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best organic hemp protein powder

What’s the Best Hemp Protein Powder?
Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

There are a lot of natural sources of protein including nuts, fish and meat. But many people, especially those intent on building a stronger leaner physique, don’t get enough protein from what they eat.

They need to bolster their protein intake. And one of the best ways to do that is with a supplement.

Hemp protein powder is one of the best plant-based protein powder sources for supplemental protein because it is highly soluble, rich in essential amino acids and completely organic.

We’ve scoured the supplement landscape to discover the best hemp protein powders out there.

Our Top Hemp Protein Powders (2020 Updated)

1 – LeanHemp ( Editor’s Choice )

LeanHemp provides 8 essential amino acids so that you can get the most out of your exercise routines. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and it is what muscles are made of.

LeanHemp is digested easily by the body and once it’s in, it immediately gets to work by repairing stressed-out muscles and building new, stronger muscle fibers.

This hemp protein powder is also high in dietary fiber, which enables regularity in bowel movements. This is crucial to flushing out toxins from your system.

LeanHemp Chocolate Protein Powder is also all-natural, with no artificial fillers.

With no genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and THC, LeanHemp is both safe and effective. The chocolate flavoring is also unexpectedly tasty for an organic hemp protein powder.

2 – Orgain Organic

Update*: Their new formula has removed hemp from their ingredient list.

Orgain Organic Hemp Protein Powder contains 21 grams of organic plant-based protein, providing you with as much protein per serving as over 3 chicken eggs!

Coming in at 150 calories per serving, this low-calorie hemp protein powder is ideal as a meal replacement for vegans who are trying to keep their figure trim.

This organic hemp protein powder product is unflavored, so it can be easily mixed into a variety of your favorite recipes, such as vegan protein shakes and vegan brownies.

3 – Nutiva Organic Hemp Powder

If you’re looking for a stripped down, completely organic hemp protein powder that will drive muscle growth without bombarding your system with junk it doesn’t need, then Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder should be considered on your list.

There are zero fillers and additives in this supplement. Just 11 grams of pure hemp protein per serving, rich in branched chain amino acids along with plenty of fiber to keep things moving.

Nutiva makes no attempt to flavor it. This makes it easier to mix with a wide variety of foodstuffs. The end result is a healthy, vegetarian-friendly, easily digested organic hemp protein powder that will help build muscle.

And because it only contains 9 grams of carbs per serving, it’s not going to go straight to your waist.

4 – Viva Labs

With each serving of Viva Labs, you receive 15 grams of amino acid rich protein per serving and only 8 grams of carbs. There is also a modest amount of fiber and plenty of iron.

Viva organic hemp protein powder is gluten-free, cholesterol-free and transfat-free, so it’s not going to lift you up while dragging you down at the same time.

The cold-milled process used to produce this organic hemp protein powder eliminates the need for heating that can undermine purity.

In addition, there are no outside flavors of any kind that might compromise your ability to mix it with other beverages and foods.

5 – Manitoba Harvest Pro Fiber

Manitoba Harvest has a decent reputation in the supplement community for creating safe, effective, protein powders.

This Manitoba organic hemp protein powder has a higher fiber content compared to others. With 14 grams of the gritty stuff in every serving, it’s likely to be good for your intestines, which in turn is good for your overall health.

In terms of taste, it’s not that bad. The good news about it is that it won’t interfere with the taste of other things you may want to mix it with.

Keep in mind, too, that because this organic hemp protein powder has an extra high fiber content, it’s not going to make an ideal shake. But it does work well when mixed into muffins, breads, yogurt and cereal.

6 – Navitas Organics

Navitas is another producer that chooses to offer an organic hemp protein powder that is unadorned by artificial flavors, fillers, additives, GMOs or anything else that might make it taste better but would undermine its purity.

Because it’s unflavored, you can mix it with just about anything from yogurt to brownies to shakes, and it won’t interfere with the taste of other ingredients.

Navitas’ Organic Hemp Protein Powder is a great natural source of fiber, vitamin A, magnesium, and calcium. The calcium is particularly important because you’ll want your new, bigger muscles to be attached to nice, strong bones.

7 – Bob’s Red Mill

Organic hemp protein powder is one of Bob’s newest offerings, and they didn’t waste any time coming up with a winner. Red Mill has a fantastic amino acid profile, with 14 grams of pure, amino acid-rich protein per serving, and includes no unnecessary additives.

