Did you know that in the UK, over 9,000 peas are eaten per person, per year?
That’s a lot of peas for them Brits, and it should come as no surprise that pea protein is one of the most popular protein powders on the market, both in the UK and here in the US!
You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to vegan protein powder and meal replacement supplements – your main contenders are soy protein and pea protein, both of which are excellent plant based vegan protein powder products.
Here, we go over the best pea protein powders you can buy, whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle!
Our Top 5 Pea Protein Powders (2019 Updated)
#1 Zen Principle
(Best Low Carb)
#3 NorCal Organic
(Best for Budget)
#5 Naked Pea
(Best for Bodybuildng)
1. Best Overall: Zen Principle Organic Pea Protein Powder
Overall, our best pea protein powder is this one from Zen Principle.
Featuring high levels of L-arginine, this vegan protein powder helps you to build thicker and stronger muscles.
This organic protein powder is also good for reducing your blood pressure and absorbing protein easily.
It is unflavored, which is great if you hate the taste of artificial flavors or you prefer to mix your powder with other foods.
Create your own healthy vegan smoothies with Zen Principle.
2. Best Low Carb: Nuzest Clean Lean Protein
This vegan protein powder does exactly what it says on the tin:
Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is GMO, gluten-free and soy-free, so you’re in safe hands if you have a highly-restricted diet.
It’s great for weight loss too, as it is very low in fat, carbohydrates, and naturally-occurring sugar.
In fact, in one serving, you will find less than 0.5g fat, 0.25g sugar, and 1g carbs in it.
Plant eaters losing weight will really appreciate this pea protein source.
3. Best Organic: NorCal Organic
Organic vegan protein powder sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t!
Why is it so organic, you ask? Because it only contains one ingredient – organic yellow pea protein isolate.
You’ll never clog up your body with additives again, which will allow you to take back control of your nutrition.
This pea protein source is packed with 22g of protein, 4.8g of BCAA amino acids, and 2.18g of arginine in each serving, making it great for vegan health enthusiasts looking to hit their nutritional targets without scarfing down hundreds of grams of protein to do it.
4. Best for Affordability: BulkSupplements
Looking for an affordable vegan protein powder? Then look no further –
BulkSupplements, who are leaders in this space, make their pea protein from yellow split peas.
This way, it is suitable for you if you are vegan or intolerant to gluten.
Free from additives often found in other powders, this supplement contains 100% pure pea protein powder, so it is brilliant for healthy gym-goers who want to know exactly what goes into their body.
5. Best for Bodybuilding: Naked Pea
With a brand name reminiscent of an upscale lap dancing bar, Naked Pea is a great bodybuilding clean protein powder which allows you get the protein and nutrition you need without consuming animal products to do so.
Naked Pea contains 27 grams of protein, 2g of sugar, 2g of carbs, 120 calories, and 5.7g of BCAA amino acids per serving.
As such, it allows you to eat a clean diet and make huge muscle gains in the gym.
Who says you can't gain lean muscles in a vegan diet?
What Is Pea Protein Powder?
Pea protein powder is a powdered source of protein which is extracted from yellow peas.
This makes it ideal for vegans and people with intolerances to whey or soy protein powders.
Pea protein itself is a high-quality protein source which contains high levels of iron and BCAA amino acids.
Due to its protein and BCAA content, pea protein powder is often used by gym-goers who are trying to lose weight and gain muscle mass. It is renowned for its role as an appetite suppressant, helping people to feel fuller for longer after consuming it.
In fact, one study found that it could reduce calorie intake by 12% if consumed 30 minutes before a meal. (1)
Pea protein powder steers clear of the 8 major allergen groups and is also completely free from animal products, so it is a very versatile and healthy powder for losing weight and boosting protein levels. (2)
What to Look for in a Pea Protein Powder
If you can afford it, organic powder is definitely the way to go! Organic protein powders are made from ingredients which have not been sprayed with chemicals and pesticides which can work their way into your food and harm you.
One study found that switching to an organic diet reduces the level of toxins in
your body dramatically, with a toxin called “malathion” being reduced by 95% when switching to an organic diet.
2. Amount of Calories per Gram of Protein
As you should know, getting your calories right in an essential aspect of vegan bodybuilding, or any bodybuilding and weight loss regime for that matter.
So, when you’re buying your pea protein, you should carefully analyze the calories-protein ratio and work out whether making a vegan protein shake with this powder will send you over or under your calorie count for the day.
What are you going to use the supplement for? If you’re going to use it for baking or cooking, you probably may want to opt for an unflavored protein powder.
On the other hand, if you’re just going to be making basic vegan protein smoothies or shakes with pea protein powder,
then you should probably go for one of the vanilla or chocolate flavors which are a tad more… exciting.
How to Take Pea Protein Powder
You can take pea protein powder in many forms, with most people using them in vegan smoothies and shakes which they consume before or after a workout session.
Pea protein can even be used in meal replacement shakes.
