Best Pea Protein Powder: Reviews 2019
Pea protein is an easily digested protein powder derived from yellow peas, a protein-rich legume grown (almost) all over the world. It is becoming a favorite among fitness enthusiasts due to its impressive nutritional profile and wide array of health benefits. It is vegan-friendly, and a good option for those who can not use protein sourced from animals. Check out our list of products that we believe are the best pea protein powder on the market!
Our Verdict: Best Organic Pea Protein Powder
NorCal Organic Pea Protein is a pure, unflavored pea protein isolate sourced from Canadian farms. NorCal Organic, the company behind this pea protein, is a supplement company dedicated to offering top quality supplements.
The products only ingredient is organic peas. This means it is completely free of the artificial flavors and emulsifiers found in many products. It is also free of common allergens such as dairy, gluten, and soy. The peas are sourced in Canada and processed in the USA.
NorCal Pea Protein has 22 grams of protein per 2 scoop serving. Each serving boasts an impressive 4.8 grams of BCAAs, about the same as you would find in whey. Norcal Organic Pea Protein powder also contains as much as 2.18 grams of arginine per serving.
The lack of additives and flavors makes it suitable to use in a delicious smoothie. Shaking it up in a shaker bottle with a liquid of choice works equally well. It is also quite easy to mix, which is always a likable feature.
Our Verdict: Best Non-Organic Product
Naked Pea is a pea protein isolate produced by Naked Nutrition, a company that is known for its clean supplement portfolio. The peas that are used to make Naked Pea is sourced exclusively from farms in the US and Canada.
Naked Pea is free of any artificial additives, fillers, and emulsifiers. Yellow peas are the only ingredient. The peas are processed using a mechanical-water extraction, which eliminates the need for harsh chemicals. This leaves the product pure, something Naked Nutrition proves by having their products tested at independent laboratories.
Pea protein generally has a solid nutritional profile, and Naked Pea is no exception. It provides 27 grams of protein and 5.7 grams of BCAA’s per serving, which is very good. It is also high in arginine, a non-essential amino acid with several interesting benefits.
Naked Pea can be dissolved in a shaker blender bottle and taken alone, as well as mixed into a smoothie. The taste of Naked Pea is neutral.
Our Verdict: Best Value/Price-ratio
Smart138 Pea Protein is another clean pea protein powder. The peas used to make it are non-GMO and are grown in Canada, where it is also processed. Smart 138, the company behind the product, seems to be very concerned with quality – which is great!
Smart138 Pea Protein is a pure one-ingredient product. The product is free from any additives, artificial as well as natural. The taste is good, so it is safe to say that the product does not need them. There is, however, a slight after-taste, which is common for unflavored protein powders.
Nutrition wise, this is a strong contestant. One 33 gram serving provides 26 grams of protein and 5.9 grams of BCAA’s, according to the label. The rest is naturally occurring carbohydrates and fat.
The one negative remark is that it contains a bit too much sodium, at 230 mg per serving. While it is not incredibly high, it is more or less double of what is found in the pea protein from Norcal Organic and Naked Pea.
Our Verdict: Best Low Calorie Product
This one is a premium pea protein isolate from Nuzest, and it is a European product. The peas originate from France, and it is processed in Belgium. Furthermore, it is processed using a natural isolation process, which is free from solvents.
Nuzest unflavored pea protein is free from any additives and common allergens. It is also available in several other flavors which are all made with natural high-quality ingredients.
One 25 gram serving provides 21 grams of protein and just over 3.7 grams of BCAA’s, which is a bit low compared to its competitors. It also provides a bit too much sodium, at 380 mg per serving. It does, however, contain close to 90% protein and has only 90 calories per serving.
The Nuzest Clean Lean Pea Protein shake has a good taste and blends effortlessly.
Our Verdict: Best Tasting Pea Protein Powder
This one was quite difficult to research. Luckily, we do not judge a protein powder by the company website (check it out and you will know what we mean). At any rate, Zen Principle has done a lot of things right with their Organic Pea Protein.
Zen Principle Organic Pea Protein only contains protein from non-GMO yellow peas grown in Canada and the US. Furthermore, it is also processed and packed in the USA. It is free from additives and it is hypo-allergenic. The quality of the product is tested and verified by independent labs.
