Pea Protein—Everything You Need to Know

Diet & Nutrition Inspiring People
by Krysta Fioranelli, 30 July 2019

Theses days, walking down a protein powder aisle can be overwhelming. There are proteins made from whey, casein and egg whites that surround you, as do a plethora of plant-based protein options such as pea protein, soy, rice, and of course, those extreme-looking protein powders that claim they will turn you into the incredible hulk.

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So Which Protein Powder Do You Choose?

Pea protein?

Whey protein?

Rice protein?

Vegan protein?

Which do you choose? Understanding the different plant-based protein and animal protein options can help you make your decision.

Whey, a protein derived from milk, is one of the most common choices, and often praised for its complete amino acid profile. But for many, whey isn’t the best option.

Those with dairy sensitivities or allergies, or those who live a plant-based vegan or vegetarian lifestyle for health or sustainability reasons, often find themselves looking for a highly-bioavailable protein option free of milk.

That’s where plant-based pea protein comes in. Pea protein is a more recent contender on the market, but is shaking things up (literally and figuratively) in the protein powder game.

How Does Pea Protein Compare to Other Proteins on the Market?

Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is pea protein isolate based, and contains 20 grams of protein per 90 calorie serving. Pea protein is also highly bioavailable and satiating.¹

Compare this to the overwhelmingly popular whey protein, made from milk, which contains roughly 20 grams of protein and a single gram of fiber per 100-calorie serving. Shaking in your boots yet, whey?

And as mentioned above, pea protein is allergen-friendly for those suffering from common food allergens such as dairy, wheat, soy, and egg. Pea protein is also suitable for vegans and those following a plant-based or vegetarian diet.

Even better, pea protein is a highly sustainable protein choice, especially compared to animal proteins, which have a large carbon and water footprint (livestock, like beef and lamb, have the highest water and carbon footprints of all foods).

But, how does pea protein compare to all other proteins on the market? Find out in this in-depth analysis here.

Why Pea Protein is Better Than Whey?

Whey protein is made via the draining of liquid milk through a filtration system. The material that is left after this draining process is known as whey protein concentrate, and is dried to form a variety of protein supplements you see on supermarket shelves. This concentrate contains varying degrees of the disaccharide lactose – the sugar present in milk – which contributes to the wide range of total calorie amounts in whey protein supplements.

On the other hand, pea protein is produced via the extraction of soluble pea protein from yellow split peas, followed by drying and rehydration of the produced pea flour. Thus, pea protein is completely plant based and is suitable for vegans, those with gluten intolerances, and individuals who must rely on a lactose-free or plant-based diet.

Utilizing plant-based proteins instead of animal proteins is the more sustainable option. Most people don’t realize the extent to which land is harmed in the production of meat proteins. In fact, an article released by Roquette reveals how the land requirements for animal protein production are 10 times greater than that required for plant-based proteins.

In general, plant-based and vegan proteins tend to be lower in calories per serving than animal-based protein supplements. Nuzest’s Golden Pea Protein has approximately 90 calories per serving, whereas a typical serving of whey protein has between 100 and 150 calories per serving.

Whey protein can be difficult for many people to digest, and might cause abdominal pain, bloating, and fatigue. However, plant-based protein is known to be easier on our digestive symptom due to the absence of milk-derived ingredients.

Because it is lectin free, very low in phytates and contains nothing artificial, it is ideal for those with digestive issues. Nuzest’s pea protein has a 98% digestibility rating, making it an ideal option for fueling one’s body throughout the day without having to worry about digestive complications. Say goodbye to bloating and stomach discomfort.

What is Pea Protein? And Where Does Pea Protein Come From?

Pea protein is made by grinding dried peas into a fine powder. The starch and fiber are removed, leaving a powdered concentrated protein substance (aka pea protein isolate). It is completely plant-based, unlike whey, casein, and egg-based protein powders, and therefore ideal for vegetarians and vegans.

Are Pea Protein Isolates Good for Me?

Pea Protein Isolate is well absorbed by the body and has a very high digestibility (98%). Like all complete proteins that provide all the amino acids needed by the human body, it has a myriad of functional benefits that include improved satiety, the maintenance and growth of muscle and bone health. Pea Protein Isolate offers a high-quality, high-protein option for vegans, vegetarians, those with dairy allergy or intolerance and others looking for a protein option free-from ‘anti-nutrients’ (such as lectins). Nuzest’s European-sourced, lectin-free Clean Lean Protein is made with the highest quality pea protein isolate available anywhere in the world. That’s important if you want to keep performing at your best.

Is Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein Complete?