Because Bob’s Red Mill hemp protein is free of outside flavors, you can mix it with just about anything from water to cakes, and it won’t spoil the flavor.

Red Mill contains no sodium, trans-fats or cholesterol, and each serving contains just 10 grams of carbohydrates. Red Mill Protein Powder is also high in iron and calcium which is great for blood and bones.

There are also plenty of the branched chain amino acids your body craves after a tough workout, which this organic hemp protein powder can provide.

8 – Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 is low enough in carbs to be used by those on the keto diet. But even if you’re not on a carb-restrictive diet, it will still do a great job of helping you recover from strenuous workouts and build the kind of lean, tough physique you’re looking for.

Organic hemp protein powders don’t get much simpler than this. Manitoba Harvest consists of 2 ingredients only: hemp protein and plant extract.

With this organic hemp protein powder, you’ll get the BCAAs your muscles need. With the plant extracts, you’ll get essential vitamins and minerals.

Hemp Pro 70 is one of those hemp protein powders that is rich in antioxidants, iron, calcium and, most importantly, branched chain amino acids that your body cannot produce by itself, but are crucial to muscle growth.

9 – Nature’s Way

Featuring 13g of fiber and 11g of protein per serving, Nature’s Way Hemp protein powders are a great way to get a bunch of your daily nutrients in one big go!

These supplements are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, being made with cold milled powder which is known for its purity.

Nature’s way is also certified as an organic product.

10 – Chisoft

Chisoft are very big on letting you know that their products are “MADE IN CANADA”.

Nonetheless, this hemp protein powder is brilliant for vegans who want a boost before or after their workout!

This organic hemp protein powder is specially designed with easily-digestible plant protein, making it easy for your body to absorb all the nutrients it needs from this product.

Made from natural ingredients, this powder is free from GMOs, gluten, preservatives, dairy, hormones, and everything but the kitchen sink.

Other Pure Plant Protein: Zego Plant Protein

What is Hemp Protein Powder?

Hemp protein powder is derived from hemp seeds. It is a dietary supplement intended to help those who feel they are not getting enough protein from their regular diet.

People who work out extensively also tend to use protein powder in order to help repair and rebuild overstressed muscles.

Hemp is renowned for its purity, easy digestibility, and affordability.

Contrary to some urban legends floating around, however, hemp powder contains no THC, so you’re not going to cop a buzz by drinking a hemp protein shake (1).

Hemp vs Whey Protein

Many people new to supplements hear a lot about the virtues of whey protein and are curious about how hemp and whey powder compare. Here is a quick look:

Hemp Protein Powder Pros and Cons

Whey Protein Powder Pros and Cons

Both of these will help you get more out of your workouts. Many people, however, are drawn to the higher level of purity in hemp protein, the fact that they don’t need to use as much of it, and the fact that the lack of flavorings means it mixes better with other foods.

Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder

The benefits are many. Especially for those who are physically active on their job or who engage in regular strenuous exercise for weight loss. Those benefits include:

  • Faster recovery – Because hemp protein powder is rich in branched chain amino acids, your muscles recover quicker than they otherwise would. In addition, any new muscles you build will have greater integrity, be leaner, and more durable.
  • Enhanced weight loss efforts – Because this type of protein powder enables you to get more from your workouts and recover faster, you’ll burn more fat in the gym and be able to work out more frequently. This will enable you to shift your weight loss efforts into high gear.
  • Healthier cells – Free radicals course through our system attacking normal cells and undermining their integrity. Hemp protein is rich in antioxidants that have been scientifically proven to attack free radicals and render them inert. This improves the health of all your cells.
  • Lower cholesterol – Studies have shown that protein supplements can play an important role in helping to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood. They also tend to help stabilize blood glucose levels.
  • Lower risk of heart problems – The heart is a muscle. And like any muscle, it needs the essential vegan BCAAs to function normally. Research suggests that supplementing with hemp protein powder may help improve heart health and reduce the prevalence of heart disease.

What are the Potential Side Effects?

Hemp protein powder is not fast food. It’s not loaded with artificial ingredients, fat and genetically-modified organisms. It’s protein gleaned from hemp seeds, and that’s it.

It’s the purest form of protein powder you can buy and is rich in things your body needs. As such, it’s not going to generate a load of side effects.

But some people still may experience some side effects, including:

  • GI distress – The fact that hemp powder is high in fiber means there’s a chance it may generate GI distress in some people. This may include gas and perhaps bloating.
  • Allergies – While the number of people with allergies to hemp is small, there are still some and those people should avoid this product.

In addition, there has been very little research on the effects of hemp protein supplement on pregnant women. Just to be safe, it’s usually suggested that pregnant women refrain from taking supplements until we know more about these side effects.

Want more protein options? See our main vegan protein powder supplements page.

Can Hemp Protein Make You Fail a Drug Test?

Hemp protein cannot make you fail a drug test. Although the hemp plant is related to the cannabis plant, hemp contains minuscule levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient which causes the “high” of marijuana. As a result, hemp protein will not test positive for cannabis in a drug test.

Does Hemp Protein Get You High?

Hemp protein does not get you high. Although the hemp plant and the cannabis plant are related, hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana which gets you “high”. So no, hemp protein will not cause you to feel high or stoned in any way.

Can You Build Muscle With Hemp Protein?

You can indeed build muscle with hemp protein by your side. Hemp protein is a “complete protein”, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for protein production in the body. However, hemp does have relatively low levels of leucine, an amino acid favored by bodybuilders.

Is Hemp Protein Better Than Pea Protein?

Hemp protein is not better than pea protein, generally speaking. Hemp protein has a PDCAAS score of 51%, while pea protein has a PDCAAS score of 85%. This means that pea protein has more essential amino acids, bringing it closer to the coveted status of a 100% complete protein.

Is Hemp Protein Fast or Slow Digesting?

Hemp protein is slow digesting. According to PDCAAS, hemp protein is a slow digesting protein, taking much longer to digest than alternatives such as pea protein. Slow digesting proteins tend to enable prolonged protein absorption, making them a good choice in the long term.

Does Hemp Protein Go Bad?

Hemp protein powders can go bad and expire, although this is true of all protein powders. If you store the hemp protein powder in the correct conditions and seal it regularly, you may be able to use it a couple of days past the expiration date, but we would not recommend it.

Does Hemp Protein Contain CBD?

Hemp protein does contain a certain amount of CBD, but these are cannabinoids which do not tend to interact with the receptors in the human body. So although CBD may be present in hemp powder, it does not have the same effects as it would in marijuana or CBD supplements.

Can You MIX Hemp Protein Powders With Water?

You can mix hemp protein powders with water, almond milk, soy milk, and much more! Hemp protein powder can be mixed into various meals and smoothies, and can even be used in baking too. Mixing hemp protein into your drinks/meals allows you to receive all the benefits and enjoy the taste.

Our #1 Recommended Hemp Protein Powder

When it comes to high-quality hemp protein powder, LeanHemp is the top choice. It provides all 20 amino acids, including the 8 essential ones and the branched chain amino acids that are crucial to building new, stronger muscles.

LeanHemp is also one of the few to do flavoring right with their all-natural chocolate flavor, which is an unexpected treat.

With zero GMOs, no trans-fats, no cholesterol, no sodium and 20 grams of protein per serving, it’s the gold standard of hemp protein powders.

If you are interested in attaining a higher level of overall health, you should consider making a plant-based protein powder like LeanHemp part of your process.

Not sure if hemp protein is for you, then just go for an ordinary protein powder like the one from Orgain Organic.

For more protein powders comparison, see this article on whey and plant protein comparison.

Hemp protein powder is one of the best sources for supplemental protein because it is highly soluble, rich in essential amino acids and 100% organic. Our #1 RECOMMENDED hemp protein has…

Hemp Protein Powders: Best of 2020

Hemp protein powder is a fantastic, natural source of protein, omega fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients. Here are our research-based top picks for this vegan protein supplement.

Farther down, we present research on hemp protein powder’s side effects, nutritional value, and more.

Quick Glance: 4 of 8
Best Overall: Navitas 100% Hemp Protein Powder

Top 8 Best Hemp Protein Powders

Best Hemp Powder Overall

Only 1 ingredient

This is one of the best hemp protein powders. It’s a well-rounded organic powder brimming with protein, fiber, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.

