MMA Fighter Study Shows Plant-Based Protein Is Equal To Whey


2 Minutes Read

Bantamweight fighter Andre Soukhamthath 'loved' the brown-rice protein (Photo: Instagram) - Media Credit:

A study
conducted with MMA fighters has shown that brown-rice protein and whey protein had
the same effects on building and maintaining muscle mass.

The study, titled The Body Composition Effects of Extra Protein in Elite Mixed Martial Artists Undergoing Frequent Training Over a Six-Week Period, was led by Douglas Kalman, PhD, RD, FACN, FISSN and Sports Nutritionist Alison Escalante RD out of Florida International University. 


Over six weeks,
the study compared two groups of fighters – called ‘Team Plant’ and ‘Team
Animal’ – and used ultrasound technology to calculate their body composition.

participant consumed three scoops of protein a day, while maintaining their
usual diet and training regimen.

This research was the first time a comparison of plant protein and animal-based whey protein was studied specifically in pro athletes.

‘Works just
as well’

Dr. Kalman said: “The study concluded that supplementing the diet of elite-level mixed martial artists with an average of 0.41 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight helps to maintain their lean body mass while undergoing high volume and intensity training. 

“There were no additional benefits of one protein source over the other as both whey and rice protein provided statistically similar results.

addition, we tended to see that body fat was reduced in the rice protein group
as well while muscle was maintained.”

‘Loved’ it

Bantamweight Fighter Andre Soukhamthath – a member of ‘Team Plant’ – said he
loved the brown-rice protein, and that it kept him four to five pounds lighter.

He added: “When
you’re on a diet and you’re watching your carbs, you’re low on energy. 

where the plant protein came in. It’s a protein that gave me energy and made me
feel full so I didn’t want to add to my diet.”

‘No doubt
that it works’

members of ‘Team Animal’ are interested in the plant protein – UFC
Featherweight Chas Skelly wants to try it himself.

He said: “Obviously
the results are there, so there’s no doubt that it works.”

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