A while ago there weren’t many pea protein powders on the market. There’s now a wide enough range available that we can write a list of the best pea protein powders!
Pea protein is growing in popularity as an alternative to whey protein and is sometimes combined with other vegetable proteins, like rice protein, for a more complete nutritional profile.
Pea protein is dairy and gluten free so is a great choice for people who suffer from food allergies or intolerances. It is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans as it not made from animal products.
As people become more and more aware about the artificial ingredients being used in today’s products, pea protein is soaring in popularity. Pea proteins do not contain any added sugars or artificial ingredients. They are also GMO free. It’s produced through a mechanical process, rather than chemical process, and no chemicals or additives are used during the extraction process, just water.
Another benefit of pea protein is its macronutrient profile. Peas are high in protein and low in fat so it’s no surprise that pea protein powders are high in protein with minimal fats, carbohydrates, and sugars. This makes them a very versatile form of protein – pea protein powders are commonly used in smoothies or baking to increase protein content without increasing the fat, carbohydrate, or sugar content.
So how do we choose the best pea protein powders? We look at protein content, amino acid profile, ingredients used, taste and mixability.
Best Pea Protein Powders 2017
Sizes available: 225g, 500g, 1kg
Flavours: Just Natural, Creamy Cappuccino (recently renamed to Real Coffee), Wild Strawberry, Sweet Vanilla, Rich Chocolate
Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is made from premium European Golden Pea Protein and is has the highest protein count for a pea protein at up to 90%. Each 25g serve contains over 20g protein including all 9 essential amino acids as well as some non-essential acids. Each serve contains 17.9g BCAAs of which 8.4g is Leucine. With less than 1g of fat, carbohydrates, and sugar, this is the cleanest pea protein. It also has a 98% digestibility rating so it’s easy to digest and absorb.
A great advantage is it comes in an extra small tub, 225g. If you are looking to try pea protein for the first time this is a great option so you’re not stuck with 500g or 1kg if you don’t find you like it. They also have the most flavours available with strawberry and coffee being unique flavours unavailable in other plant based proteins.
Clean Lean Protein is great on its own, added to smoothies, or added into baking. For extra nutritional support it can be paired with Nuzest Good Green Stuff.
Sizes available: 500g, 1kg
Flavours: Chocolate, Vanilla, Unflavoured, Strawberry
Vital Protein is the highest concentration of pea protein available. The pea protein contains 100% pea protein from golden peas. Each 25g serve (1 scoop) contains 20g of protein which means Vital Pea Protein is over 80% protein. It also has a 98% digestibility rating.
One serve contains an impressive 18.6g BCAAs which includes 8.7g Leucine. Each serve of the Vanilla flavour contains 4.8g Carbohydrates and 1.4g Fat, while the Chocolate flavour contains fewer carbohydrates (3.2g) but more fat (2.2g).
Both flavours contain minimal sugars and are sweetened with monk fruit and organic Thaumatin. Thaumatin is a natural sweetener that is up to 2000 times sweeter than sugar so only a tiny amount is required. It is extracted from the Katemfe fruit which is also known as the African Serendipity Berry.
Vital protein mixes well with a smooth texture and not too sweet taste. The classic plant protein aftertaste is only mild. Both sizes of the Vital Protein are well priced and can be combined with Vital Greens for nutrition-packed shake or smoothie.
Sizes available: 500g and 1kg
Flavours: Chocolate and vanilla
Balance Plant Protein is a great addition to the range of dairy free proteins available in New Zealand, especially as the Balance Naturals range has been launched and their existing proteins rebranded. Balance have done their research and know that this is a popular section of the market. They did a lot of research and product testing to formulate Balance Plant Protein and their hard work paid off!
Balance Plant protein contains a blend of Pea Protein Isolate, Organic Brown Rice Protein Concentrate, Chia Protein Powder and Sacha Inchi Powder, for a protein content of 21.6g per serve (30g) with only 2g Carbohydrates per serve and less than 1g Fat and sugars. By combining these different dairy free protein sources they are able to provide a complete amino acid profile. Each serve contains around 4g naturally occuring and added BCAAs. It also includes a small amount of added Glutamine and its precursor, Glutamic Acid.
Balance have also added the digestive enzymes Bromelain and Papain to aid digestion and nutrient absorption. The protein is sweetened with Steviol Glycosides and Thaumatin.
Mixiability and taste is a great feature of Balance Plant Protein. It mixes completely and has minimal after taste – making it friendly for new users to plant protein.
Sizes available: 1kg
Flavours: Chocolate, Vanilla
A relatively new pea protein to the market, Clean Nutrition Pea Protein Powder is made from 100% non GMO US and Canadian Peas. Each 30g serve (2 scoops) contains 22.6g protein and 4.2g BCAAs which includes 2.1g of Leucine. Each serve contains 1.9g Carbohydrates and almost zero fat or sugar. It is naturally sweetened and flavoured, and contains no other ingredients.
Clean Nutrition Pea Protein is one of the best pea proteins we’ve used when it comes to mixing and taste. It mixes completely in water using just a shaker which is important when you’re on the go. Taste and consistency is good as there is only a slight aftertaste. The vanilla flavour was also a tasty addition to some Vanilla Chia Seed Bliss Balls we made!
A 1kg bag of Clean Nutrition Pea Protein contains approximately 30 serves.
Sizes available: 500g or 1kg
Flavours: Chocolate, Vanilla
Musclepharm have recently release a new range of products called the Natural Series. One of the first released products in this series is the Musclepharm Plant Based Organic Protein. Made from a blend of Pea Protein Isolate and Organic QuinoaTrim Quinoa this plant based protein provides a complete profile of essential amino acids to support daily nutrition and performance.
Each 40.7g serve (2 scoops) provides 20g of protein, 9g carbohydrates of which 2g are fibre and 1g is sugar, and 6g fat. Musclepharm have included a Coconut MCTs and Fibre Blend which contains organic coconut and organic oat bran. This blend of ingredients will help the protein keep you fulling for longer and also support stable glucose levels. Musclepharm have also added prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes to support gut health and increase absorption of nutrients.
Musclepharm Organic Protein is sweetened with Organic Stevia Extract and Monk Fruit Extract. The chocolate flavour is created with organic cocoa flavour and organic cocoa powder.
The protein mixes great and water and tastes delicious too. Again there a slight chalky after taste but as anyone who has ever tried plant protein knows, that’s unavoidable and at least we know that there’s no artificial ingredients in there!
With a recommended retail price of $59.99 for 500g this plant protein is a bit harder on the budget. We feel this is justified by the fact that all the ingredients are organic, as organic ingredients are harder to source.