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Pea Protein vs Soy Protein: What's the Scoop?

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Both pea and soy protein are great plant-based protein, but pea protein contains more amino acids per serving and is proven to boost performance gains more than soy protein.

Table of Contents

Pea Protein vs Soy Protein

Ever since protein powder became a personal wellness essential, soy protein and pea protein have been two of the most preferred options for vegan protein powder. While soy protein is widely-known for its abundance of essential amino acids, pea protein is gaining ground for its vegan-friendly profile. 

Pea protein is derived from yellow peas and is plant-based, soy-free, dairy-free, and lactose-free. It is known to be high in essential amino acids such as leucine and isoflavones. 

Soy protein powder does not come without its fair share of controversies. Soy protein is a common allergen that may cause digestion problems in some individuals. So...which protein powder should you go with? Let's have a look. 

What's the difference between soy and pea protein?

Pea protein is a plant-based protein source that is similar to whey protein in amino acid profile, digestibility, and muscle-mass building. Pea protein is easily digestible, making it a welcome source of protein for people with digestive issues.

In terms of nutritional profile, pea protein offers essential amino acids in the same ratio as whey protein, such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine. It is also high in essential amino acids like arginine and histidine. 

The main difference between soy and pea protein lies in the amount of essential amino acids they contain. Pea protein has a higher leucine content than soy protein, so it is better for supplementing muscle growth and recovery. 

Additionally, pea protein tends to have a less allergenic profile than soy protein. This is due to its low methylfolate content and high isoflavones content. 

Pea protein powders are somewhat lower in the essential amino acid methionine than other sources, despite having a complete profile of all nine essential amino acids - those your body can't produce. You may either supplement the deficit with methionine from your normal diet or choose a pea protein plus hemp blend to ensure you are covered.

How do they make pea protein?

Yellow split peas (Pisum sativum) are the base ingredient of pea protein powder. The peas are crushed and milled into a flour containing protein, starch, and soluble fiber first, before the outer shells are mechanically removed. 

In the next step of the process, starch and fiber are removed from the powdered pea concentrate via a process that uses a centrifuge, leaving behind a mixture of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Pure pea protein in the shape of a white powder appears after the paste is dried to completion, until only pea protein isolate remains. 

How do they make soy protein?

Soy protein may be extracted or isolated from soybean or the soybean meal that results from preliminary grinding. Dehulling (removing the shells) and defatting soybeans are used to isolate soy protein, which is then used in a soybean meal. 

The exterior layer of soybean flakes is removed during the dehulling process, which is afterwards used to make soy flour, soy concentrates, and soy isolates. 

The removal of fatty acids from the soybeans flakes to make processed, or soy protein ingredients, is called defatting soybeans. Washing the flakes in alcohol or water to remove sugar and dietary fiber is a step in the process of removing fatty acids. 

Soybean flakes are then ground to make soy flour. Soy flour is a dependable source of soy protein for lactose-intolerant people, and depending on the process, soy flour may be made with a controlled degree of fat. 

Whole-fat soy flour can be rough, taking on the form and texture of "soy grits". A finer texture for ultra-thin soy particles is achieved through further processing. 

Is pea protein powder inflammatory?

Pea protein is a full protein that provides all of the necessary amino acids. It's also a good option for dieters because it has few calories and fat.

Studies by the National Institutes of Health have suggested that pea protein can actually support a soothing of post-workout muscles, and have other calming, beneficial effects on tissues that are slightly inflamed due to rigorous physical activity. 

Allergens in Soy Products

Soy is a common allergen, and many people have an allergic reaction to it. Symptoms of soy allergies may include skin rash, hives, nausea, and difficulty breathing. If you have a soy allergy, you should speak with your doctor about possible options for treatment. 

What’s going on with that allergic soy reaction? When your immune system reacts to soy that you've taken in, it views the protein in soy as a harmful "invader". This mis-cued immune response is the basis of a soy allergy. Anybody, regardless of age, may have a soy allergy. 

Infants and small children are typically more likely to be allergic to soy, and if you have had prior food allergies, you're also more likely to develop a soy allergy. 

In the United States, roughly 0.4% of newborns possess a soy allergy to some degree. As they grow older, many infants who are allergic to soy will outgrow it.

Distinct differences between Pea and Soy Proteins

Pea protein powder is a source of essential amino acids and protein. The levels of branched chain amino acids in pea protein, on the other hand, are fairly amazing. 

Pea protein is rich in arginine, another essential when it comes to increasing your fitness in the gym, and it's unusually high in the lean muscle-building superstars -- leucine, isoleucine, and valine -- the famous "branched amino acids" that so specifically lend themselves to muscle-mass building. 