Navitas organic powder is one of the best hemp protein powders available. The hemp seeds are sourced solely from non-GMO family farms in Canada. Their cold-press processing method makes some of the best gluten-free, dairy-free, and guilt-free hemp protein on the market.

Like most other hemp powders, this protein has an earthy, nutty flavor. Since hemp doesn’t dissolve in water, it’s best to mix this into smoothies, yogurt, or other snacks. A great source of protein, fiber, minerals, and omega fatty acids, this powder is great for any goal.

BOTTOM LINE

If you simply need some fantastic hemp powder for any health and wellness goal, Navitas is sure to get the job done.

  • Only 1 ingredient: pure hemp protein powder
  • Organic, non-GMO
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, vegan
  • Hemp is naturally not water soluble
  • Hemp flavor is off-putting to some

Lowest-Calorie Hemp Protein

Super low in calories without skimping on nutrients, this hemp protein powder is unmatched in its calorie-to-nourishment ratio. And at a low price per serving, it’s also one of the most inexpensive picks on this list.

This organic, non-GMO hemp powder is a rich source of nutrients. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and gut-cleaning fiber in plenty. This is a great option for weight loss, lean athletics, and those looking for keto-friendly protein powders. It’s also a great paleo-friendly protein powder.

BOTTOM LINE

Nutiva’s hemp protein is a low-calorie yet nutrient-dense powder. It’s great for weight loss and lean athletic goals.

  • Super low-calorie
  • Organic, non-GMO, pure hemp protein powder
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, vegan
  • Paleo- and keto-friendly
  • Hemp is naturally not water soluble
  • Hemp flavor is off-putting to some

Best Hemp Protein Powder for Athletes

Most protein for price

This specially-concentrated hemp powder is jam-packed with complete proteins. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any hemp product with more protein per serving.

To make this powder, the cold-pressed hemp undergoes a special water washing process that pulls the hemp proteins out of the fiber. The resultant concentrate is much higher in protein content than normal hemp powder. As a bonus, it can actually dissolve in water, unlike regular hemp powder.

This organic, non-GMO powder is the best hemp protein powder for athletes. From the bodybuilder trying to bulk up to the performance athlete with high protein needs, this hemp powder is a great choice.

BOTTOM LINE

Hemp Yeah! Max Protein is the most protein-dense hemp powder on the market. Great for bodybuilders and other athletes.

  • High protein content
  • Only 1 main ingredient & 1 natural flavoring
  • Milder flavor than other hemp powders
  • Organic, non-GMO
  • Dairy-free
  • Although it’s likely gluten-free, the manufacturer has issued a statement saying they don’t advertise as gluten free to be safe
  • Currently only available to Amazon Prime members

Best Budget Hemp Protein Powder

If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, this is it. At a low price per serving, this powder is easy on the wallet without skimping on quality.

Not only is Evo Hemp’s protein powder one of cheapest per serving of proteins, but you don’t have to buy in bulk. It’s the cheapest, period, making it a great budget hemp powder.

And in this case, “budget” doesn’t mean “bottom shelf” by any means. This protein powder is organic and non-GMO, grown exclusively on USA farms. It’s a single ingredient, with no filler. This protein-rich, nutrient-dense hemp powder is great for anyone on a budget.

BOTTOM LINE

Evo Hemp Protein is the most inexpensive per serving and per unit. And it’s still high-quality, organic, and nutrient-dense.

  • Cheapest per gram of protein
  • Cheapest unit price
  • Only 1 ingredient
  • Organic, non-GMO, USA-grown
  • Not advertised as free of gluten, dairy, or soy
  • Hemp is naturally not water soluble
  • Hemp flavor is off-putting to some

Best Hemp Protein Powder for Your Gut

This is a fiber-rich, protein-packed hemp powder at a super low price. Great for dealing with digestive issues.

This raw shelled, cold-pressed hemp powder is extra rich in dietary fiber, providing 13 grams per serving. In addition, it delivers a respectable 13 grams of complete proteins, which is still comparable to other hemp powders.

Since hemp fibers don’t dissolve in water, it’s best to sprinkle this powder on foods like salad, granola, oatmeal, or yogurt. It’s also great when blended into healthy smoothies. This organic, non-GMO hemp protein powder is a great choice for a happier gut.

