If you’re looking to speed up your progress towards your weight-loss goals whilst nourishing your body, augmenting your protein intake with the right plant-based protein supplement might just be the solution for you.
Vegan protein sources are becoming increasingly popular among both gym-goers and health-conscious individuals. But despite their proven benefits, there still is a general misconception about all vegan proteins being “incomplete” — or, in other words, lacking sufficient amino acid content to support healthy bodily functions.
Though slightly less common than other plant-based proteins, pea protein is one of the very best vegan proteins out there. Not only is it hypoallergenic, but it’s also naturally gluten-free, has a lower glycemic index, is rich in plant-based iron, and is low in carbohydrates — all without sacrificing the protein content. If you’re considering switching to vegan protein powders, here’s why you should try pea protein.
Pea Protein Is a “Complete” Protein
To understand what a “complete” protein is, let’s discuss amino acids first.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and they make up a great proportion of the body’s cells, muscles, and tissues. The body requires 21 amino acids to stay alive — of these, nine cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from food. They’re called essential amino acids (EAAs): histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
If a source of protein contains all essential amino acids, it’s called a “complete” protein. Pea protein is the only vegan protein to have a complete amino acid profile — it’s rich in all nine essential amino acids, and also contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which play an important role in protein synthesis. About 20% of the amino acids in pea protein are BCAAs, compared to 25% in whey protein, which is the most popular protein source.
Moreover, pea protein is exceptionally high in lysine, the amino acid that is responsible for building connective tissue like skin, cartilage, and bones. Despite its competitive amino acid profile, rice protein is low in lysine, while hemp protein is considerably lacking adequate amounts of EAAs.
Pea Protein Is Almost Pure Protein
A cup of peas contains just under 9 grams of protein. Similarly, a 30-gram serving of pea protein isolate provides 23 grams of protein, as well as 7 grams carbohydrate, 0.3 grams fat, and 6 grams fiber. Pea protein isolate is about 85% protein, 7% fat, 3% carbohydrate, and 5% vitamins and minerals — very comparable to whey protein, which is about 90% protein.
Pea Protein Has a Neutral Taste
Pea protein is well-known for its neutral taste, which makes it ideal for adding to a smoothie or other drinks to augment your protein intake. By comparison, brown rice protein has a rather unpleasant taste, usually described as “faintly reminiscent of cardboard and air,” as well as a dry and chalky consistency. Hemp protein has an overwhelmingly earthy taste, which you may find less appetising.
Pea Protein Is Easy on the Stomach
Pea protein is naturally gluten-free, and doesn’t contain any lactose, unlike whey or casein. This means that you can consume pea protein on a regular basis even if you’re lactose intolerant or suffer from specific conditions such as the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that require minimal gluten consumption.
Peas undergo processing to remove most of the fiber and starch content, which helps to prevent uncomfortable symptoms, like bloating and meteorism (gas), associated with high-fiber foods.
Whether you want to watch your carb intake, boost your metabolism, or simply make a positive change to your health, pea protein, and specifically non-GMO Belgian golden pea protein extracted through a natural process to ensure high bio-availability, is a great way to start.