It’s the latest plant milk to hit our shores. Find out the health benefits of dairy-free pea milk, and how to use it in your diet
Written by Carole Beck on April 2, 2019
Reviewed by Day Radley on April 4, 2019
Looking for an alternative to milk or a change from your usual plant milk? Pea milk may be the answer. This new vegan milk has been rocking the plant milk world in the US and has just arrived in the UK – and no, you don’t need to like peas to enjoy it!
What is pea milk?
It’s a non-dairy milk made from peas – although not green peas. Instead, it’s produced from yellow split peas, a legume growing in southern Europe, north Africa and some parts of Asia.1 Interestingly, it doesn’t taste of peas – yellow or otherwise. Fans say pea milk has a flavour and consistency more similar to cow’s milk than other plant milks.2
How is pea milk made?
First, the yellow peas are milled into flour. They are then processed to separate the protein from the fibre and starch. The protein is purified and blended with water and other ingredients,3 for example sunflower oil, sea salt, guar gum and vitamins, and, in the sweetened varieties, sugar is added, too.4
What are the health benefits of pea milk?
Like other plant milks, pea milk is gluten and lactose-free. It’s also high in fibre and low in saturated fat.5 But it also has other health benefits up its sleeve:
It’s high in protein
Pea milk is a useful source of protein, needed for growth and repair in the body.6 Pea milk has 8g of protein per 250ml serving,7,8 so slightly less than soya milk (9.25g of protein per 250ml)9 but more than three times as much as almond milk with 2.5g per 250ml.10
It’s rich in calcium
It’s a useful source of other important nutrients, too
Pea milk also contains the following vitamins and minerals:14
Pea milk is good for the environment
Pea milk has a small carbon footprint: one litre of pea milk creates just 387g of carbon dioxide emissions, compared to 1,467g for the same amount of cow’s milk, according to 2017 research by Life Cycle Associates. And pea milk has a reduced water footprint too – the researchers found that in a region that is scarce of water, it takes 100 times more water per ton of crop to grow almonds than peas. For cow’s milk, it takes 28 times more water to create a litre of cow’s milk than a litre of pea milk.15
How to use pea milk
Pea milk is a bit of an all-rounder in the kitchen, so can be used as a substitute for dairy or plant milk. Try these ideas for incorporating pea milk into your daily diet:16
- porridge – mix with oats before cooking, or pour over once cooked and sprinkle with berries to serve
- pancakes – mix with gram flour for a high-protein stack
- smoothies – blend with fruit for a dairy-free start to your day
- curry and cream sauces – mix with coconut milk for a lower fat but still creamy option
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
1. Chelsea Debret. One Green Planet. All You Need to Know About Pea-Based Milk: Health Benefits, Recipes, Products and More
2. Carol Rees Parrish. Nutrition Issues in Gastroenterology, series #171
3. As above
4. Joy Victory.HealthNewsReview.Org. Trendy new ‘pea milk’ generates lots of headlines, but little scrutiny
5. Rosie Fitzmaurice. Evening Standard. Pea milk is coming to the UK, here’s how it compares to other plant-based alternatives
6. British Nutrition Foundation. Protein
7. The Mighty Society. A deliciously smooth & creamy dairy free alternative to milk made from yellow split-peas (& no, it’s not green)
8. Ripple. Health Living
9. Holland & Barrett. Provamel Organic Soya Drink Unsweetened
10. Holland & Barrett. Provamel Organic Almond Unsweetened
11. European Commission. EU Register on nutrition and health claims
12. As Source 7
13. As Source 8
14. Jillian Kubala. Healthline. Ripple Milk: 6 Reasons Why You Should Try Pea Milk
15. Life Cycle Associates. Life Cycle Assessment of Ripple Non-Dairy Milk
16. As Source 1