The nutritional profile of Zen Principle’s Organic Pea Protein is, however, a little disappointing. One 30 gram serving contains 23 grams of protein and 4.15 BCAA’s, which is on the low-side. It is also quite high in sodium.
Nutritional profile set aside, it looks a bit better. The taste is natural and neutral, and the protein powder mixes well.
|Product||Sizes available||Flavors available||Calories per serving||Protein per serving||Sodium per serving||BCAA’s per serving||BCAA’s per 100 grams|
|NorCal Organic Pea Protein||2||1||100||22g||90mg||4.8g||18.5g|
|Smart138 Pea Protein||2||2||130||27g||230mg||5.9g||17.9g|
|Nuzest Clean Lean Pea Protein||7||6||90||21g||380mg||3.7g||14.9g|
|Zen Principle Organic Pea Protein||2||1||120||23g||390mg||4.15g||13.8g|
About the table
It is possible to sort the table to compare the products. This way you can find the best pea protein powder for you, based on your preferences.
As you will notice, we differentiate between BCAA’s per serving and per 100 grams. The reason is that the size of a products serving may vary from the others.
Like with all protein powders, it starts with a good and nutritious source. In this case, that source is yellow peas. The yellow legume is first ground into a fine powder.
The next step is to send it through a refinement process to separate the starch, fiber, and fat from the protein.
The remaining protein portion may then be sold as pea protein concentrate. Pea protein isolate, like whey protein isolate, is refined a step further than concentrate to make it higher in protein.
The nutritional content of the protein powder will vary depending on the brand or company. Always read the label to ensure that the product is pure and top of the line. This will help maximize the benefits mentioned below.
Pea Protein Powder is Hypoallergenic
Soy protein powder can cause bloating in some, and many simply choose to avoid it due to its alleged estrogenic side effects. Whey and egg white, while highly nutritious, may also be triggers for digestive upset in some individuals. Pea protein powder, however, is one of the most hypoallergenic protein powders on the market.
Some people experience digestive upset even with rice and other grain-based protein powders such as quinoa. These grain-based proteins are also low in certain amino acids, which is why many choose to rotate them with another vegan protein such as pea.
Impressive Nutritional Profile
Pea protein powder contains all of the nine essential amino acids that are needed by the body, which makes it a complete protein. However, like all of its legume cousins, pea protein is low in the essential amino acid methionine.
This is important to know about, even though it is quite simple to avoid deficiency in methionine. Be sure to consume a wide variety of protein sources to supplement and refrain from depending solely on a single source of protein. Grains like brown rice are good vegan sources of methionine.
One feature that is unique to pea protein as a plant protein is its high amount of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s). Per 100 grams of protein, pea protein delivers an average of 8.4 grams leucine, 4.5 grams isoleucine, and 5 grams valine. To put this in perspective, this is close to what whey protein, long renowned for its high BCAA content, delivers.
Pea protein is also high in arginine, with 8.7 grams per 100 grams protein. Health researchers are currently exploring the interesting benefits of arginine. According to this medical review, current clinical data and studies indicate that arginine may play a powerful role in the prevention of heart diseases.
Helps Repair and Build Muscle
A 2015 double-blind randomized study examined the effectiveness of pea protein. A total of 161 male subjects were divided into three different groups each consisting of 53 or 54 participants. The participants in the three groups supplemented their diets with 25 grams of either placebo, whey or pea protein twice per day.
After 12 weeks the study concluded that whey and pea protein yielded equal results for increased muscle thickness (increased muscle mass). Both protein groups had greater results than the placebo group.
Finding a good pea protein powder is quite easy. However, to make sure you get the best product, you might want to check the following things.
1. How much sodium does it contain? Pea Protein Powder is naturally high in sodium, normally in the range 0.3 – 1.5 grams per 100-gram protein powder. This may or may not be a problem, depending on your situation. Excessive intake of sodium raises blood pressure, and the consumption should be limited.
2. Is the product suitable for your diet? Is it free from unnecessary additives? There is a reason why you are buying pea protein instead of something else, so make sure the company producing it have not added anything you or your body might disagree with. The best pea protein powder should be free of any and all artificial additives.
3. How is the nutritional value? As you do with any product you are considering, make sure to read the ingredients and nutrition label. The product should ideally display its amino acid profile, and as such an overview of BCAA’s. Compare it to others and choose a supplement which is high in protein and BCAA’s.
Following these easy steps, you should be able to find the best pea protein powder for your needs.