The Power of Pea Protein: Everything You Should Know
11 min read
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If you’re trying to find a way to incorporate more protein into your diet, you’ve landed on the right page.
Pea protein is not only an excellent source of protein, it’s also rich in fibre and packed with iron. So what else is there to know about it?
Keep reading to find out!
Pea Protein Powder: The Basics
Pea protein powders, also known as pea protein isolate, are the product of yellow peas. The protein is extracted from ground peas, which forms a beige-colored powder.
Apart from the fact that it contains protein, this product also contains all nine essential amino acids. These are vital for bodily functions including building hormones, proteins and neurotransmitters. The body is unable to create these essential amino acids, so the only access to them is through the foods we consume.
Pea protein powder is a lot more environmentally friendly and sustainable than other protein products. For example, whey protein is a product of cow's milk, but pea protein comes from yellow split peas that do not impact the environment the way raising cattle does.
Pea Protein vs Pea Protein Isolate
So why do we use the word ‘isolate’ and what does it mean?
Pea protein refers to the protein content found in a whole pea. Protein isolate refers to the product created from extracting this protein. Therefore the protein consumed from both is pretty much the same, it is the process that is different.
Pea Protein & Weight Loss
Pea protein powder is a fantastic meal replacement protein if you are beginning your weight loss journey. While this alone won’t shave off the pounds overnight, it may suppress feelings of hunger which will inevitably reduce your calorie intake. Take a look at how else pea protein can benefit your health.
Helps Build Muscle Mass
There is some research to suggest that consuming pea protein powder is ideal for building muscle mass when coupled with weight training.
One particular study focused on a group of men consuming 50g of pea protein a day. When paired with weight lifting, the group of 12 men gained just as much muscle as those consuming an equivalent amount of whey protein. We will take a look at the similarities and differences between pea protein and whey protein further down this article.
Promotes Heart Health
There are a number of studies to show that consuming pea protein powder can reduce certain risk factors of heart disease.
Research suggests that taking just 3g of pea protein hydrolysate a day can effectively lower blood pressure.
The same animal study showed that rats consuming pea protein hydrolysate (protein powder that is partially digested containing much smaller proteins) had an overall lowered blood pressure reading.
Keeps You Feeling Full
There is evidence to suggest that protein makes us feel full for much longer as opposed to eating fats and carbohydrates. This feeling of fullness means you are less likely to consume unnecessary calories which is why pea protein powder is so effective for weight loss.
Benefits of Pea Protein
So what is the hype with pea protein? Let’s find out by taking a look at the benefits of this protein-packed powder.
Calorie shifting, or cycling, can enhance results by balancing the hormones. Restricting calories reduces hormone levels and tricks the brain into thinking the body is falling into 'starvation mode' which we will move onto now.
Rich in Iron
Iron is an essential mineral that is needed to deliver oxygen to every part of the body. Without getting too scientific, iron is used to make hemoglobin which transports oxygen to the red blood cells. Therefore, it is easy to see why pea protein is a great choice if you need to up your iron levels.
Easy To Digest
Protein can be found in meats such as chicken, turkey and beef. However, these products take longer to digest and can leave you feeling bloated and heavy. Pea protein is much easier on the stomach - and you don’t have to cook it!
Pea protein is a vegan protein as it contains no animal ingredients. This is ideal if you are vegan, vegetarian, or simply want to add more plant-based foods to your diet.
Gluten and Lactose-Free
Another bonus is that it’s hypoallergenic (is there anything pea protein can’t do?). So if you suffer from allergies then this may be a good choice for you.this supplement is advised.
Potential Downsides of Pea Protein
There aren’t many drawbacks when it comes to consuming pea protein. However, it is worth knowing about potential side effects.
May Contain Hidden Chemicals
We recommend investing in a high-quality brand of pea protein. The process that some manufacturers use to isolate the protein from peas can lead to contamination from chemical fertilizers, solvents and other hazardous ingredients.
Potential Allergic Reaction
There is a chance you may be unknowingly allergic to peas. In this case, you may want to consume a small amount beforehand.
