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Demystifying Pea Protein

Unpacking the Benefits of Pea Protein Powder

Welcome to the world of protein! Today, we delve into the heart of one remarkable plant-based source - pea protein.

Ever wondered about the pros and cons of pea protein or how it stacks up against other protein sources? Perhaps you've questioned its impact on digestive health or organ function?

In this article, we'll cover what you need to know about pea protein, debunk myths, and address common health concerns.

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How is Pea Protein Made?

Pea protein comes from an unlikely, not-so-sexy superstar - the humble pea, specifically a variety known as golden peas.

Golden peas are a type of yellow pea or “field pea” that are nutrient-rich, packed with protein, fibre, and an array of essential vitamins and minerals. They are abundant in essential amino acids, which are important for muscle growth and immune function.

Cultivating golden peas is a relatively quick process compared to other crops. Typically, they are sown in the spring and are ready to be harvested after about 3-4 months of growth.

Once harvested, these peas undergo a careful process to transform into pea protein powder. The peas are dried and ground into a fine flour, and the starch and fibre is removed to create pea protein concentrate, containing about 70-80% protein. Some pea protein powders in the market are made from concentrate. Roam Protein is made from pea protein isolate. This means the powder is processed yet again to remove more of the non-protein components. Pea protein isolate has a higher percentage of overall protein and less carbohydrate and fat .

The leading producers of golden peas are countries with cool and temperate climates, such as Canada and France. The soil and climate conditions in these regions make them particularly conducive to the growth of these peas, ensuring a high yield and a quality harvest.

Pea Protein Versus Other Protein Powders

Pea protein stands out among other plant-based proteins for several reasons. Compared to hemp protein, pea protein boasts a higher protein content. And while soy protein is also a complete protein like pea protein, it can be a potential allergen for some people. When pitted against brown rice protein, pea protein boasts a more balanced amino acid profile, particularly its richer content of lysine, an amino acid that is low in brown rice protein.

When comparing pea protein to whey protein, it’s worth noting that pea protein is just as effective for muscle building and recovery. And unlike whey protein, which is derived from milk, pea protein is dairy-free, making it easier to digest for many people. 

Pea protein is a unique and powerful plant-based protein, that combines the benefits of high protein content, hypoallergenic nature, and a robust amino acid profile. Roam Protein is completely vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and gluten-free. We don’t add any carbohydrate-rich ingredients to our formula either.

Pros and Cons of Pea Protein

Like any dietary choice, pea protein comes with its own set of benefits and considerations. On the positive side, pea protein is highly digestible, hypoallergenic, and usually well tolerated even by those with sensitive stomachs. It's an excellent source of plant-based protein that is free from common allergens like dairy, gluten, and soy.

Moreover, pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids. It is particularly high in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which play a critical role in muscle building and recovery.

On the flip side, the taste and texture of pea protein can be somewhat earthy and distinct, which may not appeal to everyone. However, Roam Protein has been formulated to create a smooth, light and delicious shake. Our Chocolate and Vanilla flavours mix well with just water, your choice of milk, and can be easily incorporated into baking, smoothies and recipes without introducing a chalky or gritty texture.

Debunking Myths Around Pea Protein

There are many misconceptions about pea protein that may cause confusion:

MYTH: Pea Protein has a poor amino acid profile
Pea protein has all nine essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own. It is technically not a complete protein because pea protein has slightly lower amounts of several amino acids, such as methionine & tryptophan. But this fact doesn’t make it a less worthy protein source for health benefits and recovery, especially when coupled with a balanced diet.

MYTH: Pea protein is hard to digest
While everyone's digestive system is unique, concentrated plant proteins are generally easier on the stomach compared to animal proteins. Pea protein, in particular, is free of lactose and gluten, which can often be problematic for sensitive individuals. However, if you are sensitive to dietary changes, introduce pea protein gradually and monitor how your body responds.

MYTH: Pea protein tastes bad
Flavour is subjective, but pea protein has a mild and versatile flavour profile that can blend seamlessly into various dishes and beverages. At Roam, we've created delicious Chocolate and Vanilla protein powders that make integrating pea protein into your daily routine both tasty and straightforward. Check out our recipe ideas for inspiration.

MYTH: Pea protein isn't suitable for athletes
On the contrary, pea protein is an excellent option for athletes due to its rich amino acid profile, which aids in muscle repair and growth. Additionally, studies suggest that pea protein could be as effective as whey protein in supporting muscle growth.

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Pea Protein and Digestive Health

If you’ve suffered from digestive issues before, you may be asking: Is pea protein gut-friendly? Does pea protein trigger IBS? Is pea protein better for IBS? To address these, let's delve into pea protein and digestive health.

Is Pea Protein Easy on The Gut?
Pea protein is typically easy on the gut. It's free from common allergens, such as lactose, soy, and gluten, which can trigger digestive issues in sensitive individuals. That said, individual reactions can vary. Some people might experience bloating when they first start using pea protein. However, this often subsides as the body adjusts. Introduce pea protein slowly to your diet if you experience digestive issues.

Pea Protein and IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent condition in New Zealand and Australia, with more women suffering from the condition than men. 

The low FODMAP diet is often recommended for people with IBS. Pea protein can be a good way to get more protein into a low FODMAP diet. Other protein powders such as whey concentrate will be higher in FODMAPs. It’s also important to look at the remaining ingredient list, as some products will have added sugar, flavours, emulsifiers and added vitamins and minerals that could irritate the gut. 

Pick a protein powder with a clean and easy-to-understand ingredient list. Roam Protein is made with 5 carefully selected ingredients, including monk fruit extract, which provides natural sweetness with no additional calories. 

Pea Protein and Organ Health

Is pea protein hard on the liver and kidneys?
Given its plant-based nature, pea protein is typically easy on the kidneys and liver. High-quality plant proteins are generally less taxing on these organs than animal-based proteins, particularly for individuals with existing kidney or liver conditions.

However, it's important to consume protein within the recommended intake levels and maintain a balanced diet. For those with specific health concerns, it's best to consult a healthcare provider. If you're wondering how much protein you should be taking daily, check out our handy Daily Protein Intake Calculator for guidance, and consult with your physician.

As for the best protein for liver repair, it's more about overall dietary habits and less about a specific type of protein. Consuming a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, staying hydrated, limiting alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy weight all contribute to liver health.

To further assist you on your health journey, check out our Free 101 on Protein PDF. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the role of protein in your diet and how you can optimise your protein intake for your specific goals.

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