BOTTOM LINE

Mighty Seed’s fiber-rich hemp powder is the go-to for dealing with gut issues. As a bonus, it’s super inexpensive.

  • Highest fiber content
  • Very inexpensive
  • Only 1 ingredient
  • Organic, non-GMO, USA-grown
  • Not advertised as free of gluten, dairy, or soy
  • Hemp is naturally not water soluble
  • Hemp flavor is off-putting to some

Cleanest Organic Hemp Powder

In-house lab testing

Terrasoul’s organic, super-strict sourcing and minimal processing makes some of the cleanest hemp protein powder.

This brand keeps tight control and a high level of accountability for their hemp protein powder. Once they get their hands on their Canadian-grown organic hemp seeds, the product doesn’t leave their sight. They perform in-house lab testing to ensure top-notch quality, and perform all processing and packaging themselves. From start to finish, this powder is a labor of love.

Their strict processing makes a powder that’s really lean and clean. While maintaining super low calorie content, each serving is packed with protein, fiber, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It’s a healthy, wholesome hemp protein powder that’s great for any health goal.

BOTTOM LINE

Terrasoul’s hemp powder is lean and clean due to their strict standards. Only the cleanest organic hemp makes it from plant to package.

  • Clean, cold processing
  • In-house testing, processing, & packaging
  • Only 1 ingredient
  • Organic, non-GMO, Canadian-grown
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Clean processing means it’s a little grittier
  • Hemp is naturally not water soluble
  • Hemp flavor is off-putting to some

Best Hemp Protein Powder for Baking & Cooking

Available in bulk

Bob’s Red Mill hemp protein powder is a great no-nonsense powder for baking and cooking.

This brand is an employee-owned company that prides itself in its no-junk, no-nonsense food supplements. Its pure, single-ingredient, non-GMO hemp protein powder is no different. And with 4-pound bulk packs available, it’s the perfect choice for flour substitute.

For cooking and baking, you’ll want to mix in roughly 1 part hemp powder for every 3 parts of flower, per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Hemp protein powder can’t completely replace flour, but it’s a great way to bolster its flavor and nutritional value.

BOTTOM LINE

Bob’s Red Mill makes a pure hemp protein powder that’s perfect for cooking and baking, available in bulk.

  • Great for cooking
  • Available in bulk
  • Only 1 ingredient
  • Non-GMO
  • Not advertised as free of gluten, dairy, or soy

Best Hemp Blend

Alaya offers an excellent hemp, pea, and rice protein blend to surpass what hemp alone can deliver.

Pea, rice, and hemp seed are all complete protein sources, meaning they contain all essential amino acids. And while they may contain less-than-ideal quantities of certain amino acids (such as hemp being low in lysine), together they cover each other’s weaknesses.

This organic, non-GMO, vegan powder delivers more protein than any other pick on this list. In addition, it’s full of other nutrients and minerals, while staying super low in natural carbohydrates and sugars. A little monk fruit extract gives this powder just a little bit of sweetness, making it one of the better tasting powders on this list as well.

BOTTOM LINE

Alaya offers an excellent hemp, pea, and brown rice protein blend. This organic, all-natural powder is great for anyone wanting a more robust protein profile than hemp powder alone.

  • Hemp, rice, and pea protein (all complete sources)
  • Organic, non-GMO
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free
  • 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied
  • Vanilla flavor is mild, so hemp taste is detectable

All About Hemp Protein

How to Take Hemp Protein

Once you’ve chosen the best hemp protein powder for your goals, you’ll need to actually take it. What’s the best way to do so?

By weight, much of hemp protein powder is fiber, which is not soluble in water. This means that no matter how much you stir, it won’t dissolve.

It’s easy to find complaints that different brands of hemp protein won’t dissolve in water, but that’s the very nature of the stuff. While some of its nutrients will dissolve, the fiber won’t.

Because of this, it’s best to blend, bake, sprinkle, or mix hemp protein powder into foods, such as the following:

  • Fruit or vegetable smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Baked goods
  • Hot cereals (like oatmeal)
  • Granola
  • Salads

Get creative with it! Just know beforehand that if you only try mixing hemp protein powder in water, you’re going to have a bad time.

If you’re not sure about hemp, you can take a look at our list of the best plant-based protein powders.

