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Pea Protein Powder: Nutrition and Benefits

Published | 4 min read

Plant-based protein, such as pea protein, has become increasingly popular in the market. Explore the health benefits of pea protein powder.

Pea protein powder is pictured in a wooden bowl, and in a wooden spoon from a side view. Next to them is a pile of peas.

For anyone looking to increase their protein intake, there are an increasing number of options available. There are many products on the market to help you increase your protein intake, including a variety of protein powders, and protein-rich snacks, such as pea protein chips and low-carb, high-protein snack bars. 

Yes, peas are a vegetable and consequently may not spring to mind immediately in relation to protein. Still, peas are an excellent source of protein, and here’s why.

Why Do We Need Protein?

Once consumed, protein is broken down by our bodies, converted into amino acids, and absorbed. These amino acids are then used to build and replenish muscles and organs, to make antibodies and hormones, and are also stored as fat and burned as energy. 

For some, protein intake is essential to supporting their physically active pursuits, while others may recognise that their everyday diet is lacking in the essential amino acids needed for optimal health. In addition to ensuring that your diet is full of healthy, healing foods, it’s important to ensure that you take in a good nutritional balance, and this includes protein.

Many individuals have their protein intake through consumption of eggs.

What Is Pea Protein?

Peas contain an excellent source of protein, which is essentially a molecule made up of long chains of amino acids and vital to the structure, regulation, and function of the body.

Peas contain particularly easy-to-digest proteins, which are then turned into a powder that can be used as a supplement and to create protein powders and a variety of protein-rich snacks.

Types of pea protein

Pea protein is extracted from the yellow split pea and comes in three varieties:

Pea protein isolate

One of the more common forms of pea protein is known as pea protein isolate – a powder that contains only protein and amino acids. 

Pea protein isolate is particularly useful for weight loss and muscle building due to its higher concentration of protein.

Pea protein concentrate

While it may sound like a richer source of protein, pea protein concentrate actually contains less protein than pea protein isolate. It also contains a variety of additional carbs and/or fats. 

It’s ideal for wanted weight gain or as a meal replacement as it is a more rounded source of nutrition and calories.

Textured pea protein

The least processed of the three, textured pea protein is commonly used to make meat-alternative products. It’s suitable for those looking to eat less meat or completely switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Benefits of pea protein 

There are multiple health benefits, such as:

  • A high-quality source of protein, including all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot create and needs to source from food intake
  • Easy to digest and can be easier on your stomach than high-fat protein food sources, such as meat and dairy
  • Has a creamy texture, making it the preference over other options, such as whey protein, especially when making up protein shakes
  • Vegetarian and vegan-friendly
  • Good source of iron
  • Considered hypoallergenic, as it is both lactose and gluten-free
A man drinking protein drink from a transparent plastic tumbler.
One scoop of pea protein would equate to over a third of the daily protein intake requirements of a 80-kilogram man.

Nutritional snapshot

A single scoop of approximately 33 grams of pea protein powder contains around:

  • 24 grams of protein
  • 120 calories
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 1 gram of carbohydrate
  • 8 milligrams of iron
  • 330 milligrams of sodium
  • 83 milligrams of potassium
  • 43 milligrams of calcium

To put the protein content into perspective, according to Harvard studies, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. 

For example, a person weighing 80 kilograms would have an RDA of 64 grams of protein, meaning that one scoop of pea protein would equate to over a third of their daily protein intake requirements. 

Are there any downsides?

When used correctly as a supplement to your diet, there are little-to-no drawbacks. In some cases, it may cause digestive upset, but this will be specific to the individual, and is relatively rare. 

Pea protein certainly represents a lower risk of causing digestive upset than alternatives like whey or casein powders, as they contain lactose, which some people are intolerant to. 

Pea protein does include all nine essential amino acids needed for optimal health; however, it is lower in the amino acid methionine. This can be supplemented by including meat, fish, and/or dairy products in your diet.

Being an excellent protein source for majority, It is now present in a wide range of products, making it all the more convenient for adding sufficient protein to your daily diet.

Sponsored article by SafeandFair.com.

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