Dry Peas, Lentils & Chickpeas Nutritional Information


Dry peas are among the most powerful of pulses. Their nutritional importance dates back almost 10,000 years BC when the protein and energy in these legume seeds were essential to developing civilizations. Even in these modern times, the high quality protein, natural dietary fiber and beneficial starch in dry peas is difficult to match. Today, pea derivatives such as roasted pea flour (peasemeal), pea flour protein concentrates, pea fiber and starch isolates, have emerged as functional food ingredients that deliver fresh marketing appeal. In fact, pulses are actually listed twice (in both the protein and vegetable categories) in USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid.

Comprised of 25%-27% dietary fiber— both soluble and insoluble—as well as resistant starch and high quality protein, pea flour is well suited for a wide range of healthy food and baking applications. With rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease now routinely described as “epidemic” in the U.S., food products that incorporate pulses are increasingly appropriate and more marketable than ever.

These unhealthy weight-related trends have prompted a surge in consumer demand as well as regulatory pressure for food staples that combine new nutritional relevance with familiar taste and texture. Pulses and their derivatives can help specialty and commercial bakers and pasta processors grab a piece of a functional food market expected to grow from $25 billion to almost $40 billion by


Within the last two years, 65% of consumers report a greater interest in healthy eating, according to market research from Tate & Lyle. The nutritional components in pulses such as pea flour can contribute to food product formulations that address these growing concerns about digestive and cardiovascular health as well as weight control and diabetes.


Fiber leads the consumer wish list. That’s understandable; USDA reports that only 1 in 5 Americans get the recommended daily amount of fiber, with most of us consuming less than half the recommended levels. The good news is that nearly 50% of today’s consumers believe that fiber can actually taste good, and boasts benefits beyond regularity. Indeed, survey results from the 2008 International Food Information Council found that 77% of consumers are proactively trying to consume additional fiber. With more than 10 grams of natural dietary fiber per ¼ cup, pea fl our in your formulation makes that task easy. The scientific jury is still debating the risk/benefit ratio of manufactured fiber sources. But fortifying with natural fiber from whole foods is no fad. Both the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association continue to emphasize the vital role that natural sources of dietary fiber play in maintaining good health.


foods. Pulses such as dry peas have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning a complex, slowly digesting starch or carbohydrate portion that prevents sharp spikes in blood sugar levels. These blood sugar spikes not only are problematic for diabetics, but can lead to obesity and may present an increased risk for atherosclerosis in the non-diabetic population.

A staggering 23.6 million people—and more than 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 20—now have diabetes. This has prompted the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to state that “the intake of low glycemic index foods that are rich in fiber and other vital nutrients [such as pulses] should be encouraged both for the general population as well as those with diabetes.” Beyond diabetes prevention, high glycemic index diets may also be associated with elevated triglycerides, another heart disease risk factor. Recent
scientific evidence found that following a low GI diet over many years significantly lowered coronary heart disease risk.


With twice the protein of cereal grains, dry peas deliver an astounding 8 grams of high quality, low-fat, all-vegetable protein per ¼ cup. Rich in lysine, dry peas and pea flour have an amino acid balance that compliments cereal grain proteins. It’s precisely because of the quantity and quality of protein that this pulse is a venerable staple in hunger relief programs world wide. This also makes pea fl our and pea protein isolates and concentrates especially well-suited for protein-enriched baking and snack food applications demanded today.

Peas are a natural source of both folate and zinc. Providing about 125 mcg of Folate, just a cup of this pulse provides 37% of the RDA for folate. Because of its important role in preventing birth defects, folate enrichment is now a requirement for many U.S. baked products, including bread. And now, new research shows that folate intake may reduce asthma and allergy suffering. To tap into the growing functional food market, today’s food designers are also taking a closer look at zinc-enriched products. The scientific evidence continues to underscore zinc’s important role in disease resistance and immunity. Pulses such as dry pea fl our provide a “natural’ option for both folate and zinc enrichment.


Pea flour and its derivatives let food processors tap into growing consumer awareness about what constitutes a “healthy” product. This ingredient is tailor-made for low-fat or fat-free formulas that are also GMO-free, non-allergen, gluten-free and cholesterol-free. And, few other ingredients can claim to be as environmentally healthy. Pulse plants such as peas use less water and require no chemical fertilizer. In fact, they actually replenish natural soil nitrogen as they grow, improving the soil in the process. This low energy use is why pulses such as
peas are called a “magical crop,” as healthy to grow as they are to eat, and perfect for products with a “green” story to tell.


These are challenging times for bakers and snack-makers. The daily barrage of headlines about obesity, heart disease and diabetes has Americans hungry to feel good about what they eat. Yet they still demand great taste and convenience. Now you can satisfy this new appetite for the delicious and nutritious by harnessing the power of pulses. Indeed, food scientists are discovering that these natural legumes seeds are also highly functional ingredients. Roasted pea fl our is a prime example. Made from milled yellow peas, pea fl our and its components let you create healthier products with traditional appeal. Loaded with fiber and high quality protein, roasted dry pea fl our is suitable for a wide range of food product applications. Its mild, toasty flavor benefits a wide range of bakery goods. Non-allergen and glutenfree, with a low-glycemic index, it’s also tailor-made for specialty bakery products.


Adding roasted pea fl our to your ingredient mix is an instant way to enrich the fi ber and protein content of snack bars, pasta, breads and other baked goods without altering appearance, taste or texture. And it’s economical, especially when compared to fiber-fortifying gums or soy protein products. Light golden in color, yellow pea fl our comes roasted and/or steam-treated depending upon the functional attributes desired. This pre-cooking process gives pea flour superb stability with longer shelf life and flavor.

