Top Myths About Pea Protein You Need to Know

Whey. Egg whites. Soy. Animal-based. Plant-based. When you’re sorting through all the types of proteins available, you’re inevitably going to have questions. After all, with so many protein options, it can be difficult to separate myth from fact, especially when it comes to relative newcomers like pea protein. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably wondered, “is pea protein healthy?” You may have even asked yourself, “how is pea protein bad for you?” Do you know the facts and myths about pea protein, so you know if pea protein is right for you?

The good news is that pea protein offers a plant-based option that’s ideal for those who experience common food allergies, such as dairy, soy or gluten. And, unlike many other plant-based proteins, it’s complete with nine essential amino acids. Nuzest pea protein packs a nutritional punch, with up to 21 grams of protein per 90-calorie serving. Best of all, it’s a sustainable source of protein, with much lower carbon and water footprints than animal-based proteins. 

So how do you separate fact from myth about pea protein and make the best nutritional choice? Read below to learn the top myths about pea protein you need to know.

Table of Contents

Can Pea Protein Cause Acne?

When you’re working hard to get lean and healthy, the last thing you want to deal with is acne. Unfortunately, acne breakouts and protein seem to go hand in hand… especially if that protein comes from whey.¹

Why? Because whey protein powders have been linked to an uptick in acne. When extracted from cow’s milk, whey may affect several hormonal growth factors, which studies suggest may exacerbate breakouts.²

You might ask, can pea protein cause acne? This is one of the myths about pea protein that are circulating the Internet. Fortunately, pea protein comes from plants and does not contain acne-triggering hormones. Instead, this clean source of protein offers the complete range of amino acids necessary for muscle health and energy, without the disruptive hormones. In short, pea protein can help keep your skin clear and healthy.

can pea protein cause acne

Can Pea Protein Cause Gas?

If you’ve ever used whey- or casein-based protein, you’ve likely experienced this less-than-pleasant side effect (or at least been an unwilling recipient at the gym). Why do so many proteins cause flatulence and, more importantly, is there a way to avoid gas after consuming protein? Can pea protein cause gas? This is one of the myths about pea protein that people believe to be true.

The answer is simple: Many people experience difficulty digesting milk-based proteins. Research indicates that up to 17 percent of people self-report as having a milk allergy,³ and other studies suggest that up to 19.9 of people may experience milk allergies.⁴ Those with an allergy or intolerance may experience flatulence.⁵

Plus, animal-based proteins may also contain sulfur, which contributes to that undesirable odor. For those who’d rather not pass gas, pea protein offers an alternative. 

Because Nuzest pea protein comes from plants, it doesn’t contain flatulence-triggering lactose. Instead, this sustainably sourced protein offers a clean, gas-free alternative. You can enjoy all the benefits of protein, without setting yourself up for unpleasant (and potentially embarrassing) side effects. 

Can Pea Protein Cause Constipation?

It’s no secret that a high protein, low carb diet is popular these days. After all, protein leaves you feeling fuller, longer. But for some who up their protein intake, this lifestyle change results in less, ahem, movement. So can pea protein cause constipation? No, this is another one of the myths about pea protein.

Luckily, pea protein doesn’t cause sluggish bowels. In fact, many forms of traditional medicine, such as Ayurvedic and Chinese, utilize peas specifically to promote digestive health.⁶ Not only are they easy to digest, peas’ fiber content helps keep you feeling full, cutting down on unhealthy eating. This strengthens the digestive tract and promotes regularity.

can pea protein cause constipation

Can Pea Protein Make You Fat?

While bodybuilders rely on protein to gain mass, others may use protein as part of a healthy plan to get lean. Fortunately, pea protein serves as an effective, sustainable protein source for both.

For those seeking to add muscle, pea protein can be used as an effective dietary supplement with weight gain as a positive side effect. When combined with resistance training, pea protein helps build muscle mass. Studies show that weight lifters who ingested 50 grams of pea protein each day gained the same amount of mass as weight lifters who ingested the same amount of whey protein, indicating that pea protein is just as effective as dairy-based protein.⁷

For those who don’t seek to build mass, pea protein serves as a source of lean protein that’s very low in carbohydrates, sugars and fat. Further, research shows that protein keeps you feeling full longer than fats or carbs, helping you to regulate caloric intake and lose weight in a healthy way. One study found that taking 20 grams of pea protein half an hour before eating a meal reduced the average calories consumed by 12 percent.⁸ Whether you seek to build mass or lose weight, pea protein offers a healthy route.

