Pea Protein has taken the fitness world by storm. Pea Protein is entirely gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free.
When they think of protein supplements, most people imagine powdered dairy products, but there’s a world of complete veggie proteins. You may have never heard of pea protein supplements before, or perhaps you’ve heard the farce that pea is an incomplete protein. If you didn’t bother to take the plunge and give peas a chance, then now’s the time.
It turns out that the humble pea is a power-packed veggie protein source that’s worth your attention, especially if you have specific food allergies or sensitivities.
If you exercise on a regular basis, pea protein helps provide both a pre-workout energy boost and improved post-workout muscle recovery. It has a complete array of amino acids, including high levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
While its amino acid profile is similar to whey protein, pea is particularly high in arginine, lysine, and phenylalanine. Its well-balanced profile fulfills the essential amino acid requirements outlined by the World Health Organization for adults.
At 15 grams of protein per serving, pea protein powder provides a delicious alternative source of protein for anyone but especially for vegetarians, vegans or those following restricted diets. Like our brown rice protein, it provides an array of benefits for health and fitness. As always, please consult your Physician or Registered Dietitian before adding any protein supplement to your diet.
Health Benefits of Pea Protein
Excellent Amino Acid Profile
Yellow peas supply a unique array of amino acids, the building blocks of body tissue (including skin, hair and nails), muscles, DNA/RNA, hormones, enzymes that help your body function normally, and even your immune system! Being rich in lysine and arginine, pea protein is especially beneficial for active lifestyles.
Pea protein has a high Lysine content
Lysine cannot be made in the body and must therefore be consumed through the diet. Lysine is the precursor of carnitine, the molecule responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. Lysine also appears to help absorb calcium and plays an important role in the formation of collagen-the building block of connective tissue such as bones, cartilage, skin, tendons.
It supports the normal growth and development of children and plays a role in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Lysine deficiency is rare in typical American diets but can be a risk for strict vegetarians, vegans or elite athletes. Insufficient lysine can lead to fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, slow growth, anemia, and reproductive disorders. Although the US has not set daily individual amino acid requirement levels, two studies have indicated that the estimated average requirement for lysine for a 70kg human ranges between 800-3000mg/day.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Branched Chain Amino Acids refers to the amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. Together they make up 40% of the daily requirement for essential amino acids in humans. This means they are needed in relatively greater quantities than the remaining six essential amino acids. They are so called because of their chemical structure and are primarily taken up (absorbed) and catabolized (broken down for energy) within the muscle. This makes them of particular importance to athletes or exercise enthusiasts. Despite its plant-based origin, our pea protein is a great source of BCAAs!
Iron is an integral part of human physiology and is required for the transportation of oxygen throughout the body as well as regulation of cell growth and differentiation. Plant-based foods provide a source of non-heme iron for the body to absorb. Pea protein provides 30% of the iron required per day in a single serving. Combining this product with citric acids (e.g. lemon/lime/orange juice) or lactic acid (often found in yogurts) will optimize the absorption of the iron content. In unrestricted diets, iron absorption can also be enhanced when consumed with animal-based protein. Iron absorption can be inhibited when consumed with coffee, tea or foods rich in calcium.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Yellow pea protein powder provides a supplemental source of dietary protein for vegetarians and/or vegans who cannot use animal proteins. Due to advances in protein extraction methods, yellow pea protein can successfully be extracted from the legume. Since protein is an essential macro-nutrient often lacking in vegetarians, protein powders can help fill the nutritional gap.
Some individuals simply cannot tolerate egg, milk and soy-derived protein due to allergies. For example, the milk sugar called lactose can cause severe allergic reactions that result in unwanted gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, bloating, diarrhea or vomiting. Yellow pea protein powder is suitable for almost any user. It also contains no gluten, the wheat protein that some manufacturers add to powders or products. Most yellow proteins are organic and contain little or no artificial colors, sweeteners or fillers.
Muscles are structures made mostly from protein. Intense physical training or simply every day activities can cause muscle to breakdown on a daily basis. The American College of Sport Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stresses the importance of protein and carbohydrate replenishment after any extensive strength training, strenuous activity or endurance sport in order to optimize recovery. A review of the latest guidelines for exercise and sport nutrition published in 2013 advises 20-25 grams of high quality protein after exercise to maximize recovery and benefits.
Fat burner: Thermic Effect of Protein
Proteins have a “thermic” effect, meaning that they create heat in the body through the process of digestion. Since proteins take a lot of energy to digest, you burn more calories after eating a meal high in protein. In fact, up to 30 percent of protein’s calories get burned through its digestion according to “The Abs Diet” by David Zinczenko. Building a weight loss strategy around lean sources of protein like yellow pea powder makes nutritional sense.
Blood Sugar Balance
Dietary protein has another important affect on your weight loss efforts. Blood sugar will spike in response to carbohydrate based foods meals thereby causing the pancreas to secrete the hormone insulin to facilitate the storage of circulating nutrients. Large insulin spikes that result from high or simple carbohydrate-containing meals (e.g. white rice, white bread or sweets) may trigger fat storage and may lead to insulin resistance according to “The Fat Burning Bible” by Mackie Shilstone. This can also lead to subsequent drastic drops in blood sugar which result in fatigue. Consuming or combining protein with a meal helps to regulate this blood sugar and insulin effect to potentially prevent body fat storage.tein has another important effect on your weight loss efforts.
Cooking with Pea Protein
Pea protein can be used in either hot or cold recipes. Heat will not destroy the protein, it simply denatures the protein, which means the chemical structure changes (like when eggs turn solid as they are cooked). As long as what you are cooking/baking is not burned or overcooked, the protein is still usable by the body. So feel free to add pea protein to your next batch of pancakes or vegetarian casseroles, or click below for more recipe ideas!