Yellow pea fl our contains 25-27% all natural dietary fi ber—both soluble and insoluble. Although some products will accept 30% or more without formula changes, adding just 7% to your recipe can boost fi ber by 1.4 grams. In fact, every 10 grams or ¼ cup of pea flour hikes both protein and dietary fiber by a hefty 2.5 grams. That same ¼ cup also delivers 8 grams of natural, high quality all-vegetable protein. Rich in lysine, with twice the protein (22.8%), pea fl our has an amino acid profile that complements cereal grains.


When added to your baked good formulas, pea flour can significantly reduce the need for additional folate fortification. Typical of all legumes, pea flour is a natural and substantial source of this crucial B vitamin as well as zinc. And, if it’s a specific attribute you’re after, concentrated fractions of pea fiber, protein and starch are also commercially available.


Besides enriching fiber and protein, precooked pea fl our is an excellent way to improve flavor attributes in a variety of baked goods. Low in fat (2.5%), and highly unsaturated at that, pea fl our has no cholesterol, yet gives low-fat products structure and vital nutritional value. High in slowly digestible starch and resistant starch, both contribute to pea flour’s low glycemic index, making it an anti-obesity weapon and valuable food ingredient for diabetics and those at risk for diabetes and heart disease.


With stability comparable to wheat flour, precooked pea fl our is microbially safe with low aerobic plate counts (300-600 CFU/g). U.S.-grown peas make excellent roasted pea flour as they have low levels of foreign matter, are dried naturally in the sun, and harvested only when completely mature. Pea fl our can be stored at ambient temperature for at least three months with no color loss, oxidation or off flavors. When kept cool (under 80 degrees F) and dry, a one-year shelf life can be expected.


Roasted yellow pea fl our is well-suited for making more nutritious flatbreads, tortillas, pita breads, crackers, cookies, energy bars and extruded snacks. Increase dough yield, firmness and texture in the process.

Isn’t it time for a healthier burger bun? By adding 30% pea fl our to a conventional commercial formula and then optimizing for moisture, U.S. food technologists created a delicious burger bun with 4 grams of fi ber, 7 grams of protein and traditional taste, texture and appearance. (See www.northernpluse.com for recipe). Pea fl our is a great way to enhance fi ber and protein in all sorts of quick breads, rolls and buns.

Gluten-free breads, cookies and high protein pastas are just some of the innovative pea flour food products making their way on to grocery shelves. Indeed, pea fl our is a great way to add structure and enhance nutrition of products made with other gluten-free ingredients such as rice, tapioca or potato starches.


Roasted pea flour is an excellent flavor carrier and flavor improver. Breakfast bars containing up to 30% pea fl our deliver great taste in a nutritional template of high fiber, vegetable protein, oligosaccharides, isoflavones, zinc, selenium and resistant starch.
Crisp, crunchy texture potential. Create tasty, high fiber crackers with double the protein and half the fat.

Yellow pea fl our is stabilized by roasting and/or steam precooking. Either process partially gelatinizes starch, denatures protein and inactivates enzymes to increase shelf life. Because of its high absorption properties, additional moisture is warranted in some formulations. Expect minimal non-enzymatic browning and oil absorption when frying. Dry or wet milling processes produce  different purities in pea fl our fractions, each with applications suitable to specific food matrix functions.


Pea fiber fractions offer bakers a natural, more economical and nutritious alternative to gums. While enhancing dough yield, pea fiber fortification can also modify texture, create a full- bodied mouth feel, improve uniformity and consistency of and reduce breakage in bars and cookies. Traditionally derived from the hull portion the seed, pea fiber is 85% soluble and 15% insoluble. Its high (20:1) water binding capacity, fat absorption and dough conditioning properties make pea fiber great for granola bars, pasta and many baked products. Particularly well-suited for low-fat or color-sensitive applications, pea fiber increases wheat flour’s water absorption and is easily substituted for up to 25% of wheat fl our in cakes, cookies and muffins, to create products with up to 4 grams of fi ber per serving. Better than bran. Substitute 50% pea fiber to create a lemon blueberry muffin with half the calories, a third of the sugar, a fifth of the sodium and 2 grams more fiber than a comparable raisin bran muffin. Developed by Canadian food scientists, the lemon blueberry (pea fiber) muffin delivered 8 grams of fiber and still earned a taste panel thumbs up!

Proprietary processes for producing insoluble pea fi ber from the seed’s interior are also available. The resulting white 70% fi ber powder has emulsifying and gelling properties that make it especially useful for enriching white bakery products without affecting color or flavor.


  5. LOW-FAT
  6. NON-GMO


Pea protein concentrates and isolates are functional, bio-available and loaded with lysine. Pea protein concentrates and isolates are an economical, non-allergen and non-GMO alternative to soy flour. Protein isolates (85% P) and concentrates (55%-60%P) are highly soluble with excellent water-holding capacity, give structure to gluten-free products, and create satisfying but nutritious snacks because of their expansion and extrusion potential. Pea protein’s promising potential as an egg replacer is currently being explored.


With more than 98% purity, pea starch isolates have excellent gel strength and a bland taste. Especially well-suited for cookies and crackers as well as Asianstyle noodles, they also contribute to increased volume and expansion in extruded products and puffed snacks. Pea starch makes an excellent lowglycemic ingredient.


FDA’s Nutrient Content Claims on dietary fiber allow a “Rich,” “High” or “Excellent Source” of fiber claim when your product delivers 5 grams or more fiber per serving. Use a “Good” source of fiber claim for products with 3 grams to less than 5 grams of fiber per serving. Consult FDA guidelines for more specific information prior to making label claims. To find the following exciting pea flour recipes, visit www.northernpulse.com

This information was sourced from the USA Dry Oea & Lentil Council in conjunction with the Northern Pulse Growers Association.

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