Can Pea Protein Cause Inflammation?

Generally, pea protein does not cause inflammation; in fact, it may help reduce inflammation. When you consume a substance that you’re sensitive or allergic to, your body protects itself by releasing antibodies. This kicks your immune system into gear and your white blood cells begin producing histamine, a natural compound that causes dilated blood vessels, increased blood flow, and tissue swelling. Together, this is known as an inflammatory response.

For many people, proteins sourced from dairy like whey and casein trigger an inflammatory response.⁹ Common symptoms include hives, headache, bloating, nausea, runny or stuffy nose, and shortness of breath. Over time, inflammation has been found to contribute to heart disease, certain types of cancer and other chronic illnesses.10,11,12 

Fortunately, pea protein does not trigger this inflammatory response in those who are sensitive to dairy or soy. Not only does allergen-friendly pea protein reduce inflammation, but studies also suggest that pea protein may benefit immune system function.¹³ In addition, peas are high in the amino acid lysine, which helps maintain a healthy immune system.

can pea protein cause inflammation

Can Pea Protein Cause Gout?

Pea protein is not known to cause gout. Those who suffer from gout, a type of arthritis, are sometimes instructed to follow a low-protein diet. Why? Because many high protein foods contain purines, a compound that the body breaks down into uric acid. Excess uric acid can accumulate in joints, crystallizing and causing painful inflammation.

While the highest concentrations of purines are found in foods such as beef, organ meats, and fatty fish, legumes (including peas) also contain purines. However, studies show that those with gout can consume a moderate amount of purine-rich plant foods, such as peas, dried beans, and tofu, without triggering an attack of gout.¹⁴

As with all purine-rich foods, those with gout should keep track of their purine intake. However, an alkaline diet that includes pea protein may help flush uric acid from the body, benefiting those who experience gout.

Can Pea Protein Cause Allergies?

This is a common question we get asked all the time because it is one of the top myths about pea protein. Good news: pea protein is free from common food allergens. You won’t find dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, nuts or corn in pea protein, making it a natural choice. In fact, our pea protein enjoys a 98 percent digestibility rating, meaning it is easy to digest for those who are prone to stomach upset. 

Peas are part of the legume family. By some estimates, about 95 percent of those with peanut allergies can tolerate peas.”15 However, those who are allergic to legumes, such as soybeans and peanuts, should take care when introducing pea protein into their diets due to the low possibility of a pea allergy. 

Can Pea Protein Cause Headaches?

Fortunately, pea protein is not known to cause headaches. It’s easy to see where this myth comes from though, as a quick internet search reveals that headaches are a common complaint among those who regularly use protein powders. However, headaches seem to plague those who use protein supplements sourced from dairy and soy. That’s because the types of proteins usedwhey, casein, and soyare common food allergens. 

These types of protein can trigger the body’s immune response, releasing histamine and leading to symptoms that include headaches. If you experience headaches or migraines after using animal- or another plant-based protein, pea protein offers another alternative that might agree with you better. 

Pea protein is free of the common allergens such as dairy proteins and soy that may lead to headaches or migraines. This makes it a natural choice for those with food sensitivities or allergens. 

can pea protein cause headaches

Can Pea Protein Cause Kidney Stones?

Not only does pea protein not cause kidney stones, but it also offers a great way for those with kidney disorders to safely get enough protein. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, those who’ve had or are susceptible to kidney stones may need to limit the amount of animal protein they consume… and peas offer an ideal way to replace that animal-based protein with plant-based source.16

Kidney stones have been linked to several different causes, including an excess of uric acid, which pea protein has been shown to help flush. Some develop kidney stones due to an excess of oxalate; peas are low in oxalate but high in protein, making them an excellent choice. 

