Pea Protein vs Soy Protein: Which Is Better?

The amount of plant-based protein powders is constantly increasing, which is great for vegans and vegetarians! But too many options can lead to confusion and indecision. Even if you manage to break it down into two popular options (pea protein vs. soy protein), how do you know which is best for you?

You want a product that tastes good, provides the nutrients you need to reach your goals, and doesn’t cause any negative side effects. So, to help you decide, we compare these two options so you can determine which one will work best for you.

How is pea and soy protein powder made?

Isolated image of protein powder and scoop |  Pea Protein Versus Soy Protein

To make protein powder, manufacturers extract the protein content from foods. In the case of pea protein and soy protein powder, they are ground yellow peas either soy beans respectively and convert them into powder using dry separation or wet processing methods, explains a registered dietitian and certified athletic trainer. Dana Angelo BlancoMS, RD, ATC.

Dry separation involves separating fine protein powder from coarse starch powder, resulting in protein concentrate. Wet processing involves preparing a water-based solution from the plant protein and running it through a centrifuge, resulting in a protein isolate.

The difference is that isolate is higher in protein with very little to no carbohydrates or fat, while concentrate has a little less protein and more carbohydrates and fat, explains White. The isolated protein is at least 90 percent protein by weightwhile the concentrate is at least 70 percent protein by weightaccording to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Pea Protein Nutrition vs. Soy Protein Nutrition

Isolated image of yellow peas |  Pea Protein Versus Soy ProteinIsolated image of soybeans |  Pea Protein Versus Soy Protein

Although exact nutritional data will vary from brand to brand, below is how pea and soy protein powders compare to each other.

Quite similar! The biggest difference to highlight here is the type of protein each one provides. Soybeans are a complete protein, while peas are an incomplete protein. When a protein is complete, it provides all nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts.

Can pea protein help you build muscle?

Woman drinks protein shake near window |  Pea Protein Versus Soy Protein

Although pea protein is an incomplete protein, it can still help you build muscle effectively.

In general, the amino acid profile of pea protein and soy protein is quite comparable. According to a study 2018Both have branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which help build and maintain muscle.

In general, your body needs protein to build muscle. AND investigation sample that pea protein may be effective in helping to build muscle, particularly due to its high leucine content.

So whether you prefer peas or soy, you can still use plant protein powders to help you reach your goals.

Pea Protein Side Effects Versus Soy Protein Side Effects

Everyone responds differently to protein powders, not only because of the base ingredients, but sometimes also because of other potential ingredients, such as sugar alcohols, that can cause bloating.

There’s no scientific evidence that pea protein powder is inflammatory, says White. Some find pea protein easy to digest, but as long as you don’t have a soy allergy, most people don’t have difficulty digesting soy either, White says.

Then there are isoflavones. Whole soybeans have these organic molecules, which can be beneficial in maintaining health.

But soy protein powder It does not provide many isoflavones. During the processing of isolated soy protein, between 80 and 90 percent of the isoflavones can be lost.

Which one should I use?

Both pea protein and soy protein are good options for plant-based protein powders. However, pea has slightly higher levels of certain amino acids and some may find it easier to digest.

Soy and pea powders have comparable amounts of protein and fiber, and unless you are allergic to soy, there is no need to avoid it.

“Both are excellent plant-based options. “Everyone tolerates protein powders differently, so it all comes down to personal preference and tolerance,” says White.

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