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Peas and Split Pea Nutrition

Peas are a mixed blessing for people who are trying to eat healthily. They are very sweet, so some people eat them as "vegetable candy". However that sweetness comes at a price - they are full of calories as well. Eat in moderation.

Peas grow in long green pods, and in the "old days" when people had to actually grow their own food (which many of us should start doing again!) they would sit around on the porch in the afternoon shelling the peas. You had to get all those little green round peas out of the pea pod.

Did you know that technically a pea is a fruit? Since you're eating the little "seed" of the pea pod, just like an apple holds the seeds of an apple tree, this falls into the fruit category. Still, I'm sure most people consider peas to be vegetables because it's traditional.

Peas have a good helping of fiber in them - a full 5.1g per 3.5oz of peas. On the other hand, they have more than that amount in sugars! They have 5.7g per serving of built in veggie sugars! In total a 3.5oz serving of peas has 14.5g of carbs. So minus the 5.1g of fiber, that's 9.4g of countable carbs per serving.

Certainly not a huge amount - many people eat far more carbs than that in junk food every day! Still, compared with other vegetables out there, peas are on the sweet side. Consider them a treat, not a daily staple.

On the up side, peas do a good job in the nutrition category. They have over half your daily Vitamin C and almost a quarter of your vitamin B1.

Split Peas
I admit to loving split pea soup. Really, split peas are simply normal peas that have been cut in half so they cook more easily, and then dried out.

The problem is that when you go through this process that - like with pretty much most vegetables - you lose a lot of nutrition and end up with lots of empty calories. A single cup of split pea soup has a whopping 26.5g of carbs, with only 2.75g of that being fiber. That leaves you 23.75g of carbs to affect you. Plus you only get 3% of your daily Vitamin C counts now.

The lesson? Eat your peas and other veggies FRESH! Split pea soup is great for hard working Irish farmers who need their energy - but less great for stationary office workers.

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