Pea Protein and the Low FODMAP Diet

Pea Protein Blog Image

Chloe Swiney - Research Dietitian, 17 April 2024

You may have noticed when reading the labels of products on your shopping trips that an ingredient seems to be appearing more and more often - pea protein.

The use of pea protein seems to be growing in the food industry. In this blog we are going to explore what pea protein is, its uses in foods, and its application in the low FODMAP diet.

What is Pea Protein?

Pea protein is a plant-based protein product derived from peas through various extraction techniques.1 There are different types of pea protein available including pea protein concentrate and pea protein isolate.(1)

Pea protein is usually derived from field peas, which can include green and yellow varieties.(2) To create pea protein, the peas go through a range of processes including cleaning, hull removal and splitting.(1) From here, the type of extraction process used will determine the purity of the final pea protein product.(1)

Pea protein concentrate is often less ‘pure’, in that carbohydrate molecules (such as FODMAPs) can still remain in the final product, making the percentage of protein slightly less.1 Pea protein isolate is a more pure protein product with a higher percentage of protein.(1)

Pea protein is highly favoured for being a 'complete protein', meaning unlike many other plant-based proteins, it contains all 9 essential amino acids that the human body cannot self-produce.(1)

Research into the health benefits of pea protein suggests that it may have beneficial effects on lowering blood pressure and blood glucose levels.(1)

What is Pea Protein used for?

Whilst it might seem from its name that pea protein is just used as a plant-based alternative to traditional whey proteins which are commonly found in supplements and other health based food products, it actually has a much wider range of uses.

Due to its structure, it has uses within products as an emulsifier, gelling and binding agent, and the ability to form edible films.(1,2) Commonly it is pea protein concentrate that is used in these applications.(1) It is also used to improve the nutrition quality in a range of foods, through its essential amino acid content, including in breads, pastas, snack foods, drinks and non-dairy milks.(1)

Due to its ample availability, cost-effectiveness, and high-quality nutritional composition, as well as a lack of allergens, gluten and usually being non-genetically modified, pea protein has become a favourite of the food industry.(1,2)

Pea Protein Paper Image

Figure from “The Current Situation of Pea Protein and Its Application in the Food Industry.” by Shanthakumar P et al(1)

How does it fit in with the Low FODMAP Diet?

Due to its increasing use in everyday packaged foods and on supermarket shelves, many of you have reached out to us interested in understanding the suitability of pea protein for the low FODMAP, since peas, fresh and canned, are typically high in FODMAPs at a standard serve size.

We tested a range of pre-packaged “100% pea protein” retail products. The results confirmed what we had previously observed with these types of products, in that there was quite a significant amount of variability in the FODMAP content across the brands. This is most likely due to how carefully and thoroughly each manufacturer is able to extract and isolate the protein component. The selected products did not clearly label whether they contained “pea protein isolate” or “pea protein concentrate”, which can contribute to the confusion around the “pureness” of the protein they are purchasing.

Because the variability between pea protein types was so great, Monash FODMAP has decided not to include a generic pea protein entry within the Monash FODMAP Diet app.

What should you do if you want to include ‘pea protein’ in your low FODMAP diet?

To know if a product labelled as containing “100% pea protein” or product containing pea protein is low in FODMAPs, samples of that product must undergo laboratory testing.

All products under the Monash University Low FODMAP Certification Program have been lab tested to ensure that they are low FODMAP compliant. Certified products carry the Monash low FODMAP certified logo on pack and websites, so help you easily identify which foods that have earned our low FODMAP endorsement. All certified products are also listed in our Monash FODMAP app. If you’re unsure whether or not your favourite pea protein product (or any other product!) is low in FODMAPs, reach out to the brand and ask if they have considered applying to our certification program to support low FODMAP diet followers like yourself or people you know..

As always, it is best to test your own tolerance to products that you cannot find within the app.


  1. Shanthakumar P, Klepacka J, Bains A, Chawla P, Dhull SB, Najda A. The Current Situation of Pea Protein and Its Application in the Food Industry. Molecules. 2022;27(16):5354. Published 2022 Aug 22. doi:10.3390/molecules27165354
  2. Lu ZX, He JF, Zhang YC, Bing DJ. Composition, physicochemical properties of pea protein and its application in functional foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(15):2593-2605. doi:10.1080/10408398.2019.1651248
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