Protein powders are a well-known and commonly used nutritional supplement. They are used by people trying to stay on a lean diet, or those focused on increasing muscle mass like body-builders and athletes.
Hemp protein powder is an up-and-coming plant-based variant of protein supplements. It has a nutty taste, and can be added to smoothies or other healthy drinks to increase the protein content. It also provides a fair amount of heart-friendly fats known as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
What is Hemp Protein made from?
Hemp protein powder is derived from hemp seeds. Although it is pressed to remove the oils within the seeds, it retains about 10% of the initial fat content – so it still offers at least a small amount of omega fatty acids!
How is Hemp Protein made?
Hemp protein is made from hemp seeds, which is a versatile seed that can be used in different ways. Some people eat the seeds whole with the shell in-tact or after they have been hulled. In Australia, for example, it’s only legal to consume the hulled seed. These seeds contain a substantial amount of beneficial components, which you can read more about here. However, some people are simply interested in the protein factor.
To produce hemp protein, the oil contained within the seed is extracted. This can be done through either a cold-press or heat extraction. What is left of the seed is known as a “cake”. The cake can be turned into two products as of 2020: Flour, and of course protein. The end product depends on the final processes applied.
Hemp Protein vs Whey Protein
Both of these protein powders are good at supplying your daily requirement for protein intake, Whey protein has a higher concentration of protein per serve than hemp. However it lacks a very nutritious aspect of hemp protein – fiber and heart-healthy oils. Arguments on either side for which protein is better both have validity.
However, the proponents for whey are usually not up to date on the nutritional facts of hemp protein. On the box, whey does seem to out-weigh hemp because in addition to higher protein, it has less carbs and calories. These lower calories may come from the lower fat content, but the thing is that some fats are beneficial, and should be included in the diet.
Some manufacturers of whey protein also do something known as “amino acid spiking”. This is the addition of non-essential amino acids like L-Glycine or L-Taurine which humans are unable to absorb. This raises the protein concentration of the product during food analysis testing while adding no nutritional value.
Digestibility of Hemp Protein
As a general rule, animal proteins are easier for the body to digest than plant proteins. Yet research shows that 91-98% of the protein in ground hemp seeds is digested. This makes it a highly efficient source of plant protein. Heat processing can decrease this digestible percentage by about 10% – another way in which cold-processing is the superior method.
Hemp is a complete plant based protein
Hemp protein contains all of the essential amino acids humans need in their diet – though the jury is still out on the specific concentrations of each amino acid. This makes it a stand-out source of plant protein. It is a high-quality vegan option as it is purely plant based.
How much protein per serve of hemp protein?
30 grams of hemp protein powder usually contains around 15 grams of protein and 120 calories. How much exactly, varies by brand.
What is the fiber content of hemp protein?
Most of us have heard of the benefits of fiber. Fiber improves blood sugar regulation, leads to a healthier gut biome and reduces the risk of colon cancer. Men are expected to consume 38 grams of fibre while women 25 grams.
Studies show that less than 5% of adults in America meet these requirements. Fibre-rich food is very beneficial and hemp protein happens to be one. Hemp protein powders generally contain 7-8 grams of fibre in 30 grams (quarter cup).
If you have been searching for an allergy-friendly substitute for whey or soy protein, consider trying Hemp protein. Hemp seed is an exceptionally versatile source of amino acids and healthy fats and fibre, and these nutritious characteristics translate to almost every product that can be made from it. Hemp protein is an ideal option for those open to include a nutty tasting, sustainably produced source of protein in their diet.