Sugar Snap Peas Nutrition Facts

4 Health Benefits You May Not Know About

sugar snap peas nutrition facts and health benefits

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman

Unlike garden peas, which are fairly high in starch, edible pods such as sugar snap peas have roughly half the carbohydrates per serving and are exceptionally rich in dietary fiber.

There are two common varieties of pea pods. Snow peas, also known as Chinese pea pods or mange tout (French for "eat all"), are flat with very small peas. Sugar snap peas, also known as snap peas, are a cross between snow peas and garden peas and have thicker pods that are more crunchy and sweet.

In addition to being a good source of vitamins and minerals, sugar snap peas can potentially boost immunity, control blood sugar, promote eye health, and aid in weight loss.

Sugar Snap Pea Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup (126 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 60 
Calories from Fat 0 
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0.1g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 10.5mg2%
Sodium 0mg0%
Carbohydrates 10.5g2%
Dietary Fiber 3g12%
Sugars 4.5g 
Protein 3g 
Vitamin A 8% · Vitamin C 18%
Calcium 6% · Iron 13%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Nutrition Facts

Unlike regular pea pods, the fibers in sugar snap pea pods go in only one direction. This allows you to eat the entire pod, bolstering the overall nutritional value.

Carbs in Sugar Snap Peas

One cup of sugar snap peas contains roughly 10.5 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of dietary fiber. Many of the carbs come from a type of sugar known as fructose, which provides the pods their sweet flavor.

Carbs are your body's preferred choice of energy. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body cannot digest. The fiber in foods like sugar snap peas aid in digestion and contribute to good heart health. 

Fat in Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas truly are cholesterol-free and virtually fat-free (less than 0.1 gram per serving).

To get the healthy fats you need for a balanced diet, you would have to turn to other food sources, including lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy.

Protein in Sugar Snap Peas

At 3 grams per serving, sugar snap peas only deliver modest amounts of protein. While lean meats and dairy can bolster your dietary needs, you can also turn to non-animal sources, including beans, legumes, soybeans, tofu, whole grains, sprouted grains, and seitan.

Micronutrients in Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas can help meet many of your daily vitamin and mineral needs, most especially vitamin C, folate, iron, and potassium

You need vitamin C to repair tissues and maintain a strong immune system; it is also a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from damage by free radicals. Folate is a B vitamin that helps make new cells. Iron helps your body produce energy and helps red blood cells carry oxygen molecules to tissues and cells.

Potassium is a mineral needed for building proteins and muscle, and also helps maintain the normal acid-base balance in your body. 

Health Benefits

Sugar snap peas, like other edible pea pods, deliver many of the key nutrients needed for good health. Some of these translate to specific health benefits, improving digestive and heart function while aiding in the metabolism of fats and blood sugars.

Constipation

Women generally need between 21 and 25 grams of fiber a day, while men need between 30 and 38 grams. One serving of sugar snap peas delivers between 9 percent and 15 percent of the daily adult fiber needs, mostly in the form of soluble fiber. This is the type of fiber that absorbs water from the intestines to form a gel-like substance. Doing so helps to soften stools and ease them gently from the digestive tract.

Heart Health

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the human body. Anong its many benefits, it helps to decrease inflammation in blood vessels that can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

This, in turn, helps lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A 2017 study published in Nutrition reported that eating one cup (120 grams) of peas five times weekly for six weeks reduced arterial stiffness, even in people with elevated "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The effect was greatest in people who were either overweight or of normal weight (defined as a body mass index of under 27.5) as opposed to those who were obese people who received no benefit.

The soluble fiber in sugar snap peas also binds to cholesterol and prevent its absorption in the bloodstream, preventing the buildup of arterial plaque. 

Weight Loss

Sugar snap peas have relatively few calories, no cholesterol, and is virtually fat-free. On top of that, the soluble fiber in snap peas binds to glucose and slow its absorption into the bloodstream. By doing so, it helps regulate blood sugar and avoid unexpected spikes, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes.

A one-cup serving of sugar snap peas delivers just over 10 grams of carbohydrates, which is usually well within the limits of all but the most strict low-carb or ketogenic diets.

Eye Health

Sugar snap peas are a modest source of plant-based carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are found in a part of the retina known as the macula. In people with macular degeneration, an aging-related disorder that can lead to irreversible vision loss, the increased intake of food with lutein and zeaxanthin may help slow the progression of the disease. 

Common Questions

How are sugar snap and snow peas different?

Sugar snap peas and snow peas can easily be swapped in recipes since their flavors are similar. Sugar snap peas tend to be sweeter and crisper. They also are less likely to be overcooked since their pods are thicker and have a water-filled cellular structure. Snow peas, by contrast, tend to go limp after just three to four minutes of cooking.

Snow peas and sugar snap peas are almost identical in calorie and carbohydrate content. Whereas snap peas have about 60 calories and 10.5 grams of carbohydrate in a one-cup serving, snow peas have about 70 calories and 12 grams of carbs. Snap peas also have around 3 grams of fiber per serving, while snow peas have 4 grams.

Can snap peas get starchy like regular peas?

They can. But if you buy them fresh, keep them cold, and eat them soon, you should be fine. The sugar in snap peas can turn to starch after six hours if kept at room temperature. Keeping them covered in the refrigerator can slow this process while better retaining the nutrient content.

How can you tell if a snow pea is fresh?

Always buy pea pods that are bright green without any yellowing or speckled areas. They should be glossy and appear to be near-bursting. Do not buy sugar snap peas that are dull or have loose peas rattling inside them.

Old snap peas tend to be stringy; you can tell by breaking off the stem. If there are fibrous strings attached to the stem bud, the pods are probably near the end of their shelf life.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

You can eat sugar snap peas raw or prepared them by steaming, stir-frying, or blanching. You can tell a snap pea is overcooked when it loses its bright color and turns a pea soup green. You can season them with herbs and spices or simply a dash of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

You can give your snap peas Asian-inspired twists by tossing them into a bowl of soba noodles and dressing them with toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, chopped scallions, and a dash of light soy sauce. 

If eaten raw, you can snap peas as a dipper instead of chips and crackers or cut them into bite-sized chunks for salads and slaws.

Allergies and Interactions

Allergies to sugar snap peas are not as common as to garden peas, but they do occur. They are more common in babies and young children who tend to outgrow them in later life. People who are allergic to peas in any form will also likely be allergic to peanuts, beans, legumes, and green beans.

In fact, many children with a peanut allergy will have a high-crossreactivity to peas, setting off symptoms such as rash, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, itchiness, or a tingling sensation in the mouth.

Call 911 or seek emergency care, if you experience shortness of breath, wheezing, rapid heart rate, hives, lightheadedness, or the swelling of the face, tongue, or throat after eating sugar snap peas. These are signs of potentially life-threatening, whole-body allergy known as anaphylaxis.

There are no known drug interactions with sugar snap peas.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources