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by Collin Stark January 06, 2022 4 min read

One of the biggest struggles that many people have when trying to live a healthy lifestyle is consuming enough protein.

This is even more challenging for those who are choosing to live a plant-based lifestyle.

While it takes a little more effort, it is absolutely possible to get in the protein you need for your goals if you prioritize the right plant-based sources.

This is why I want to talk about the differences between animal and plant protein sources ... what complete proteins vs. incomplete proteins are ... and more specifically, dive into what pea protein is.

Facts on Protein

First, it is important to understand that protein is one of the three key macro-nutrients that we need.

Protein is found throughout the body in our muscle, bone, skin, hair, and many other body parts and tissues.

Consuming optimal amounts of protein through the food we eat plays a huge role in helping with fat loss, muscle growth, overall body composition, controlling cravings throughout the day, and even improving overall health and wellness.

I want to note that not all sources of protein are created equal. They can be classified as a “complete” or “incomplete” protein source.

A complete protein is a protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids (EAAs).

Vegan Power Pro - Iced Oatmeal Cookie

These complete proteins are generally from animal sources like fish, poultry, eggs, beef, and pork.

Incomplete proteins are protein sources that are missing or low in one or more of the nine EAAs.

Incomplete proteins are usually from plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains like brown rice or whole-wheat bread, vegetables like spinach, corn, or broccoli, and legumes in the form of lentils, peas, and beans.

A plant-based protein that has become more popular and talked about as of late is pea protein.

With the growing interest in plant-based lifestyles, there has been an increase in the products available with pea and other plant-based proteins.

Now, I want to dive into more about pea protein specifically, and how it CAN benefit some people.

What is Pea Protein?

Pea protein is exactly as it sounds, it is the protein extracted from split peas.

Pea protein is highly bioavailable, free of the top food allergens, and one of the better digested plant-based proteins ... making it an attractive option for those with dietary restrictions and certain lifestyle choices.

Pea protein can be prepared in three forms: pea flour, pea protein concentrate, or pea protein isolate.

Pea protein isolate undergoes different processing than concentrate, which results in highly concentrated protein fractions.

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Protein isolates have the highest percentage of protein per serving, with less carbs and fats than the concentrate form.

Pea protein is an example of an incomplete protein source as described earlier. The thing that differentiates proteins as complete or incomplete is their amino acid content. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

All protein that you eat is built by chains of amino acids linked together.

There are three groups that amino acids are classified as:

  1. Non-essential amino acids – our bodies can produce these on its own.
  2. Essential amino acids – our bodies do not produce these on its own, so we need to get them from our diet.
  3. Conditionally essential amino acids - these are nonessential amino acids that are classified as conditionally essential only under specific circumstances such as illness or stress, because your body will need more of them.

Pea protein contains all the EAAs, but is low in one called methionine ... making it an incomplete protein source.

The word “incomplete” does not mean that these protein sources are bad or inherently less than others. It just means that they are lacking or low in some of the individual EAAs by themselves.

When To Use Amino Acids

The good news is that these incomplete proteins can be paired with complementary protein sources that will help to fill the gap in the EAAs.

These can be used at meals or throughout the day to still get all nine EAAs.

Some examples of complementary protein pairings include things like rice and beans, pasta and peas, a peanut butter sandwich with whole-wheat bread, etc.

Supplementing to Fill the Gap

Just as all protein sources from food are not created equal, neither are protein powders.

Good plant-based protein powder products are also going to have a combination of these incomplete protein sources to fill in the gaps and create an amino acid content of a complete protein.

This is why many pea protein powders are often combined with rice protein, which contains high amounts of methionine, the EAA that is low in pea protein.

Plant-based lifestyles have attracted a lot of attention, which likely prompted the increased availability of plant-based protein powders and other supplements to help fill the gaps in your nutrition.

Customer Service - 1st Phorm

Our Vegan Power Pro contains a phenomenal blend of complimentary protein sources including pea protein and rice protein.

Plus, it even has a superfood complex and digestive enzyme blend.

This will provide beneficial nutrients for your body to run more efficiently, and also help break down and absorb the nutrients within the product!

In closing, whether you are choosing to live a plant-based lifestyle or have dietary restrictions, it is definitely possible to consume an optimal amount of protein daily to help you reach your goals...

While realizing part of getting the right amount of protein is going to take some planning and intentional effort on your part.

One way we can help is by providing you with a fully NASM Certified Customer Service Staff here at 1st Phorm … which you can reach by calling 1-800-409-9732 or emailing us atCustomerservice@1stphorm.com.

Another way is with the 1st Phorm App, which will give you access to a real life person right here at 1st Phorm HQ who is your 1-on-1 advisor, and their sole goal is to help you see the best results!

Collin Stark
Collin Stark

NASM Certified Personal Trainer NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist NASM Certified Nutrition Coach