Managing Weight With Pea Protein

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

With overweight and obesity worldwide steadily increasing, pea protein could be a solution to manage weight. By Dr Aurélie Mauray, market development manager, Specialised Nutrition (EU), and Dr Catherine Lefranc, corporate senior research manager, Nutrition & Health, Roquette

A Worldwide Epidemic—Alarming Figures

The prevalence of overweight and obesity in worldwide have been steadily increasing over the past decades. According to the WHO, in 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these, over 600 million were obese.

Multiple stakeholders, such as government bodies, healthcare providers and food industry are playing a role to address this growing concern. Some of the options are to provide healthier food options and more transparency in terms of nutrition information on the food label.

Overcoming Lifestyle challenges To Manage Weight

Why do people become obese? One of the main contributions to obesity is caused by higher than required intake of daily calories. Another contribution factor is less calories being expended due to increase of physical inactivity caused by modern sedentary living lifestyle.

Therefore, to better manage our bodyweight and combat overweight issue, we should consider the following:

  • Decrease caloric intake
  • Manage the feeling of hunger
  • Achieve satiety—the feeling of fullness which arises when eating a meal

If we feel satiety, we will stop eating and as a result, fewer calories will be consumed. This is the key in weight management.

Roquette’s Solution To Weight Management: NUTRALYS® Pea Protein

There is an increasing demand for weight management solutions. Roquette has developed a wide range of ingredients to address this demand. One of these ingredients is NUTRALYS® pea protein.

As stated previously, satiety plays a central role in obesity prevention. For many years, Roquette has done several research studies on the impact of its pea protein, and the findings showed that NUTRALYS® pea protein may trigger satiating-hormonal responses similar to whey (Overduin J. et al., 2015).

In collaboration with the Leatherhead Food Research Center, Roquette’s Nutrition Team has demonstrated that NUTRALYS® pea protein can provide an alternative to induce satiety in humans (Ré R, et al., 2016). This was achieved in an experimental vegetable soup incorporating NUTRALYS®.

NUTRALYS® pea protein had clinical evidences on how it increases satiety and thus is a solution to manage weight. NUTRALYS® pea protein also offers clean and nutritious benefits:

  • - Easily digestible, with a True Digestibility of 97 percent.
  • - Water-processed, and is thus solvent free
  • - Allergen-free, lactose & gluten-free
  • - Clinically-proven benefits on satiety & calorie intake


Study Design


Thirty-six healthy participants with a BMI between 18.5 and 25 were enrolled in a randomised double-blind cross-over clinical trial, according to given criterion and excluded those with eating disorders.

Each participant was invited to consume on separate occasions one of the four different vegetable soups containing either:

  • - 15 g of NUTRALYS®
  • - 30 g of NUTRALYS®
  • - 30 g of whey protein
  • - Maltodextrin instead of protein (as a control)

All tested products were formulated to be isocaloric with 200 kcal per portion and all were equivalent in viscosity and taste. Each serving of 55 g was reconstituted in 300 ml of hot water (Table 1).

Participants were seen weekly over the next four weeks. Each participant was given a standardised breakfast, soup and ad-libitum lunch at specific time.

Table 1: Composition of the soups

Per serving No protein soup (Control) Soup containing 15g of NUTRALYS® pea protein Soup containing 30g of NUTRALYS® pea protein Soup containing 30g of Whey protein
Total protein 2.5 17.5 32.5 32.1
NUTRALYS® pea protein or Whey - 15.0 30.0 29.6
Carbohydrates 45.6 28.7 17.1 10.00
Dietary Fiber 0.9 1.1 1.3 3.3


Study Results


  • • The satiety factor

Figure 1: Satiety perception as measured by Visual Analogic Scale over the time in the different groups 

The study showed that control preloads was less filling than the soup containing 30 g NUTRALYS® but did not show any statistical significance—p=0.058 (Figure 1).

However, the soup containing 30 g of NUTRALYS® was perceived to induce greater fullness than the 15 g dose of NUTRALYS® (represented by the light green line—p<0.05).

When comparing NUTRALYS® and Whey at the same dosage level, NUTRALYS® pea protein provided a greater fullness (represented by the grey line—p>0.05).

  • • Impact of first serving of soup on the next meal

Figure 2: Ad libitum energy intake as measured at the lunch following consumption of the preload soup in the different groups 

After consumption of a preload soup enriched in proteins, participants had a lower caloric intake at the subsequent ad libitum lunch (three hours after the preload) than after consuming the control soup. The effect was reinforced when the protein dose in the soup was increased.

The bar chart (figure 2) shows that the caloric intake in the 30 g NUTRALYS® dose group was 10 percent less than that in the control. Moreover, this reduction was similar to that produced by the 30 g whey dose.

  • • Impact of the soup on the satiety hormone

Figure 3: Changes in CCK concentration in blood over the time in the different groups 

The cholecystokinin (CCK) is a peptide hormone of the gastrointestinal system responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein. CCK in blood is indicative of satiety. Thus, higher CCK level means a greater feeling of satiety. CCK level in blood was measured between soup consumption and the end of the subsequent ad libitum meal.

As shown in Figure 3, the concentration of CCK in the 30 g NUTRALYS® group was similar to that observed in the whey group, and tended to be higher than that of the control. This result may explain the beneficial effect of the NUTRALYS® soup on satiety and thus reduction of the calorie intake.


Based on the studies, it showed that NUTRALYS® pea protein added in a preload soup induced a significant decrease of calorie intake in the follow-on meal—to a degree similar to the whey proteins, making of NUTRALYS® a plant based protein alternative for the consumers, directly and objectively proven.

Roquette has also developed different high value pea protein specialties dedicated to specific weight management products, such as powder mix soups and shakes, protein bars, dessert creams, salty snacks and more.