OVER THE PAST decade, there has been an increased interest in varying protein options. From protein bars and powders to additives in vegan or vegetarian prepared foods, people are focusing on the power of protein in their everyday diet. Whey and soy proteins have been the standard supplemental sources for some time, but other plant proteins have seen an increase in popularity.
Plantbased diets have been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, so many consumers have turned to these vegetarian proteins to produce the same outcomes.
Unlike many other protein powders, pea protein is not derived from 1 of the 8 most common allergenic foods (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat), allowing another option for those following restricted diets. Pea protein is derived from ground yellow split peas and often from a mechanical rather than the chemical separation of soy and whey proteins. This allows the pea protein to also retain soluble fiber, which is known to provide many benefits to both cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. Many people also appreciate that producing pea protein uses fewer resources (water and fertilizers namely) and seems to be less environmentally impactful than other proteins.
Nutritionally, peas are not technically a complete protein as most vegetarian proteins are missing at least 1 essential amino acid from their protein profile. Peas are high in lysine, the precursor to carnitine which helps convert fatty acids into energy. Lysine may also help maintain a healthy immune system. Peas are also a superior source of non-heme iron and more readily absorbed when combined with vitamin C or lactic acid.