Many people select animal-based protein powders over plant-based ones like pea protein because they’re worried that plant sources might not be “complete”. Just to clarify, a complete pea protein is one that has a full complement of all 9 “essential” amino acids at least. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and are absolutely essential² for human growth and cellular function. Generally, egg white and whey are upheld as the two good examples of a complete protein. We don’t disagree. But guess, what? The pea protein isolate you’ll find in Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein is also complete, a far cry from some other plant protein sources. Although there are around 500 amino acids known in nature, only 21 of these are needed by humans. You need to make sure you get all 9 essential amino acids³ from the foods you eat in minimum quantities at least. Protein requirements for humans, both in terms of the quality and daily amounts of individual amino acids, are agreed and regularly updated at an international level by expert panels working with the WHO/FAO of the Nations.4

You should get all 9 essential aminos in the required amounts on a daily basis, but not necessarily in the same meal. So, as many vegetarians and vegans well know, neither rice nor beans are complete proteins on their own. But together – even in different meals – you can achieve your daily amino acid requirement. Of the other 12 amino acids remaining amino acids, 6 are regarded as “conditionally essential, and the other 6 as “non-essential” or “dispensable.” Your body needs the conditionally essential ones at certain times, typically during periods of rapid growth or when your body’s under a lot of physiological stress, such as when you’re exercising heavily or ill. Since these aminos can be synthesized by the body they’re not viewed as being ‘essential’ in our food. But we still often benefit from consuming additional amounts in our diets or as smoothies or shakes.

Comparing Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein with Other Proteins

The table below shows a comparison between the amounts of each of the essential and conditionally-essential amino acids provided by two daily serves of Clean Lean Protein (Just Natural). There are slight variations in the total amounts of each amino acid for other flavors but the ratios are identical. Table. Amounts of essential amino acids consumed in two daily serves of Clean Lean Protein (natural) compared with the requirement for a 70 kg (154 lb) adult nuzest clean lean protein amino acids comparison chart

You will note that Clean Lean Protein (Just Natural) is not just complete, it also provides at least the daily requirement of all essential amino acids in two daily servings required for the average adult (based on 70kg (154 lbs) body weight), with the exception of methionine for which 90% of the requirement is provided.* Cysteine and tyrosine are conditionally essential amino acids and can be synthesized in the body from methionine and phenylalanine, respectively. The additional balance (100 mg of methionine and/or cysteine for a 70 kg adult, the latter being able to be converted to methionine in the body) can readily be obtained from the diet, or additional Clean Lean Protein. While animal sources of protein such as meat, fish and eggs are all good sources of the all-important, sulphur-containing methionine, good vegetarian and vegan sources include brazil nuts (750 mg / half cup), oats (500 mg / 1 cup) and hemp seeds (280 mg / 3 tablespoons) (data source: USDA Food Composition Database).5

Where Can I Get Pea Protein?

Obviously, pea protein is found in peas. As an isolated form of protein, pea protein powder is being added to many foods, vegan protein bars, and is available in powder form. It’s also the star ingredient in Nuzest Clean Lean Protein and Clean Lean Protein Functional Flavors and all products in Nuzest’s nutritional products lineup.

Which Pea Protein is Best?

The peas used in Clean Lean Protein are grown in nutrient rich, uncontaminated soil, and processed with clean water… without the use of chemicals. Using Premium European Golden Peas grown in the rich soils and clean environment of Northern France, Clean Lean Protein is processed in Belgium by world leaders in pea protein isolation, a private company that has been in the same family since 1852. Strict European growing and processing regulations ensure that the highest standards are maintained.

This pea protein is widely acclaimed as the highest quality pea protein isolate in the world. Quality checks are in place throughout the supply chain. Growers are carefully selected and even the non-GMO seeds are provided to farmers to ensure quality standards are maintained.

Wheat chaff is separated from the crops before processing to reduce the risk of gluten contamination. The protein then goes through the isolation process using a patented, water-based technology to produce a very fine powder that has very little taste or smell of pea; this is the sign of very high-quality isolate.

Sensory properties the mark of quality is also measured by what is NOT in the final product. In this case, it is not only allergen free, it is also the only pea protein isolate to claim a lectin-free status which, along with extremely low phytate levels and fine particle size, contributes to its excellent digestive properties.

The final test of quality is the actual protein content; the higher the content, the better the isolation process. At up to 90% protein content (measured on Dry Matter), the pea protein isolate used by Nuzest is the highest in the world.

The resulting very fine powder, the envy of other producers, is easy to mix and flavor, which is how Nuzest achieves such a great taste and silky-smooth texture. The final raw material is of course tested for all allergens, heavy metals and pesticides.

And it doesn’t stop there! Nuzest then blends the isolate with nothing but natural flavor and a natural sweetener made from katemfe fruit from West Africa. There are no processing aides, no emulsifiers, no gums, no fillers, no added sugar, no preservatives and nothing artificial. This is carried out under strict GMP conditions with the finished product again being tested for gluten, dairy, soy and safe microbial content.

In summary, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is:

  • Allergen Free, GMO Free and Lectin Free

  • 98% Digestible

  • Up to 90% Protein Content

  • Complete – Contains all 9 Essential Amino Acids

  • High in BCAAs and Glutamine

  • Very Low in Carbohydrates, Sugar and Fat

  • Tested for Pesticides and Heavy Metals

  • No Processing Aides, Fillers or Artificial Ingredients

Clean Lean Protein is offered in its natural, unflavored state (Just Natural) and in four traditional flavors (Smooth Vanilla, Rich Chocolate, Real Coffee, Wild Strawberry). We also have three Functional Flavors (Chai Turmeric + Maca, Vanilla Matcha, Coffee Coconut + MCTs) providing the additional benefits of centuries old traditional medicine.


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