Friday, January 9, 2015

The Dietitian Is In: What Do You Think of Pea Protein?

When we meet someone for the first time and share what we do, it often seems to open the gateway to a game of 20 questions. “What do you think about the Paleo diet?” “It’s a good thing to give up gluten, right?” “Is a banana bad for me?” “So, do you always eat healthy?” When we’re asked these kinds of questions, we’re happy to answer them. We feel grateful that people feel comfortable enough to ask. Here's a recent question we were asked...and here's the answer!

Question: I've been seeing pea protein in lots of food products lately; is this a healthy trend?

a chocolate, peanut butter, banana (pea)protein smoothie we made earlier this week!

Question: I've been seeing pea protein in lots of food products lately; is this a healthy trend?

Answer: As plant-based eating becomes increasingly popular, and concerns surrounding allergies to dairy, eggs, and soy mount, the interest in pea protein has followed suit. Pea protein – made from dehydrated ground yellow split peas – is becoming increasingly available as a protein ingredient in powdered shake mixes, foods and beverages.

Split peas are naturally rich in protein; in particular, in the branched chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine, and valine, which have been shown to reduce muscle breakdown and fatigue during physical activity. However, pea protein is "incomplete," meaning that it lacks good amounts of all nine essential amino acids, though this can be resolved by consuming it with other protein sources throughout the course of a day, such as grains, beans, and nuts. Pea protein is concentrated; one ounce contains about 25 grams of protein compared to 10 grams in one-fourth cup of dried, uncooked yellow split peas.

From an environmental standpoint, pea protein is a more sustainable option compared to animal proteins; it requires fewer resources, such as water, fossil fuels and fertilizers to produce. It’s typically less costly than other protein powders, such as whey protein. Studies also suggest potential benefits from this protein source, such as increased satiety and reduced blood pressure, though more research is needed to confirm benefits.

This Q & A was written by McKenzie for the October 2014 issue of Environmental Nutrition.

No comments:

Post a Comment