The Protein Works recently published a recipe for a 221-calorie vegan meal replacement shake made from various plant based protein sources, including pea protein. (3)
“A typical serving of pea protein powder is 30 grams, with 25 grams of protein. Athletes usually use one serving per day but may take as many as three servings per day, depending on their training level and the protein content of the rest of their diet.”
Who Can Benefit From It?
Vegans, athletes and those looking to lose weight can all benefit from pea protein powders.
Vegans benefit from pea protein powder immensely, especially if they’re looking to lose weight or build up muscle mass.
The amino acids, iron, and protein levels found in pea protein powders make it very easy for vegans to get all the nutrients and minerals they need.
Protein powders which are sourced from peas are naturally animal-free and allergen-free, so even vegans with allergies can supplement their diet with them.
According to Men’s Health magazine, pea protein contains more arginine than whey protein.
So why does this matter?
Because arginine is essential for building muscle and gaining more mass.
In fact, studies have found that athletes and bodybuilders using pea protein experience the same muscle gains as those using other protein powders, all the while missing out the dairy and many other allergens.
3. Those Looking to Lose Weight
What are the Health Benefits?
1. Kidney Functioning
According to Rachael Link, MS, RD, pea protein could help to promote healthy kidney function. She explains:
“Some studies suggest that pea protein may be one of the best protein sources for those with kidney issues. In fact, according to research conducted by the University of Manitoba, pea protein could help delay or prevent the onset of kidney damage in those with high blood pressure.”
2. Good for Sensitive Stomachs
Pea protein, especially organic pea protein, is ideal for those who have sensitive stomachs.
Compared to legumes like beans and whole peas, this powder will not bloat you or make you feel gassy.
The powder, unlike the whole peas, is actually 94% digestible and contains none of the soy or lactose that other stomach-turning powders often contain.
3. Low in Carbs
With the popularity of the ketogenic diet continuing to rise, carb-haters will be pleased to know that there are very few carbohydrates present in pea protein.
The majority of the carbohydrates in pea protein have been removed, typically leaving them with around 0 to 3g of carbs per serving, depending on the manufacturer.
4. Muscle Growth
According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, powders derived from peas are just as effective as powders sourced for whey, dairy, soy, and other foods.
Pea protein contains high levels of arginine, an essential amino acid which is
known for its muscle-growing properties. Vegan athletes can bulk up nicely thanks to this.
5. Good for the Heart
Are you trying to look after your heart as you get older? If so, pea-based protein is just what you need. This is because it is free from saturated fat and cholesterol.
Pea protein is also known to help lower high blood pressure, which has several knock-on benefits for your heart and your body overall. (7)
Potential Side Effects
1. High Sodium Content
If you’re watching your sodium intake, then pea powders could pose a bit of a problem, as they are relatively high in sodium. On average, each serving contains around 110-390mg.
Nonetheless, vegan protein powder made from peas tends to be completely safe and adverse side effects are very rare. In the unlikely event that you experience a side effect, do consult a doctor.
2. Gout Flare-Ups
Split peas (where the powders come from) are filled with purines, which create more uric acid in your body.
If you have ever had problems with gout, uric acid can cause a gout flare-up.
However, if you’re reading this, you’re probably a healthy vegan who does a decent amount of exercise.
As a result, you’re probably not the typical gout patient unless you’re scoffing down veal in secret.
3. Kidney Issues
It is thought that getting too much protein in your diet can actually be bad for you, causing your kidneys to not work properly.
But I should clarify that this is unconfirmed and applies to various forms of protein (i.e. not just from peas) so it’s unlikely that you’ll be calling up your dad and asking for a spare kidney any time soon.
Pea Protein vs Whey Protein
Bodybuilders can use a variety of protein powders to help them gain muscle mass and last for long periods of time in the gym.
Two of the most common are pea protein and whey protein powders.
The most obvious difference is that whey protein is derived from cow’s milk, so it is not vegan.
In contrast, pea-derived powder contains no animal products, making it a brilliant vegan protein powder.
When you stack the two powders side by side, they are quite similar, although pea protein doesn’t contain as many BCAAs as whey protein. However, pea powder contains almost 3 times more arginine than whey, an amino acid which is strongly linked to muscle building.
Some people claim that pea protein tastes worse than whey protein, having an almost dirt-like quality. Still, this can be easily masked by blending it in with vegetables and fruits in your shakes.
You can watch this video to learn more about the differences between the two.
Our #1 Pea Protein Powder Is...
Our pick for the top product goes to Zen Principle Organic Pea Protein Powder.
This supplement is absolutely jam-packed with L-arginine, which is brilliant for building muscles, far outweighing the performance of whey protein.
Its pea-based protein also helps to reduce your appetite, in addition to providing your body with all the building blocks that an athlete could ever need.
And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s unflavored, so you can blend your Zen Principle powder into the drink or meal of your choice, which allows to customize your new means of protein intake. This, in addition to everything else we’ve said above makes it something we wouldn’t be afraid to recommend to anybody.
Best Pea Protein Powder
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