It seems like everyone these days are transitioning to more plant-based foods. In fact, in a recent Nielsen survey, 40% of Americans are opting for more plant-based options, as opposed to animal-sourced foods due to environmental and nutritional factors. With the massive shift in preferred food sources, it’s important to know what the differences are between different plant protein sources, in order to make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Nutritional composition, micronutrients, phytonutrients, minerals, fiber, even taste, and texture are all different variables that make plant-based protein sources unique. Today, we’re going to discuss the differences between pea protein vs. pumpkin seed protein, so you can determine which one belongs in your nutrition program.
Comparing The Labels
To start, when you’re looking to buy a nutritional supplement or protein powder, it’s crucial to examine and compare the nutrition labels. While you’re searching for which protein has the most protein content, make sure the protein you select does not contain any proprietary blends or mixes. Products that use blends do not disclose how much of each ingredient the product contains. So how do you know what you’re supplementing with… you don’t. Make sure the label provides complete transparency, into what ingredients and how much they use. Most plant-based or vegan protein powders will disclose which protein sources they use beneath the supplement facts panel, without telling you the amounts of each respective ingredient.
It’s important to also note how many servings your protein has. Several plant-based options will have lower protein content and fewer servings per container. Make sure you’re getting a fair number of servings and greater than 18g of protein per serving.
Swolverine combines pumpkin seed protein, with quinoa, pea protein isolate, hemp protein, and sacha inchi protein, in a proprietary blend free mix, to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of all the essential and nonessential amino acids you need to improve your performance goals.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Plant Protein (25 Servings, Chocolate Cake)
What Is Pea Protein
Peas are legumes, similar to chickpeas and lentils. Pea protein is made by extracting then isolating the protein from yellow peas. Typically, pea protein is used as a food ingredient or additive to increase protein content. It’s also extremely easy to disguise, making it a great option as a plant protein substitute in everything from vegan burgers, to cheese, yogurt, milk, and protein bars. A majority of plant proteins use pea protein due to its smooth, rich texture and high protein content. Studies have shown that head-to-head pea protein vs whey rivals in its ability to improve training outcomes, such as strength, muscle mass, and body composition.
Is Pea Protein A Complete Protein?
Complete proteins are classified as those that contain all nine essential amino acids. Essential, meaning that you must obtain them from your food or through supplements. The food sources that contain adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids are protein sources, typically derived from meat, poultry, or dairy sources. When a plant protein source does not meet minimum thresholds of all nine essential amino acids, they are labeled as an incomplete source of protein.
Pea protein has an impressive essential amino acid profile, which is paramount to support your athletic performance and goals. Yet, there is an ongoing debate, whether or not Pea Protein is a complete source of protein. Although pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids, technically making it a complete protein, it’s low in the amino acid methionine. As compared to other plant-based protein sources, pea protein is the closest to animal-based protein sources such as whey with a very similar amino acid content.
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What Is Pumpkin Seed Protein
Pumpkin seed protein is a high-quality plant based/vegan protein powder derived from pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seed protein is a by-product of the pumpkin oil manufacturing process and is obtained during a cold-processed extraction process collected from the “press cake.” The cake is then collected and milled and ground into pumpkin protein powder.
Is Pumpkin Seed Protein A Complete Protein?
Pumpkin seed protein, much like pea protein, contains all nine essential amino acids as well. However, pumpkin seed protein is considered to be low in the essential amino acids threonine and lysine, thus making it an incomplete protein.
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Pea Protein Vs Pumpkin Seed Protein – What Are The Differences
Although both peas and pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of protein, there are some fundamental differences between pea vs pumpkin seed protein, which can make a difference dependent upon your health and fitness goals.
Pea protein powder packs about 24 grams of protein and 120 calories, as compared to pumpkin seed protein which provides around 102 calories and 20 grams of protein per (30 g) serving. Pumpkin seed protein is a bit higher in healthy omega-3 fats and carbohydrates with 4 g as compared to 1.5. However, 3 of the 4 g of carbohydrates are fiber, resulting in 1 net gram of carbs.
PEA VS PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN (30G)
PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN
Your body needs micronutrients to perform critical biological functions. Both peas and pumpkin seeds are rich sources of iron, with pumpkin seeds at 7.68 mg per serving compared to 2.85 mg for peas.
Studies have shown that both pea protein and pumpkin seed protein have beneficial effects on heart health, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds however do offer a few benefits, that peas do not such as the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linoleic acid. A vast amount of evidence shows that ALA contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit your heart, joints, and brain. Pumpkin seeds are a also great source of Vitamin E, which is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and free radical damage, improving overall health and wellness.
The most prominent mineral in peas is potassium which regulates fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals [R].
Therefore, both offer several micronutrients which are beneficial to overall health and wellness.
Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) is a method of evaluating the quality of a protein. PDCAAs are based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest it. Most plant proteins have low bioavailability (meaning the body has a hard time absorbing the nutrients). Pea protein isolate, however, ranks at a 0.928, on a scale of 1 being the highest in digestibility. The PDCAA of pea protein is therefore very similar to that of whey, casein, and egg. Pumpkin Seed Protein, however, ranks with a PDCAA score of a 0.9, which is very similar to pea protein [R].
Digestibility is an important factor when it comes to performance benefits and outcomes. Delivering the essential amino acids, you need post-workout, is vital to rebuild and repair lean muscle mass, to help more muscle and recover faster. When choosing pea vs pumpkin seed protein digestibility is negligible since they are so similar.
Now, let’s talk about the real deciding factor – taste. Pea protein has a neutral flavor, mixes very smoothly like whey or whey isolate, and is not chalky in nature as compared to its plant protein counterparts. Pumpkin seed protein is very similar to pea in texture and smoothness with a mild, nutty flavor. Unfortunately, since both pea and soy are so similar in texture, the taste is hard to differentiate.
Pea Protein Vs Pumpkin Seed Protein: Takeaway
Both Pea protein and pumpkin seed protein offer a vast array of potential health benefits. Nutritionally, peas have slightly more protein content than pumpkin seed. However, pumpkin seeds offer more in terms of micronutrients, healthy fats, and antioxidant properties. Considering peas are low in the essential amino acid methionine, and pumpkin seeds are low in threonine and lysine, finding a plant based vegan protein powder, which contains both peas and pumpkin seeds is going to the best choice. With both, you gain more protein content, healthy fats, and essential amino acids, with a smooth and rich texture and taste.
Looking for the best plant-based protein to build more muscle, shred body fat, and improve athletic performance?
Dahl, W., Foster, L., & Tyler, R. (2012). Review of the health benefits of peas (Pisum sativum L.). British Journal of Nutrition, 108(S1), S3-S10. doi:10.1017/S0007114512000852