Hemp protein powder can easily be mixed into smoothies and other foods.
Photo courtesy of Marco Verch under CC BY 2.0. Cropped.

How Much to Take
  • For Building Muscle

For building muscle, research indicates you should be taking between roughly 0.73 and 1.1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (1.6 to 2.4 grams per kilogram of weight). 1 A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults 2 Do athletes need more dietary protein and amino acids? The heavier your athletic activity, the more protein you’ll need.

To build muscle with hemp protein powder, it would be best to take either Alaya Plant Protein Blend (20.6 grams of protein) or Hemp Yeah! Max Protein (18.8 grams of protein) for their high protein content.

  • For Weight Loss

If weight loss is your goal, you’ll want to consume less protein (and fewer calories) overall. Research has shown that between 0.36 and 0.73 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is ideal for this. (That’s 0.8 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.) 3 A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults 4 Dietary protein intake and human health. And again, the more active you are, the more protein you’ll need.

To maintain a lower calorie intake, Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein and Terrasoul Hemp Protein Powder are great options, with each at 90 calories and 15 grams of protein per serving.

  • For Health and Wellbeing

If you’re just wanting a healthy nutrition supplement, your protein intake should be similar to the recommendation immediately above. That’s 0.36 to 0.73 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (or 0.8 to 1.6 grams per kilogram), depending on your activity level. We recommend sticking with the go-to Navitas 100% Hemp Protein Powder for that.

When to Take It
  • For Building Muscle

Research has shown that for building muscle, the best time to take protein is immediately after your workout.

Protein/carbohydrate mixes, such as hemp protein powder, have a slew of benefits when taken right after a workout. These benefits include the following:

This is helpful for both men and women. As explained below, muscle mass is very important when it comes to fat loss. (You can check out our guide on the Top 20 Best Protein Powders for Women, which has more information.)

  • For Weight Loss

If your goal is to lose weight, there are two timing factors to bear in mind.

Most importantly, if you’re working out at all, you’ll want to drink a protein shake immediately after your workout. This is for the reasons listed above, such as increased muscle mass and strength. (Muscle mass consumes more calories than fat at rest, so it’s really helpful for fat loss.)

Secondly, if you have the calorie budget to spare, it’s better to drink your protein shakes with your meals as opposed to in between meals. Research has shown that this helps with fat loss. 14 Effects of protein supplements consumed with meals, versus between meals, on resistance training–induced body composition changes in adults: a systematic review

For more information on protein powder dosage and timing, take a glance at our protein powder guide.

Nutritional Value of Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp protein powders are rich in protein, fiber, fatty acids, and more. Here’s a quick overview.

  • Protein Content & Quality

Hemp protein powder is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids needed by the body. These amino acids are vital for building tissue and maintaining the body’s functions.

There is a caveat, though. Hemp seeds tend to be low in the amino acid lysine. This means that you need to consume more hemp protein powder than, say, whey or casein in order to meet the body’s full amino acid needs.

This isn’t a problem for most people, though. As long as you’re consuming a variety of protein sources, you should be meeting your essential amino acid needs. Or you can opt for a blend of hemp with other plant protein sources, such as Alaya’s hemp, pea, and rice protein blend.

Hemp vs. Other Plant Proteins

Protein Source Protein Efficiency Ratio Biological Value Net Protein Utilization PDCAAS
Soy Protein 2.2 74 61 1.00
Pea Protein 2.3 83 66 0.89
Rice Protein 2.4 73 71 0.90
Hemp Seed Protein 0.7 85 ND 0.51

Table adapted from our protein powder guide. You can read about these protein quality measurements here.

As the table above shows, hemp doesn’t have the best protein quality compared to some other plant proteins. However, most people don’t take hemp protein powder for the protein content alone.

  • Fiber

One of the major reasons many people opt for some of the best hemp protein powders is their fiber content.

Plant-based protein sources have more fiber than animal sources, and hemp in particular is packed with fiber. Most hemp powders contain between 7 and 13 grams of fiber per 30-gram serving.

The fiber content depends partly on whether the hemp seed has been de-hulled. The hulls of the seeds contain a lot of fiber, so hemp protein powder from seeds with the hulls intact will have more fiber, but less protein.

