Pea protein is a plant based protein source used by many as an alternative to dairy based protein sources such as whey and casein. But is pea protein better than whey? Our research in pea protein vs whey protein looks at amino acid profile, digestibility, nutritional facts, health issues, and taste to evaluate how pea stacks up against whey.
I. AMINO ACID PROFILE & DIGESTIBILITY
Unlike other protein powders, pea protein does not have a complete amino acid profile. It is missing a few essential amino acids that are contained in whey and other sources. As a result, pea protein is often commercially combined with other protein sources, such as rice protein, which helps form a complete protein.
Bioavailability, or BV, measures the quantity and the rate at which a nutrient enters the bloodstream. Whey protein isolate, a desirable form of protein powder that maintains a high BV, has a large amount of its protein absorbed and is quickly absorbed into the body. Pea protein isolate, the type of pea protein that should be consumed, has a lower amount of protein absorbed and its rate of digestibility is between whey, the fastest absorbable protein, and casein, the slowest absorbable protein. However, combined with other protein sources, such as rice protein increase the bioavailability. Similar to BV, protein digestibility corrected amino acid score, or PDCAAS, is another score that helps us see how much and how fast amino acids in a source are absorbed by the body. Pea protein supplements indicate a PDCAAS that is in between whey and casein protein sources, and its score rises as it is combined with other proteins.
NOTE: Not much research is done on plant based protein powders, and the BV and PDCAAS results can vary from study to study. It is known that most plant based protein substances, like pea, are slower digesting than whey. Whey is given the highest BV and PDCAAS.
II. PEA PROTEIN POWDER NUTRITIONAL FACTS
In a popular pea protein supplement, a 30g serving size consists of 120 calories, 24g protein, 2g carbs, and 1g fat. On average whey protein powder with the same serving size contains 110 calories, 23g protein, 2g carbs, and 1g fat. These are almost identical numbers. If we were looking at nutritional facts alone, pea protein can have the same fat burning, muscle building results as whey protein.
Pea protein has many vitamins and minerals to aid in many kinds of bodily functions. It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, and zinc. These are vitamins and minerals that aren’t found or are found in low amounts in milk based protein powders. Yellow pea protein powder also contains no cholesterol and is nearly fat free. Whey also contains many vitamins and minerals, but these are artificially added.
III. HEALTH ISSUES & TASTE
People with gout or malfunctioning kidneys, who consume pea protein, have the potential to increase the body’s production of uric acid. Uric acid can then collect in the tendons, joints, kidneys and other organs that will lead to aggravated pre-existing gout. If you are allergic to any pea nutrients, then taking whey, hemp, or soy may be a better option. Here is an article describing the health issues of whey.
Pea protein is definitely an acquired taste. Many describe it as gritty and thick. Some brands have a nutty pea flavor that people enjoy. Makers of pea supplements add flavors to enhance the taste. Pea protein is often combined with other protein sources that can positively affect the taste. Its no secret that overall whey tastes better than pea. Pea protein can taste great, especially combined with other protein sources. Her are the best pea protein powders and the best whey protein supplements.
SOURCES AND INTERESTING READING
For more options in this category or any other, including rice, casein, hemp, and soy protein choices, check out the Interactive Chart Here. There are also many articles about various types of protein powders, how protein works, etc. Let us know if you would like an article created on any topic related to protein supplements or fitness goals, or if we can help you in any way . THANK YOU!!