Search for the words 'raw' or 'cold processed' on the pea protein product label to ensure that you're getting the most out of your pea protein powder. 

The amino acids in conventional pea protein are denatured by a heating process, making it difficult for your body to absorb them. 

All essential and branched-chain amino acids — Isoleucine, Leucine, and Valkine — are present in both pea protein and soy protein, though in comparison to soy, pea protein has somewhat higher levels of these muscle-loving BCAAs. 

Soy protein may have more protein per gram than pea protein, and soy's bioavailability may have you thinking that it's a better protein source than pea. 

But research indicates that pea protein is superior to soy protein at promoting muscle protein synthesis, thanks to pea proteins' BCAAs. And pea protein, remember, is hypoallergenic, whereas soy protein is a fairly common allergen.

Soya Powder vs Bulk Pea Protein

Is pea protein soy? Far from it. 

Soya powder is a complete protein source and is high in essential amino acids such as isoleucine, leucine, and methionine. It is also high in plant-based protein, making it a vegan-friendly protein source. It is a good source of plant-based protein and essential amino acids. 

Both soy powder and pure pea protein powder are white powders with similar tastes and mouth-feel. However, pea protein is slightly more B-vitamin rich than soy powder. This makes pea protein a better choice for those looking for a nutrient-rich vegan protein source. 

Edamame, also known as soy beans, are a popular and protein-rich treat. But soy is also a divisive protein source. Many consider soy to be a powerful and near-superior food, but others regard it as a health hazard. 

Phytates, also known as antinutrients, are found in soy protein. The effect is a limitation on the absorption of soy's mineral content, especially iron and zinc. 

Also, the phytoestrogens in soy—chemical compounds that imitate hormones and have estrogen-like properties—are being studied for their possible, and hotly debated, impact on testosterone activity in men. The fact is that soy protein is heavily filtered and rinsed, which removes nearly all phytoestrogens in the process. 

Pure Pea protein powder comparable to whey in muscle-mass increase 

Pea protein's essential amino acid profile is second to none—which is critical for supporting your athletic performance and personal wellness goals. Pea protein is a popular non soy vegan protein, though whether or not Pea protein is a complete protein is still up for debate. 

Pea protein is technically a complete protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids, although it is deficient (lower) in methionine. 

As for flavor, there are unflavored pea protein powders and flavored pea protein powders. KOS Naturals, for instance, works very intentionally with a flavor lab to innovate delicious and even playful new flavors one doesn't typically associate with protein supplements. 

Pea protein is the closest plant-based protein option to animal-based protein options like whey in terms of amino acid content, as compared to other plant-based protein sources.

Pea Protein vs Soy Protein: To Pea or Not to Pea

Protein is essential for muscle growth, weight management, and overall health. When it comes to protein sources, pea protein is a terrific source of plant-based protein with few calories and all your essential amino acids. 

Both pea protein and soy protein are good sources of amino acids for muscle growth, weight management, and overall health when consumed in the right amounts. Soy is controversial to the point that in the realm of plant-based proteins, soy has somewhat fallen out of fashion

On balance, pea protein's amino acid profile—and the whey-comparable effects of its branched-chain amino acids on muscle-mass building—would seem to make it the choice du jour for those who want to avoid dairy-based protein supplements. 

As in all things "wellness" though, one is always advised to confer with a physician when making these critical lifestyle and fitness decisions


What's the difference between soy and pea protein? 

The main difference between soy and pea protein is their source. Soy protein is derived from soybeans, while pea protein is derived from yellow split peas. 

When it comes to nutrition, pea protein contains higher levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are essential for muscle growth and repair. 

Overall, both soy and pea protein are excellent plant-based sources of protein and can both be beneficial depending on your individual nutrition goals. Soy has some potential drawbacks, and the debate, and scientific research, continues. 

Is pea protein hard on the kidneys? 

Pea protein is generally safe for the kidneys, and there is no proof that it may be harmful in any way. Pea protein has not been linked to any negative renal effects, according to research. It is, however, Always recommended to speak with your doctor before utilizing pea protein powder or goods if you already have existing renal concerns. 

What is the recent controversy over soy? 

Recently, there has been a controversy over soy products due to the potential health risks associated with the so-called phytoestrogens that are present in soy, and their possible effect on testosterone. Soy protein is also a fairly common allergen. 

However, pea protein is a plant-based complete protein source with no reported health risks. It is also vegan-friendly and low in calories making it a great alternative for those looking for soy-free options. 

Pea protein powder is gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts and dieters alike, and the pea protein shake or smoothie is an increasingly popular protein source, due to its benefits for muscle growth, weight management, and sustaining energy.


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