What Is Pea Protein? A Pea Protein Primer

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Dr. Praeger’s Pure Plant Protein line of products such as our Perfect Burger are fueled by the power of the plant-based protein made from peas. What makes pea protein so nutritious for vegans, vegetarians, or those looking to adhere to a plant-based diet?

What is Pea Protein?

Pea protein is a protein that is extracted from yellow peas and often sold in supplement form. It is notable for containing all 9 essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be created inside the body and must be obtained from food. Whey protein powder was typically the go-to supplement for those looking to boost their protein intake. However, for those who follow a vegan or plant-based diet, whey protein (a milk protein) is not a viable choice as dairy products cause gastric distress in over half of the U.S. population such as bloating, cramping and stomach pain. This happens to those who suffer from lactose intolerance, lactose sensitivities, or allergies to certain proteins in dairy. Pea protein is a phenomenal alternative protein source that meets your protein needs while also providing extra health benefits.

Why Should I Eat Pea Protein?

Dr. Praeger’s uses pea protein in our plant-based burgers because pea protein contains all 9 essential amino acids. Pea protein is notably low in methionine, an amino acid that is responsible for building proteins and producing many molecules inside the human body. Many legumes lack methionine despite being great sources of protein. However, this lack of methionine should pose as no concern, as it can be obtained easily from the protein found in most grains such as vital wheat gluten, oats, quinoa, and rye grain. Interestingly, grains are low in lysine, which is an amino acid that is plentiful in legumes.

Pea Protein is also a rich plant-based source of iron. Vegetarians, vegans, and plant-based eaters are often asked, “but how do you get enough protein?” There are many plant-based sources of protein that can meet the daily requirements for an active lifestyle, so protein is not truly a concern for those who choose to adopt a plant-based diet.

The real difficulty for some individuals is meeting the necessary daily needs for iron. Non-heme iron which is iron from plant sources is harder to absorb than heme iron which is obtained from animal sources such as beef. However, that does not mean that plant-based iron is not worth including in your diet. In fact, it’s estimated that even for meat-eaters, the majority of their iron still comes from plant-based sources.

Registered dietitians recommend pairing foods that contain iron with foods rich in Vitamin C, as Vitamin C has been shown to boost iron absorption. This can be as simple as adding lime juice to your mixed greens or eating a few strawberries after a bowl of beans!

Protein Assists with Achieving a Healthy BMI

This study examines the effects of protein in preserving lean muscle mass in the case of pre-obese and obese women who were undergoing calorie restriction to lose weight. The satiating effects of protein helped the subjects stay full as they lost weight; the group that ate a higher protein diet preserved more muscle mass. Preserving muscle mass helps improve bone density, boosts metabolism, controls blood sugar levels and it also builds strength and stamina.

Pea Protein and Dr. Praeger’s

At Dr. Praeger’s, creating food that is both nourishing and wholesome is our food philosophy. Eating foods that are high in protein, high in fiber, and feature a range of veggies are the best ways to stay in shape. Products such as our Kale Veggie Burger and Sweet Heat Beet Veggie Burgers are delectable burgers crafted with veggie-forward ingredients that also pack a hefty amount of pea protein for your daily needs. All of our Pure Plant Protein products provide substantial amounts pea protein in a variety of tasty ways — burgers, veggie nuggets, veggie sausage, and chick’n tenders!