Nowadays, getting protein from different sources is often recommended to ensure one gets all the essential and non-essential amino acids the body needs. One protein source that is slowly gaining popularity is pea protein. But what is pea protein, and how does it compare to one of the most popular sources, collagen? Keep on reading to learn more.
What is Pea Protein?
Pea protein comes from the extract of split peas; during the process, the fiber and starches are extracted so the only thing left is the protein. Pea protein is free of the common allergens, such as dairy and gluten, making it easy to digest and safe for most people with allergies. It’s also a great alternative for vegetarians and those opting for plant-based diets.
Peas have protein, we know that much. However, peas are not considered a complete protein source. Complete proteins are those that contain the nine essential amino acids, which are the amino acids that the body cannot produce naturally and have to be obtained through our diets. Although pea protein contains all essential amino acids, it’s not a complete protein source because of its low content of methionine. Not only do complete protein sources have to contain all essential amino acids, but they also need to have the right concentration. So, this little detail is actually a big deal when it comes to choosing a protein supplement.
In regard to the benefits of pea protein, there are numerous. Since pea protein is free of the common allergens, it does not cause bloating and is recommended for individuals with digestive issues. This is primarily why many individuals opt for pea protein.
Being a legume, peas are generally hard to digest. Nonetheless, thanks to the process of extraction, pea protein is very easy to digest (although it doesn’t absorb as rapidly as other sources of protein).
Pea protein is also high in iron; however, it is not as biologically available as other protein sources. In order to maximize the absorption of iron, it must be complemented with a source of Vitamin C.
Additionally, the protein in peas (in general) has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It’s also a low-calorie food without unnecessary and saturated fats found in other sources of protein.
The main drawback of pea protein, as previously mentioned, is its methionine content. The good thing about it is that if you eat a complete and varied diet, you are likely getting your intake of methionine from other food sources, such as eggs, fish, beef, and nuts. However, if pea is your only protein source, you might be in trouble. Pea protein also has a different texture and flavor than what one is typically accustomed to; nonetheless, it’s always up to individual taste.
What is Collagen Protein?
What Should I Choose: Collagen Protein or Pea Protein?