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Nutrition and Diet

Pea Protein Benefits & Side Effects

Pea protein powder has recently become popular in the fitness world and many of us must have started planning to start using the supplement by now. But, do you yet know the answer to the two questions- is pea protein good for you or is pea protein bad for you?

I know the reply is likely to be a positive because we love everything protein and the fact the pea is a veggie, makes it more likeable to us, doesn’t it? But, when it comes to pea protein extracts for preparing a supplement like a pea protein powder, the approach has to a bit more technical and scientific.

Google may talk a bit on pea protein dangers, but does that really make it a bad choice for you? So, today, we discuss the many benefits of pea protein powder and how to tackle the pea protein side effects- by telling you what not do with pea protein powder.

Is Pea Protein Good for you?

I am talking straight about the positives first by telling you-who should take pea protein or in other words, who is likely to benefit from the supplement the most.

It is a nutrition maximized for people following a vegan or a vegetarian diet.

Pea protein powder has a good essential amino acid profile which makes it a dependable option. It has a good content value of lysine, an essential amino acid which improves protein synthesis in the body. Lysine common sources include meat and eggs and now pea protein powder, which makes it even more important for vegans.

Lysine also stimulates the growth in the level of carnitine, an amino acid and thus it makes pea protein powder even more important for protein build up. Carnitine converts fatty acid to produce energy.

Apart from being a good vegan protein source, the benefits of pea protein powder perfectly complement your regular diet including other protein sources through meat, fish, and vegetables etc. Pea protein benefits your health by providing you high protein and a feed, low in fat and carbs. It is also a great non-dairy protein source and is gluten and lactose-free too.

The whole point here is that every protein powder has many benefits of its own and to optimize your nutritional intake, try and use different supplements on a rotation basis. Pea protein powder in that sense is a perfect fit into a diet of a vegan and a vegetarian and why I do not explicitly mention non-vegetarians, though they can use it, I explain it below in my article today. I now share information concerning benefits of pea protein powders only.

Benefits of Pea Protein

1) Accelerates Weight Loss

Weight-Loss
Verywell.com

Protein helps you lose weight and pea protein is no exception here. Pea protein aids weight loss by reducing the level of ghrelin, a hormone which stimulates hunger. In simple words, pea protein reduces your appetite as it reduces the action of ghrelin (a hormone which increases your hunger).

Also, one of the major benefits of pea protein powder for weight loss is its natural properties of low in fat and carbs content including no starch and fibre. It is a lean protein source which keeps your body in good shape.

In addition, pea protein regulates the blood sugar level, which is important to maintain a healthy metabolism. Pea protein powder does so by stabilising the insulin level for good metabolism, or for sugar to be fed through the blood stream in the muscle tissues or cells, for example.

Insulin extracts sugar or glucose from the food and it has to be the right amount of insulin level or sugar level which mixes in the bloodstream to reach the body cells and tissues or different organs. Even our brain needs the right level of glucose to focus normally.

2) Benefits Muscles

If you thought that a meat-less diet lacks muscle protein, then you will be happy to know that Pea protein benefits muscle growth and recovery has it has a 5.9 g of BCAAs in a serve of 25 g pea protein.

A bigger benefit of pea protein powder is its amino acid content arginine, a conditional amino acid and a must have for increasing muscle endurance and improving muscle conditioning. Arginine supplies nitric oxides to the muscles which help them relax. The inner lining of your blood vessels depends on nitric oxide to decrease the blood pressure and improve the distribution of blood or improve the blood flow inside the muscles.

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3) Benefits your Heart

Lean protein is good for the heart and since pea protein is low in saturated fat too, it is good to keep you hale and hearty. Pea protein is full lean protein nutrition but lacks in methionine and cysteine.

As I discuss on the topic-is pea protein bad for you, I will take into account its limitation like I just mentioned it lacks in methionine and cysteine. In short, methionine is a type of amino acid which can be sourced from meat and dairy products or cereals. Cysteine is an amino acid which can be sourced from animal and plant based products.

Why I mention methionine and cysteine here is to tell you that you can include pea protein powder as a part of your diet but not replace whey or BCAAs, for example, with pea protein.

Related Article: Pea Protein vs Whey Protein: Difference between them

Side Effects of Pea Protein

Human mind has a tendency to search for the negatives first and so is the case with pea protein benefits vis-à-vis its negatives. After a good Google search, you may end up throwing many questions to yourself.

