Are Peas Keto Friendly? Carbs and Calories in Peas

peas keto

Green peas, the small, round seeds that grow inside pods, have been consumed all over the world for hundreds of years.   Although many people think of them as a vegetable, they’re actually a legume.

Green peas are high in plant-based protein and fiber to aid blood sugar control and help you stay satiated.  They’re also rich in antioxidants that have the power to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. 

Overall, green peas are a nutritious addition to most diets.  With that being said, you may be wondering where they fit in on a strict low carb diet, like Keto… Keep reading to find out.

Are Peas Keto Friendly?

Legumes like peas are rather high in carbs – so they are not good keto options. If you are keeping below the recommended 20 grams of carbs a day on keto, avoid eating them.  A 100-gram serving of peas (a little over a half-cup) contains 14 grams of carbs, making up nearly your entire day’s allowance of carbs. 

If you love peas and simply can’t pass them up, you might wish to have a small 50 gram serving along with a low carb dinner, which will cut the carbs in half.  The key is moderation, so always measure out your servings with a measuring cup.

How Many Carbs are in Peas?

A 100-gram serving of green peas contains 14 grams of carbs.  If you’re on a strict low carb diet, you may wish to include a 50 gram serving of peas which contains a moderate 7 grams of carbs and enjoy these with a serving of meat and other low carb veggies.

How Many Calories are in Peas?

 A 100-gram serving of green peas contains 81 calories.  Adding a tablespoon of butter or gravy to your peas increases the calorie count significantly.

Nutrition Facts

Serving:  100 grams of Green Peas
Calories 81
Total Fat 0.4 grams 0%
Saturated fat 0.1 grams 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.2 grams
Monounsaturated fat 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 milligrams 0%
Sodium 5 milligrams 0%
Potassium 244 milligrams 6%
Total Carbohydrate 14 grams 4%
Dietary fiber 5 grams 20%
Sugar 6 grams
Protein 5 grams 10%
Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 66%
Calcium 2% Iron 8%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 10%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium 8%

Types of Peas

There are three main types of peas that are available on the market, including:

  • English Peas – Different varieties of English peas include: Green Arrow, Maestro, Lincoln, and Tall Telephone.  Green Arrow, Maestro, Lincoln, and Tall Telephone.  The pods of English peas are not edible.  These peas should be grown to maturity so the peas inside fully plump up, before picking and shelling them.
  • Snow Peas – Also called Chinese pea pods.  Different varieties of snow peas include Golden Sweet, Mammoth Melting Sugar, Oregon Giant, and Oregon Sugar Pod.  Snow peas have flat pods that are completely edible.  They take a long time to grow to maturity.  The peas inside the pods stay small and do not plump.
  • Sugar Snap Peas – Come in varieties such as Cascadia, Sugar Ann, and Sugar Daddy.  They are a cross between English peas and snow peas with crisp, edible pods.

Health Benefits 

peas calories

Rich in Nutrients

A half-cup of green peas provides the recommended daily intake (RDI) of the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A: 34% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 24% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 13% of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 15% of the RDI     
  • Folate: 12% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 11% of the RDI
  • Iron: 7% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 6% of the RDI

Anti-Diabetic Properties

Green peas are high in fiber and protein.  They also have a low glycemic index.  These factors are important for blood sugar control.  Consuming a diet consisting of mostly low-GI foods is the best way to keep blood sugar levels under control.

Aids in Digestion

Green peas are rich in fiber, which helps aid digestion and nourish the healthy bacteria in the gut.  Fiber-rich foods also reduce your risk of developing a few common gastrointestinal conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer.

Promotes Heart Health

The high fiber content of green peas has been shown to lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels, which decreases the risk of developing heart disease.

Green peas also contain flavonols, carotenoids and vitamin C – important antioxidants that help prevent heart attack and stroke.

Anti-Cancer Properties

Consuming green peas as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of cancer, because of their antioxidant activity that reduces bodily inflammation.

Green peas also contain saponins, special plant compounds known for having anti-cancer properties.   Research shows that saponins may have the potential to prevent certain types of cancer and inhibit tumor growth.

Side Effects

While green peas are likely safe for most people, pea allergies are well documented. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, if you are allergic to peanuts you might also experience a reaction to peas.  If this is the case, you should also avoid split peas.  If you suspect having a pea or peanut allergy, ask your physician for an allergy screening.

Like other legumes, green peas have been reported to cause bloating, an uncomfortable swelling of the stomach often accompanied by gas and flatulence.

Another possible downside of eating peas is the fact that they contain anti-nutrients, substances found in certain legumes that interfere with digestion and mineral absorption. 

Peas contain the following Anti-nutrients:

Lectins – Often associated with side effects such as gas and bloating. Lectins may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients.

Phytic acid – May interfere with the absorption of certain minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

Levels of these anti-nutrients are lower in peas than in other legumes, so they are less likely to cause problems, as long as you eat them moderate amounts. 

Related Questions:

peas carbs

Are Peas Good for Weight Loss?

Green peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, two main contributors to why they are so filling. 

Consuming pea protein also signals the hormones in your body that control appetite, which is why it promotes feelings of fullness.  Combined with fiber, protein helps slow digestion so that you won’t experience a spike in blood sugar or the subsequent crash afterwards.

Consuming adequate intakes of protein and fiber keeps your appetite under control.  Fibrous, protein-rich foods like green peas help you consume fewer calories throughout the day, thus playing a significant role in weight loss.

Are Peas Good for Diabetics?

Blood sugar control is an important factor in preventing and controlling diabetes.  There are a few reasons why green peas can help improve blood sugar control.

Firstly, the fiber and protein in peas prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking.  Peas also contain a good amount of magnesium and B vitamins, as well as vitamins K, A and C.  All of these nutrients work together to reduce the risk of diabetes.

Protein-rich foods are very helpful for stabilizing blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.   

Are Canned and Frozen Peas Healthy?

While fresh peas inarguably taste better, frozen and canned peas are just as good for you.  However, frozen peas are slightly better than canned as they will contain no added sodium. 

The canned variety can be high in sodium, depending o the brand. If you are using canned peas, rinse them well before cooking to remove most of the added sodium.  

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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