In addition, being overweight may increase the chance of experiencing kidney stones. Adding pea protein to a healthy diet can help you safely lose weight without increasing the risk of developing kidney stones. 

Can Pea Protein Cause Hair Loss?

Pea protein does not cause hair loss. In fact, quite the opposite: research has linked protein deficiency to brittle, weak hair and hair loss.¹⁷ Studies indicate that protein plays an important role in hair health. Hair growth rate, thickness, and strength depend in large part upon lysine, one of the nine essential amino acids found in pea protein. Without enough lysine, hair is limp, brittle and thin. 

In contrast, a diet that’s unbalanced may cause hair issues. For instance, if you follow a high protein diet, you may limit carbohydrates. Your body uses carbs for fuel; if they’re not available, your body may convert fat to ketones and fatty acids. Over time, a poorly balanced diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies that may result in hair loss.

A balanced diet is a key to healthy hair. When included as part of a well-balanced diet, pea protein provides the amino acids you need to help you maintain shiny, strong locks. 

can pea protein cause hair loss

Can Pea Protein Cause Nausea?

Our pea protein’s extremely high digestibility rating98 percentmeans that it’s easy to digest, even for those with digestibility issues. This makes it a good choice for those who experience food sensitivities or have food allergies. 

While nausea is not a common side effect of pea protein, brands that contain lots of added sugars have been known to cause nausea.18 Sweeteners such as sorbitol, maltitol and isolated fructose, which are added to many protein powders, are common culprits. In contrast, Nuzest pea protein contains no added sugars

Dairy-based proteins are also known to cause nausea for those that are intolerant or allergic. Proteins made from whey and casein, both milk products, can trigger discomfort in those sensitive to lactose.

Can Pea Protein Cause Bloating?

Pea protein is not known to cause bloating. Because it’s made by isolating the protein from peas, it doesn’t lead to the uncomfortable bloating sensation that’s commonly reported by those who use animal-sourced proteins. 

What’s the difference? First, pea protein is easily digestible and, unlike whey and casein protein, free from the most common food allergens that can cause bloating.

But what causes bloating? For those who are sensitive or allergic to dairy, proteins sourced from milk, such as whey and casein, may lead to bloat.19 Not everyone produces enough of a certain enzyme needed for successful digestion. That means undigested dairy hangs out in your system, producing gas and bloating. For those with allergies or intolerance, pea protein offers a clean, easily digestible alternative.

can pea protein cause nausea

Can Pea Protein Cause Upset Stomach?

Another one of the top myths about pea protein is that it can cause an upset stomach, or be hard to digest. Fortunately, pea protein is highly digestible, ranking at an impressive 98 percent on the digestibility rating scale. This means that, for most people, pea protein will not cause an upset stomach or make you feel sick. Because pea protein lacks common food allergens, such as dairy, wheat, and nuts, it’s a better choice for those with food sensitivities or allergies.

However, it’s easy to see where the “upset stomach” myth comes from. Many popular protein supplements are sourced from animals and contain ingredients known to cause stomach pain and diarrhea. In the case of whey and casein proteins, which come from milk, dairy is a key culprit. 

For the many people that experience dairy intolerance, ingesting milk-based products leads to upset stomach, pain and even diarrhea, as their bodies cannot easily digest dairy. Pea protein offers an alternative. Free from dairy and other common irritants, Nuzest pea protein offers a clean choice for those with food allergies, vegans and vegetarians alike.

Pea Protein for Weight Loss

Pea protein is an ideal choice for those who want to lose weight. Not only does pea protein help you drop pounds by curbing cravings, but it also provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete, plant-sourced protein. 

Studies show that pea protein increases satiety or that feeling of being full. When you feel fuller for longer, you’re less likely to reach for a snack, making it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. Pea protein has been found to have just as much, if not more, curb-craving power as dairy-sourced protein.20

Pea protein also provides a comprehensive range of nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Not only do you get all of your essential amino acids, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein packs up to 21 grams of protein into a single serving, with no added sugars or other unnatural ingredients that you simply don’t need. Best of all, it tastes good, making it easier to achieve your weight loss goals in a healthy way.

person on scale

Pea Protein for Weight Gain

If weight gain is your goal, pea protein can help. A clean, plant-based protein like Nuzest can help you gain weight in a healthy way, avoiding unnecessary sugars and other additives that your body doesn’t need. With its complete profile of essential amino acids, iron and calcium, pea protein offers comprehensive nutrition. It delivers 19 to 21 grams of pure protein per serving, without the empty calories from added sugars.

