May 4, 2023

Pea Protein: What You Need to Know

Major Team

What is Pea Protein?

Pea protein is a plant-based protein made from ground yellow split peas. It is a vegan, high-quality, and hypoallergenic protein source that is perfect for those with food allergies or sensitivities. One serving has about 15 grams of protein, making it a great addition to any diet.[1]

Types of Pea Protein

There are three types of pea protein products:[2]

  • Isolate: This variety contains only pea protein and amino acids. It is fantastic if you are trying to lose weight and build muscle because it adds more protein to your diet. You will easily find pea protein isolate in the stores.
  • Concentrate: Pea protein concentrate contains less protein but has either extra carbs and proteins or carbs and fats. This is the best choice if you want to gain weight or as a meal replacement since it carries more calories and is also a good source of nourishment.
  • Textured: This variety is even less processed, and you are unlikely to find it as a dietary supplement as it is usually employed to produce meat substitutes. Textured pea protein is primarily for those attempting to reduce their meat consumption and focus on a more vegetarian or vegan diet.

The Many Ways of Consuming Pea Protein 

Pea protein powder is quite versatile. Many people ingest it by combining it with juice or water as a post-workout beverage or adding it to smoothies. You can also mix it into oatmeal, wheat porridge, and brown rice cereal for a protein boost to breakfast or add it to baked goods like muffins, brownies, and waffles for a tasty treat. Another use for pea protein is to blend it with plant-based milk to create an even more complete protein source. 

How Much Pea Protein Should You Take?

Consuming 0.73 grams of protein per pound (1.6 grams per kg) of body mass daily is the optimal quantity for building muscle.[3] However, it is essential not to surpass 2.3 grams of protein per pound (5 grams per kg) of body weight daily or ingest more than 35% of your calories from protein. 

Exceeding the recommended amounts may result in side effects that can be potentially fatal. These effects may be a build-up of ammonia in the blood, nausea, diarrhea, and in severe cases, death.[4]

What Are the Benefits and Downsides?

Pea protein increases muscle growth the same way whey protein does, with the perk of being digested slower than whey and faster than casein, which enhances protein synthesis and prevents muscle protein breakdown.[1] Besides, while many types of whey protein include allergens like lactose and gluten, most pea protein types tend to be free from those.[5] 

Other pea protein benefits include stimulating muscle growth[6], increasing feelings of fullness[7] [8], promoting heart health[9], and its high iron content[10] (while plant-based iron is less absorbable than iron from animal products, pairing pea protein powder with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus can improve iron absorption by up to 67%[11]).

However, pea protein does have its downsides. For one, pea protein powders are not as trivial as whey's and may be more difficult to find at some stores. It can also contain a high amount of sodium.

Pro Tip for Incorporating Casein Protein into Your Diet

If you are thinking about introducing pea protein into your workout regimen, here's a handy tip: ingest pea protein powder within two hours after exercising for optimal muscle-building results.[12]


1. Kamal Patel, M. M. (2022, September 29). Pea Protein Health benefits, dosage, safety, side-effects, and more | Supplements - Examine. Examine.

2. Pea Protein: Nutritional Benefits & Types. (2021, November 26). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved February 22, 2023, from

3. Morton, R. W., Murphy, K. T., McKellar, S. R., Schoenfeld, B. J., Henselmans, M., Helms, E., Aragon, A. A., Devries, M. C., Banfield, L., Krieger, J. W., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. British journal of sports medicine, 52(6), 376–384.

4. Bilsborough, S., & Mann, N. (2006). A review of issues of dietary protein intake in humans. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 16(2), 129–152.

5. Ho, M. H., Wong, W. H., & Chang, C. (2014). Clinical spectrum of food allergies: a comprehensive review. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 46(3), 225–240.

6. Babault, N., Païzis, C., Deley, G., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Saniez, M. H., Lefranc-Millot, C., & Allaert, F. A. (2015). Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 3.

7. Abou-Samra, R., Keersmaekers, L., Brienza, D., Mukherjee, R., & Macé, K. (2011). Effect of different protein sources on satiation and short-term satiety when consumed as a starter. Nutrition journal, 10, 139.

8. Diepvens, K., Häberer, D., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Different proteins and biopeptides differently affect satiety and anorexigenic/orexigenic hormones in healthy humans. International journal of obesity (2005), 32(3), 510–518.

9. Li, H., Prairie, N., Udenigwe, C. C., Adebiyi, A. P., Tappia, P. S., Aukema, H. M., Jones, P. J., & Aluko, R. E. (2011). Blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate in hypertensive rats and humans. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 59(18), 9854–9860.

10. Panel On Macronutrients. (2001). 9 Iron | Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc |The National Academies Press. The National Academies Press.

11. Hallberg, L., & Hulthén, L. (2000). Prediction of dietary iron absorption: an algorithm for calculating absorption and bioavailability of dietary iron. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(5), 1147–1160.

12. Phillips S. M. (2012). Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes. The British journal of nutrition, 108 Suppl 2, S158–S167.