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Temperature at which pea protein is destroyed?

  1. May 3, 2016 #1
    I am taking a protein supplement that has far too much sodium in it. If I took the amount I need every day, I would far surpass the safe upper limit of daily sodium intake. I had the idea of dissolving the pea protein powder in water, filtering out the sodium, and then evaporating the water, leaving only the protein and other water soluble minerals in the powder. I am worried that the heat necessary to evaporate the water will denature the protein and render the powder useless.

    Does someone have a better solution for how to remove the sodium without ruining the essential nutrients?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2016 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    What form does the sodium take? You are thinking maybe it is salt mixed in with the powder?
    iirc the sodium is actually part of the protein molecules of peas ... so you cannot remove it without breaking up the protein.
    ... best bet is to use a different suppliment.
  4. May 4, 2016 #3


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    Nearly all proteins get denatured in the stomach, so I don't understand why heating (i.e. cooking) the protein prior to ingestion would be an issue. Freeze-drying, however, could be used to generate a powder without heating the solution.

    I'm also not sure your method for removing sodium would work in the first place. Proteins, in general, tend to have an overall negative charge and have to be associated with some cations. You might be able to exchange the sodium for some other type of cation, but you can't just filter the cations out.
  5. May 4, 2016 #4

    jim mcnamara

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    FWIW - in North America there are soy protein isolate concentrate(vegan) and milk whey protein concentrate powders available usually at health food stores.
    Both of these are VERY high protein (>90%), not expensive compared to most other protein sources, and have low sodium. Unless you are allergic to both of these, one is bound to be a better choice than something that has as much sodium as you describe. What the heck are you using?

    Plus as noted above your plan to remove sodium will not work for you. Sodium can be difficult to remove. And end up with something you can safely drink. Yggdrasil's suggestion/explanation is about as good as it gets. I would strongly suggest Plan B: using something else.
  6. May 4, 2016 #5

    Simon Bridge

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    There are loads of people online trying to remove the sodium from pea protein - which seems to be sold as a powder in large tins - the consensus is that you can't.
    Some pea protein powders have a lower sodium than others. Shop around.
  7. May 5, 2016 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    I looked into pea powder protein concentrates.. Apparently, as Simon mentioned, some have less sodium. The "bodybuilder" labels all had >400mg of sodium per cup.


    If you assume manufacturing starts with dried Pisum sativum seeds, the protein fraction is about 25%, and there are 15mg Sodium per 100g of dried peas.
    To get to a protein concentration of 80% (listed for GN brand pea powder), the remaining fraction would have, a priori, about 48mg Sodium per 100g of concentrate. The powders all had basically an order of magnitude (Factor of ~10) more than expected. Therefore, it seems reasonable that the the process of concentrating the protein fraction employs the use of additional sodium containing compounds. That is not the case with many other types of "protein" powders.

    PS: The original premise of 'cooking destroys proteins, etc' must be ubiquitous, because one of the health food sellers of pea powders explicitly deals with it:
  8. May 8, 2016 #7
  9. May 8, 2016 #8
    I have to thank you for putting so much thought into your answers. This is a great online community.

    Also, I must apologize for not having done more research before asking. I've been overwhelmed by the amount of research necessary to craft a genuinely healthy diet, and unfortunately overlooked many aspects (such as the sodium content of the pea protein powder not being added sodium, but an integral component of the powder itself, and the fact that denaturing a protein doesn't destroy its ability to be used as a source of amino acids by the body's cells). I've been in a sort of mad rush to design a diet optimized for nutrition, cost, and convenience (and I believe I've succeeded; all necessary nutrients in proper proportion, for less than $150 per month (barely more expensive than an all-ramen diet, and far healthier), all in powdered form for easy transport), which is why I felt it necessary to take certain shortcuts. I will not disgrace the community with this behavior again.