Another thing Nuzest leaves out? Common food allergens that can lead to discomfort and allergic reactions. That means no dairy, no gluten, no nuts, no eggs… in fact, Nuzest does not contain any of the most common allergens that trigger food sensitivities. 

Plus, Nuzest is entirely plant-based, so our pea protein is appropriate for vegans and vegetarians alike. With an uber-high digestibility rating of 98 percent, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to gain weight in a healthy way. 

Pea Protein for Muscle Gain

When it comes to gaining muscle, protein has long reigned supreme, and for good reason: you can’t build muscle without nine essential amino acids found in protein. Nuzest pea protein offers a clean, sustainable option that delivers up to 21 grams of protein, complete with all nine amino acids and the caloric support you need to build muscle mass.

Studies show that weight lifters who supplemented with pea protein experienced just as much muscle gain as those who used whey, and much more than those who used a placebo.²¹ Pea protein also offers a healthy alternative to animal-based and soy-based proteins that may cause stomach upset, acne and other issues so often associated with whey and other dairy-based proteins. That’s because pea protein is sourced solely from plants, so it doesn’t contain dairy and other common food allergens. 

Pea protein is also an ideal way to ensure that you don’t see muscle loss. Supplementing a healthy diet with Nuzest provides the amino acids and protein you need to maintain the physique that you’ve worked so hard to build.

pea protein for muscle gain

Pea Protein for IBS

For the 15 percent of the population that suffers from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), pea protein offers a welcome alternative.²² Unlike so many other protein supplements, Nuzest is not sourced from the foods most commonly associated with allergens, like wheat, soy, eggs, and dairy. Instead, it’s derived from plants, a clean, sustainable source that doesn’t trigger IBS symptoms such as bloating, gas and abdominal pain. 

Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is also free from added sugars that may trigger IBS symptoms. Other protein supplements often contain added sweeteners and sugars (a.k.a. carbohydrates) that are known to exacerbate IBS. Research shows that those with IBS may want to avoid foods containing fructose and polyols,²³ or sweeteners such as sorbitol, xylitol, and maltitol, none of which are found in Nuzest protein.

Because pea protein is derived from isolate, which means the carbohydrates are removed, it doesn’t serve as an IBS trigger. Pea protein offers a clean, sustainable way to get the protein you need without making IBS worse. 

Pea Protein Taste

One of the top myths about pea protein is that it tastes bad. All of pea protein’s health benefits are clear, but an important question remains: how does pea protein taste? Fortunately, pea protein tastes as good as it is good for you. Nuzest Clean Lean Protein has a good mouthfeel, so it’s enjoyable to drink. Never gritty, this smooth protein powder mixes easily into water or your favorite plant-based milk, or smoothies. 

Best of all, no added sweeteners mean no icky chemical aftertaste (like the kind that’s common with stevia). Nuzest offers a range of flavors, too. You can use it as flour in baked goods, sprinkle it into your oatmeal, stir it right into your morning coffee… the possibilities are endless and delicious. 

how does pea protein taste

Is Pea Protein Low FODMAP?

Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is almost completely free from fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols, also known as FODMAPs. In plain language, these are carbohydrates that many people have a hard time digesting and absorbing. When left in the gut, these carbs interact with intestinal bacteria, producing excess gas which leads to stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

Pea protein’s lack of FODMAPs makes it a great choice for anyone following a low FODMAP diet. Nuzest pea protein doesn’t contain the types of carbohydrates and sugar-alcohols—such as disaccharides, fructans, monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polyols—that are hard for many to digest. For those that are sensitive to FODMAPs, gas, cramping, pain and bloating are common reactions after ingesting from FODMAP-containing foods.