Hemp seed fiber is insoluble, which means it does a great job of moving material through the digestive tract. As such, high-fiber brands are often the best hemp protein powders for those suffering from constipation and other digestive issues. For this, we recommend Mighty Seed Hemp Protein Powder for its higher-than-average fiber content.

  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very important polyunsaturated fats that the body can’t produce on its own. Much like essential amino acids, these fats are termed essential fatty acids, and must come from diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in brain function, anti-inflammation, heart health, and more. Deficiencies are linked to diabetes, heart disease, and other issues. Omega-6 fatty acids are primarily used for energy.

The body needs a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, Western diets tend to have too little omega-3 and too much omega-6, which can lead to issues such as increased inflammation.

Hemp protein powder can be a good solution for this problem. Hemp seeds contain both of these fatty acids, with most varieties containing much more omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6. This helps tip the scales to a more balanced position.

If you’re wanting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, you can’t go wrong with most hemp products. Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein is one of the best hemp protein powders for boosting omega-3 levels.

SUMMARY

Although other foods beat hemp when it comes to protein content, hemp protein powders contain lots of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. These are both very important for maintaining the body’s functions.

Hemp Protein Powder vs. Whey

Since whey is one of the most popular protein powders, many people want to know how hemp protein powder holds up in comparison.

Let’s get this out of the way up front: Whey is one of the highest-quality protein sources. Both in protein concentration and protein quality, there are very few food sources that can hold a flame to whey. (Casein, maybe, but not many others.)

Here’s how hemp compares to whey on several protein quality scales (which you can read about here):

Hemp vs. Other Plant Proteins

Protein Source Protein Efficiency Ratio Biological Value Net Protein Utilization PDCAAS
Whey Protein 3.2 104 92 1.00
Hemp Seed Protein 0.7 85 ND 0.51

If we’re talking solely about protein density and quality, whey outperforms hemp by a fairly large margin.

However, most people who opt for hemp protein don’t do so for its protein content alone.

First off, hemp protein powder contains no animal products, which means it’s a great nutritional supplement for vegans. And beyond protein itself, hemp powder contains far more fiber than whey does. And whey doesn’t contain any omega-3 fatty acids.

Simply put, whey and hemp are different nutritional supplements with different purposes.

SUMMARY

Whey is a better protein source than hemp, but hemp is vegan and contains other nutrients, like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Hemp Side Effects and Considerations

While hemp protein powder is a safe nutritional supplement, there are a few considerations to bear in mind before taking it.

Gastrointestinal Flushing

People with low-fiber diets may experience loosening of stool when first supplementing hemp protein powder.

As explained above, hemp protein powder is rich in fiber—more so than most other protein powders. Fiber helps to push material through the digestive tract, which can help improve digestive system health.

However, for those with low fiber intake, the sudden introduction of fiber from hemp protein may temporarily increase frequency of bowel movements. This should normalize with continued use of hemp protein powder.

If high fiber content is a concern, starting off with a hemp protein powder relatively low in fiber such as Navitas 100% Hemp Protein Powder might be a good idea.

Will Hemp Protein Powder Get Me High?

Many people wonder something along the lines of, “Hemp and marijuana are the same plant, right? Can hemp get me high?”

Although hemp and marijuana are both varieties of cannabis, there is a major difference in their very definitions.

Marijuana is the term for any strain of cannabis containing more than 0.3% THC by weight after being dried. THC is responsible for marijuana’s psychotropic effects—”getting high.” At levels well above 0.3% THC, this effect becomes noticeable.

Hemp, on the other hand, is the term for any cannabis strain with less than 0.3% THC. By definition, hemp cannot make you feel high.

Hemp may look like marijuana at a glance, but it’s actually quite different in application.

Will Hemp Protein Powder Make Me Fail a Drug Test?

As explained above, the THC levels in hemp are extremely low. So low, in fact, that you would have to consume an unhealthy bulk of hemp powder before trace amounts of THC would show up on even the most sensitive tests.

Hemp protein powder is an increasingly popular supplement, and its popularity would have been stifled early on if it resulted in failed drug tests with any frequency.

What Is Hemp Protein Powder, Anyway?

Hemp is the term for a category of the plant species cannabis sativa. Marijuana is also a category of this plant.