Processing peas into protein contains purines. This can be problematic for some people, particularly if you suffer with gout. Speaking to your doctor, or another healthcare provider beforehand you take this supplement is advised.
Different Types of Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein powder can be consumed in 3 different ways. Each provides an array of different and similar benefits. Let’s take a look at the 3 different types of pea protein powder.
1. Isolated Pea Protein Powder
Also known as pea protein isolate, isolated pea protein powder is ideal if you are looking for a supplement containing all nine amino acids.
Isolated pea protein powder is an ideal supplement for weight loss and building muscle. Rich in iron, this type of pea protein is great if you are looking to diet without needing additional carbohydrates.
2. Textured Pea Protein Powder
This kind of pea protein powder is rarely used as a supplement the way the others are. In fact, textured pea protein powder is generally used to create plant-based meat products.
Textured pea protein powder is not readily available to purchase in stores as it is not made to be taken as a supplement.
3. Concentrated Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein supplements are great for weight loss, but they can also be taken if you want to gain weight too.
Concentrated pea protein powder contains less protein than the other types. Instead, it’s filled with carbs, fats and branched-chain amino acids.
This is the best kind of pea protein if you’re looking to up your protein intake and don’t mind some extra carbs. Keep in mind that concentrated pea protein tends to be more gritty and less soluble than pea protein isolate.
Pea Protein vs Whey Protein: What’s The Difference?
Whey protein is a popular choice when it comes to choosing supplements. So what are the similarities and differences between the two? Let’s take a look.
How Are They Processed?
Yellow split peas are used for extracting pea protein. The process involves removing the shell of the pea before milling the pea itself.
Whey protein is the product of dried milk mixed with enzymes. This process separates the whey which is then dried and forms into a powder
What Are The Similarities?
Both kinds of protein powder contain essential amino acids that are needed for stimulating muscle growth, stabilizing metabolism and building elastin and collagen. Although it must be said that whey protein has a complete amino acid profile, whereas pea protein is slightly short of being complete though not far off. This can be easily mitigated by combining it with a complementary protein source like brown rice protein or a blend of other plant proteins.
Like pea protein, whey protein is an excellent source of protein and is rich in iron. In fact, whey protein has a slightly higher iron content than pea protein powder.
Another similarity is that both are extremely versatile and can be used in smoothies, pancakes, muffins and oatmeal.
When Should You Take Pea Protein Powder?
Many people tend to consume protein shakes after a workout routine. This is because when we work out, the fibers of our muscles tear slightly (which is the reason your muscles ache after a hardcore workout). Protein essentially repairs these muscle tears and over time, you develop lean muscle mass.
A great time to consume pea protein powder is just before you go to bed. Protein takes a long time to digest when compared to other nutrients, so consuming a pea protein shake before you go to sleep will keep you feeling full through the night.
For more information, check out this article which is all about why drinking protein shakes before bed may be beneficial.
First and foremost, pea protein is an earth-friendly, vegan choice. As discussed earlier, whey protein is a by-product of milk which therefore makes it an animal product and requires a lot more natural resources to produce.
Overall, whey protein contains less sodium than pea protein. While we do need a certain amount of sodium, too much can be harmful for our organs.
Pea protein is easily digested whereas whey protein takes longer to digest. This is due to the fact that pea protein is both lactose and gluten free.
Whey protein can also be problematic for a host of other reasons, which we go into further detail about in our “4 Reasons to Ditch Dairy & Wave Goodbye to Whey” blog post.
The Final Say
Pea protein powder, or pea protein isolate, is a convenient way to add more protein to your diet and curb hunger. Apart from being rich in iron and fiber, pea protein also has other health benefits that ultimately help us to lead a long and healthy life.
Why not take a look around our website for more information about how our plant-based meal shakes can be used to kickstart your healthy transformation.
Beyond your basic protein shake, these products do a whole lot more to boost metabolism, build lean muscle, and keep you nourished than any basic protein shake out there.
Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on https://lyfefuel.com/. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.