If you’re looking for the best pea protein powders to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Pea Protein Powders Guide.
Top 10 Pea Protein Powders
|#1||BulkSupplements Pure Pea Protein Powder||More Info|
|#2||Olympian Labs Vanilla Pea Protein||More Info|
|#3||NOW Foods Pea Protein||More Info|
|#4||Naturade Pea Protein||More Info|
|#5||Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins||More Info|
|#6||Growing Naturals Protein Powder||More Info|
|#7||Swanson 100% Certified Organic Pea Protein Powder||More Info|
|#8||Source Naturals Pea Protein Power||More Info|
|#9||Body Nutrition Gardenia All-Natural Vegan Protein||More Info|
|#10||AI Sports Nutrition NO WHEY||More Info|
Protein is a necessary and powerful element of life. Every cell in the human body contains some form of protein, and it is used to build and repair new cells. Protein sources and the essential amino acids that form them can be found in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs. Plant sources include beans, soy, ancient grains such as wheat germ and quinoa and legumes such as peas.
Protein powders have been popular among bodybuilders, athletes and veteran weight loss enthusiasts for years. The most popular forms are whey, soy and brown rice. As an alternative and vegan protein source, pea protein powder is quickly rising in popularity among athletes, health-savvy individuals, nutritionists, dieters or anyone interested in maintaining a clean and balanced lifestyle.
The guidelines in this article are based on current trends, research, publications and expert opinions. The information contained within is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare professional. Always consult your physician or a registered dietitian nutritionist before embarking on a new diet plan.
What Is Pea Protein Powder?
Pea protein powder is a high-quality, plant-based, vegan protein source made from dried, defatted and ground split green or yellow peas. It is one of the easiest forms of protein to digest, as it is generally free of allergens, dairy and gluten. Pea protein is nearly a complete protein compared to other plant-based protein powder types.
It has a naturally-occurring complete amino acid profile, including a high level of l-arginine, it contains a high level of peptides which combat the hunger hormone ghrelin, it has a high level of branched-chain amino acids, and it contains plenty of lysine, another essential amino acid which generates energy and growth. A good quality, pure pea powder will also include iron, niacin and manganese. Pea protein powder also contains about 5 grams more protein than its animal-based whey protein counterpart.
Pea Protein Nutrition (Example is per serving size of 23 grams):
- Calories: 90-120
- Carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Protein: 17-24 grams
- Fat: 0.3-2 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Vitamin D: 400 IU
- Vitamin E: 5 IU
- Vitamin K: 5 micrograms
- Vitamin A: 200 IU
Benefits of Pea Protein Powder
When the body is still growing, protein helps to fuel and build muscle. It is especially important that teens and adolescents get an adequate supply of daily protein. While protein powder is popular with bodybuilders, it is important to note that protein encourages muscle repair, but it does not actually create muscle girth.
Muscle growth occurs when muscles undergo a steady cycle of breakdown and recovery due to lifting heavy weights at increasing and regular frequency.
When starting any new exercise program, it is important to supply the body with ample protein so that you maintain lean muscle.
Whether recovering from sports injury, a tough workout or surgery, protein can help the body to rebuild and recover faster.
Protein helps to curb hunger and cravings. A diet rich in protein can also help prevent muscle loss as overall body weight is lost, so that the pounds lost are mostly fat and water.
Vegan and Vegetarian diets are often deficient in essential protein sources that would normally be found in meat, fish, dairy and eggs. A good pea protein powder can deliver a safeguard to ensure that these protein requirements are met.
Adults ages 50 and older require more protein as they age. Protein supports muscle, and muscle in turn supports bone health. Our bodies lose as much as 0.5% to 2% of total muscle annually. The combination of a protein-rich, plant-based diet and strength training can delay or stop this muscle loss.
Are There Any Side Effects?
As with any protein supplements, high levels of protein consumed within a short period can overwhelm the kidneys and liver, as these organs are forced to work harder to process the excess. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture 2010 Dietary Guidelines, Americans should increase their daily protein intake.
But most healthy adults do not need more than 10 – 14 extra grams of extra protein to meet their daily needs. With some protein powders containing as must as 80 grams of protein per serving, this surplus must be eliminated from the body too quickly and can agitate the organs that must make this effort.
Although a lean and effective method for hunger control and muscle growth, pea protein does contain calories. As with any surplus of caloric intake, weight gain may occur. It is important to read labels, watch your portions and adjust your protein levels to fit your caloric needs.
Plant-based proteins may cause gas, bloating or diarrhea in some consumers.
Since pea protein contains a high level of purines, it may increase uric acid levels in gout sufferers. Those with a history of gout may experience inflammation and joint pain associated with gout symptoms.
How to Take Pea Protein Powder
First, you should calculate the proper amount of protein that you need to meet the recommended daily requirements. This is generally based on your daily caloric intake, age and activity level. The best way to determine how much protein powder you should take is to compute how much protein you are currently getting and subtract it from your recommended daily intake. According to The American College of Sports Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you should calculate the following to determine your daily needs:
- The average sedentary adult – 0.8 grams of protein x weight in kilograms
- Moderately active adults – 1.1 – 1.4 grams of protein x weight in kilograms
- Highly active adults or those involved in competitive sports – 1.2 to 1.4 grams x weight in kilograms
- Individuals training in intense sports or sporting events – up to 2.0 grams x weight in kilograms
- Bodybuilders or those training to build muscle and endurance – up to 1.5 – 2.0 grams x weight in kilograms
There are several tools available for download onto your smartphone that you may use to calculate your daily protein intake and macronutrients, such as My Macros, MyFitnessPal and Nutritionist. Once you have determined your daily protein needs and how much protein you are getting in your diet, you can determine if you have a deficiency and then select the best pea protein powder product and serving to fill your needs.
When to Take Pea Protein Powder
Next, you should determine the best time to take your pea protein powder. Most users have been trained to believe that protein should be consumed within minutes of exercise. However, carbohydrates are the macronutrients that best fuel the body and supply glycogen to muscles immediately following a workout.
The best time to consume protein is throughout the day as a snack, and since the body can only process so much protein at once, you will need to space out the protein supplements to divide portions evenly in regular intervals. Again, the frequency of protein consumption will depend on your specific needs and activity levels.
The easiest way to prepare pea protein powder is to simply mix it in a blender or blender bottle with some liquid such as water or almond milk. Some nutritionists recommend that you combine different types of protein powder to get the most balanced amino acid profile. A great combination to try is brown rice protein powder blended with pea protein powder for a gentle, plant-based snack.
Pea protein, especially yellow pea, has a mild flavor so is perfect to use in smoothies or shakes. Just add it to your favorite smoothie recipe. Pea protein powder can also be substituted in many recipes that include protein powder, such as pancakes or cookies. There are many great recipes to try, such as the ones listed in this article by Applied Health. Pinterest is also a great resource to find new recipes.
What to Look for in a Good Pea Protein Powder
When choosing your favorite pea protein powder, look for the following:
- Gluten Free
- Soy Free
- No artificial or natural sweeteners
- At least 10 grams of protein per serving
- Choose yellow pea powder over green if using in recipes, as it has a milder flavor.
- Low sodium – Look for brands with 120 milligrams or less.
- Look for “protein concentrate” and avoid “protein isolate”. Isolates mean that the product has been chemically processed, which remove many of the quality components that naturally occur and that are so desirable in peas.