    My understanding of chemistry and biology is still rudimentary. I do not want you to think I was looking for easy answers. I will, from this point forward, make sure to ask more informed and insightful questions.
  10. May 8, 2016 #9

    Simon Bridge

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    A healthy diet is achieved through moderate exercise and varied eating ... if your pallet is used to a variety, it gets good at informing you about your nutrition needs. You have to be honest about listening to it though ... like do you really want that chocolate or are you just bored?

    Dietary supplements are only useful if you have a diagnosed deficiency towards a result - like if you want to build muscle mass quickly for a sport or if you are pregnant and a practising vegan... or maybe you are on a long sea voyage and want to avoid scurvy?
    You can have a completely artificial diet but balancing it involves regular blood tests.

    BTW: Have you seen - http://ajjacobs.com/books/drop-dead-healthy/

    You are doing OK - the diet stuff is overwhelming and it is easy to get the wrong idea.
  11. May 8, 2016 #10
    There's no reason to think you need protein supplementation. Normal person, professional athlete, amateur bodybuilder. No reason was discovered.

    I doubt there is high sodium in pea powder or pea protein powder.

    If it does have sodium, you can't 'just' get it out.

    You can just buy another product.

    And if peas are too high in sodium for your diet, what food is left?
  12. May 9, 2016 #11
    Ha, I wish I had known of this book earlier.

    It's difficult to create a diet that cheap, convenient, and healthy. It seems like every time I think I have it figured out, I stumble on some new information that makes what I've come up with unworkable. For instance, Vitamin A and E are not bio-available in supplement form, and must be consumed through foods that contain them. This forced me to find a new source of these vitamins that was as inexpensive and convenient as supplement powder. Fortunately, spinach powder serves this purpose quite well.

    I can't eat meat for health reasons, nor can I consume any animal products. This means I have to find alternative sources of certain micro-nutrients that most people take for granted (e.g. Vitamin B12, foods with complete amino acid profile).

    Another difficulty is getting enough protein without getting too many carbohydrates (excessive fat is scarcely a problem on a vegan diet). This is where the protein powder comes in. I can use this and oil to manipulate protein and fat intake, respectively, as needed.

    My ultimate objective was to spend as little time eating as possible, as it is not something I enjoy or await, but something I must do. My fuel must be as clean as possible while not consuming too much of my resources (money and time, primarily). Having a powdered mixture that I can carry around with me in small containers and consume as needed, while costing me scarcely more than that which a person in poverty would spend on food, gives me more time to study. Automating the "maintenance" aspects of life will, I believe, allow me to be a more productive student and researcher. My next project will be figuring out how to maintain maximum productivity on as little sleep as possible. If you have any information on this topic, I am eager to read it.

    Again, thank you for your responses. I look forward to future correspondence.
  13. May 9, 2016 #12
    Yes, this was my own naive misunderstanding. I now realize it is not the structure of any specific protein, but the amino acids it contains, that are important. I have solved the sodium over-consumption issue by incorporating other protein sources that also provide me with sufficient carbohydrates and fat, thus minimizing the amount of protein powder I must use to consume a sufficient amount each day.
  14. May 9, 2016 #13
    It is just a convenience, and not too expensive. Different powders vary in their sodium content, but it seems the isolates tend to have more. I workout frequently and read that a protein intake about 1.6 grams per kg of lean mass is optimal (the study showed that any intake beyond this became waste). I have also noticed that higher protein consumption reduces the amount of sleep I must get to recover properly, and minimization of sleep time, without affecting productivity, is an extremely high priority for me.
  15. May 9, 2016 #14
    Thank you for this. I was under the misconception that the sodium content had been added in the form of table salt. I had not considered the alternative you have presented, which shows that my plan was far to simple-minded to ever have any chance at success. I am working hard to increase my competence in this domain, so please excuse my naivete.
  16. May 11, 2016 #15

    Simon Bridge

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    I think you get to have two of these ;)
  17. May 11, 2016 #16
    Haha, yes. This is what I thought. But with careful grocery shopping, you can have all three.
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