While it’s fairly common to refer to hemp and marijuana each as a “strain,” “species,” or “genus” of cannabis sativa, that’s not accurate. As explained above, the terms “hemp” and “marijuana” are used to classify strains of cannabis with different levels of THC, the psychotropic component.

Hemp, by the very definition, cannot contain more than trace amounts of THC (0.3% maximum). It has been used for producing both food and commercial goods (such as rope) for thousands of years, and continues to be a safe, natural health resource today.

Raw hemp seeds undergo several steps to be processed into hemp protein powder.

Production & Processing

The manufacturing process for hemp protein powder can vary from brand to brand, but each product typically undergoes a few major steps.

1. De-Hulling

After the hemp seeds are harvested, the rough, protective hull is typically removed. You may see some hemp protein powders advertised as “shelled” or “de-hulled,” which is what this is referring to.

A few brands opt not to de-hull the hemp seeds. This makes the powder more fibrous, and shifts the protein-fiber balance to be a little more fiber-heavy. This can be helpful for people with digestive issues, though the increased fiber content means the powder will be more difficult to mix into beverages.

2. Pressing

The de-hulled or whole hemp seeds are pressed and compacted into a pasty cake. Most manufacturers refer to this process as a “cold press,” as no added heat or chemicals are involved in this process.

3. Removal of Fats

Typically, manufacturers will reduce the fat content of the hemp seed cake. A sort of tumble-dry process can be used to do this.

However, not all of the fat content can be completely removed from hemp protein powder. This has its pros and cons.

First, the fats in question are largely the omega-3 fatty acids discussed above. These are essential for the body, and play important roles in brain health, heart health, and more.

However, fatty acids have a limited shelf life. This is why the expiration date on hemp protein powders tends to be much shorter than that of, say, whey or casein protein powder.

4. Powdering

Finally, the reduced-fat hemp seed cake is ground into a fine powder. The dried, ground powder is then packaged and is ready for consumption.

Quick Protein Overview

Hemp aside, not sure if protein supplements are right for you? Here’s some brief information that might be helpful.

What Proteins Are

Proteins are the basic building blocks of the body. They’re made of amino acids, which are used for building muscle and connective tissue, as well as performing other functions necessary for life.

There are 8 amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own but still needs. These are called essential amino acids.

Not all protein sources are created equal. Sources that contain all essential amino acids are called complete proteins. These include most animal proteins such as whey, casein, and egg white powders, but also some plant sources. Hemp, rice, soy, and pea are good examples.

How Protein Supplements Help

The following information is summarized from our complete protein powder guide. Check it out for more thorough information.

With Athletics
  • Building and Preserving Muscle Mass

There are a few reasons for this, but one is that drinking protein after a workout has two immediate effects. First, the supply of fresh amino acids from the protein stops the body from breaking down muscle tissue. Second, the body simply creates muscle tissue at a higher rate when supplied with amino acids after a workout. 17 Reduced resting skeletal muscle protein synthesis is rescued by resistance exercise and protein ingestion following short-term energy deficit. 18 Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids 19 Protein requirements and muscle mass/strength changes during intensive training in novice bodybuilders. 20 Effects of exaggerated amino acid and protein supply in man.

  • Boosting Performance and Decreasing Soreness

There are three major reasons behind this. First, protein supplements simply help the body produce more muscle tissue, as discussed above.

SUMMARY

Taking protein supplements can help with gaining muscle mass, boosting performance, and decreasing soreness.

With Weight Loss

There are a few contributing factors here. The simplest is that protein shakes are filling, and can often replace unhealthy food choices. They can help with both appetite control and responsible dietary choices.

But beyond simple meal replacements, protein shakes help increase muscle mass, which in turns helps with burning fat.

Even at rest, muscle consumes more calories than fat does. This means that the more muscle tissue you have, the higher your resting metabolism. And the higher your resting metabolism, the easier it is to maintain a calorie deficit and burn fat.

SUMMARY

Protein supplements can help with losing fat and maintaining calorie-burning muscle mass.

Summary

Protein supplements can be an incredibly useful tool for reaching health and fitness goals. Hemp protein powder in particular is a fantastic option for anybody who needs a clean, vegan protein boost.

For more information on protein supplementation, see our complete protein powder guide.

Our 2020 guide on the best hemp protein powders breaks down the best brands for muscle mass, weight loss, gut health, price, and more.