Pea protein is going to make me sick with diarrhea or may be constipation? Doesn’t matter because a digestive system upset is the last thing you want when on a fitness training.

Don’t draw quick conclusions or let your mind sway towards something what I call as exaggeration. Most of the common side-effects happen due to an overdose. If you consume 4-5 glasses of milk, you will instantly feel a stomach discomfort and similarly, taking pea protein over the standard recommended dosage can overturn its ample benefits.

The thumb rule is: an overdose of a medicine can quickly turn into poison.

I directly answer your question on pea protein concerns:

1) Pea Protein Powder may cause irritable bowel syndrome or constipation or diarrhoea.

This is not true for pea protein powder. Only peas have a low FODMAP. The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. FODMAP is nothing but unabsorbed or non-digested carbohydrates in the human gut. It easily converts into gut bacteria and causes problems in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pea protein powder, on the other hand, is processed by extracting only the protein from peas. Pea protein powder has low FODMAP. In its various forms, like pea protein powder with brown rice or pea protein with soy is safe for your gut. Rather, it is better because it is lactose and gluten free.

On the other hand, pea protein powder is allergen-friendly which even a soy-based protein may not also offer. It only means that you don’t suffer from problems like nausea, bloating or diarrhoea, for example. It is a healthy, organic drink.

2) Pea Protein makes you Gain Weight

Now, this is pretty weird, just when I told you that pea protein powder accelerates weight loss, isn’t it? But this is easily understood because every product has calories and if you consume it regularly and don’t exercise, it is bound to make fat. So the big negative turns into positive or it can be the other way round too.

If you are doing intense muscle training, pea protein can be a part of your cutting or bulking diet. It can increase muscle protein production and reduce protein breakdown. Pea protein is also free of cholesterol and is low in fat. It is a good supplement to be had any time of the day and it is available mixed with whey or soy, for example.

3) Pea Protein may pose Kidney or Gout Health Problems

Pea protein is a purines rich diet and is said to increase the level of uric acid, which harms your kidney or increases the risk of suffering from gout (a type of arthritis).

Purines are broken down into uric acid and that, in turn, may lead to gout. The bigger surprise here is that the seafood and meats have high purine’s content and dairy products the least. Interestingly, plant based diet is considered to pose less risk of gout. Researchers confirm purines derived from vegetable carry a lower risk of gout.

So, is it really one of the side effects of pea protein powder? I will answer your question based on facts only.
Food which contains 10-15 mg of purines in a half cup serving is safe and anything between 500-100 mg in half cup is very high.

Yellow pea protein powder is more than an average dose of purines, which means that a) if you have a high uric acid level or are at risk of suffering from gout you should clearly avoid it and b) an average adult needs a feed of 600-1000 mg purine on a daily basis. So, if you take only yellow pea protein powder, you may be in for a problem.
Instead, supplement your diet with a variety of supplements to include food which reduces the risk of gout like Vitamin C, vegetables, broccoli or Brussels sprouts, all good vegan & vegetarian supplements.

An internet research by me drew an interesting fact between pea protein powder isolate extract only (not pea protein in general) lowering the high blood pressure and thus, reducing the risk of chronic kidney disease. As pea protein regulates the blood sugar level, it reduces heart problems, the primary trigger of chronic kidney disease deaths. Chronic kidney disease is a loss of kidney function with time.

Similar Article: 6 Best Protein Powder Supplement In India

So is Pea Protein Bad for you?

On the contrary, my question should be-is pea protein good for you and the answer is a yes. You can safely have 1-2 shakes in a day and personally enjoy the benefits of pea protein powder as mentioned above. It is a nutritional meal to be relished in many ways like blending it with brown rice protein for vegans.

Because it is 100% vegan and better than other vegetable protein powders, it is a must have to increase the level of protein buildup during intense muscle workout training. There are no real pea protein dangers if you have it safely.

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Keyur Malani

The author Keyur Malani

Keyur Malani is a certified content writer who finds his true passion in fitness and bodybuilding. Apart from his contribution to Myfitfuel blog, he also guides people in their diet and training routines. When he's not writing articles and breaking Deadlift PRs, he's learning life lessons on brain pickings and cooking his post workout meals.
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