A complete protein, Nuzest contains up to 90 percent protein, thanks to our isolation process in which yellow peas are ground to a fine powder. Starch and fiber—which contain FODMAPs—are then removed, leaving a clean, sustainable protein source. Clean Lean Protein offers a low-allergen, complete protein, that’s free not only from FODMAPs, but contains little to no lectins, phytic acid, saponins, trypsin inhibitors, and other anti-nutrients.

Does Pea Protein Have a Long Shelf Life?

Nuzest Clean Lean Protein will remain fresh for up to two years, though it tastes so good we doubt you’d ever leave it for that long.

Is Pea Protein Safe During Pregnancy?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pregnant women require additional protein to support 13.8 grams of gestational weight gain; these requirements total 1, 9 and 31 grams per day in the first, second and third trimesters, respectively. Pea protein is a clean, sustainable protein source that’s low in food allergens and very digestible, making it a natural choice. 

However, because every individual is different with specific nutritional requirements and health conditions, we always advise pregnant or breastfeeding women to speak with their health practitioner before adding any nutritional supplements to their diet.

is pea protein safe for pregnancy

Is Pea Protein Hard to Digest?

You may have heard one of the top myths about pea protein: pea protein is hard to digest. But this is quite the opposite! Pea protein is extremely easy to digest. In fact, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein has a 98 percent digestibility rating. Because it’s free from common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, nuts, soy and eggs, pea protein is an ideal choice for those with food sensitivities and allergies. 

If you have a dairy allergy, are lactose intolerant, allergic to soy or are prone to digestive upset, pea protein offers an alternative. It’s also 100 percent vegan and GMO-free, great news for those that follow a plant-based diet. Pea protein makes sense for those on a paleo diet, too. Thanks to our water-based isolation process, we remove lectins from our protein. 

Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is tummy-friendly, perfect for those prone to digestive upset. It’s fine grind and small particle size means it dissolves smoothly and easily, aiding in digestion and absorption. 

Protein Without Lectins

If you’re following a paleo diet or avoiding lectins, Nuzest pea protein offers an ideal alternative to other protein powders. Some research suggest that lectins, a type of proteins that occur naturally in plants but don’t offer nutritional value, may have adverse health effects if consumed in large quantities.²⁴ 

Fortunately, lectins are removed from Nuzest pea protein during our patented isolation process. Rather than using chemicals, as many protein powders do, our isolation process is water-based and enzymatic. That means no lectins and no harmful chemicals such as hexane. 

Instead, you’ll simply find a highly concentrated, plant-based protein, complete with all nine essential amino acids… without all the lectins, added sugars and common food allergens found in so many other protein powders.

 

Whether you want to gain muscle mass, lose or maintain weight, or simply eat a healthy, balanced diet, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein offers an ideal plant-based protein choice. Free from common allergens, and packed with healthy protein, this vegan- and vegetarian-friendly powder is highly digestible, tummy-friendly and sourced sustainably. Given all the types of protein supplements out there, you’re inevitably going to have questions. Getting the facts about protein will help you make the right decision for your individual needs. So now that you know the top myths about pea protein, are you ready to give peas a chance?

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22988649 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3900340/#r09
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17628647
  4. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/Supplement_1/S17.2
  5. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/problems-digesting-dairy-product
  6. https://draxe.com/pea-protein/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25628520
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22916818 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26287637   
  10. https://www.cancercenter.com/community/blog/2018/08/inflammation-linked-to-cancer-but-lifestyle-changes-may-help  
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19890624  
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12551878  
  13.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21442413 
  14.  https://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(17)30151-6/pdf 
  15.  https://www.jaci-inpractice.org/article/S2213-2198(19)30175-8/fulltext  
  16. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/eating-diet-nutrition
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/ 
  18. https://michigantoday.umich.edu/2019/04/09/fake-sweeteners-make-for-real-problems/ 
  19. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-dish-on-dairy 
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4400298/   
  21. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5  
  22. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs/5-foods-to-avoid-if-you-have-ibs 
  23. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/take-control-of-ibs-with-low-fodmap-diet/ 
  24. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-what-are-dietary-lectins-and-should-you-avoid-eating-them/

 

Go ahead, give peas a chance! Shop our selection of Clean Lean Protein products to level up your protein intake with this delicious, sustainable plant-based protein option.