered your blog.

    BTW, did you see the comments thread there? I bet the writer of http://naturesraworganics.blogspot.com/2012/07/finally-100-raworganic-vegan-baby.html?showComment=1372199017445#c5945517079219879817 is very, very ignorant about children who get poisoned and die within hours instead of still being alive generations later like many kids who were vaccinated are…

  7. TheVeganScientist Says:

    All the hype about Leucine has to do with its reported activation of the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signalling pathway, which increases protein synthesis, mitosis and a number of other growth parameters. It’s been shown that leucine does activate mTOR and increase post-workout anabolic activity, but I haven’t seen any papers that connects these molecular observations to real world gains.

    Google mTOR and Leucine and you will find tons of papers on this subject.
    Here’s one:


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