- Posted by Phytomaniac
- On August 14, 2017
Find out the best hemp protein powder on the market today with our comprehensive review of the top 10 hemp protein powders.
People have utilized hemp throughout human history for items like rope, textiles, oil and food. Fast growing and renewable, hemp was once a major cash crop in the U.S., but the federal prohibition of its psychoactive cousin marijuana also made hemp illegal to grow. The U.S. government has flirted with lifting the ban in recent years, and the best hemp protein powder products are finally on U.S. shelves, getting the attention they deserve.
American farmers in select states are now legally growing hemp again, but the majority of hemp sold in the U.S. is imported from Canada, where its THC content is heavily regulated. Hemp in Canada may contain no more than .3 percent THC, whereas marijuana often contains 5-percent THC or more. Properly regulated, hemp has no psychoactive properties at all. Hemp protein powders are nutritional powerhouses, but they are not drugs.
What is Protein Powder?
The USDA sets the recommended dietary allowance — the suggested daily intake — of protein for the average person at .36 grams per pound of body weight. In the quest for more muscle, though, many athletes will consume 1 gram per pound of body weight or more on a daily basis. To get to that level of protein consumption, many athletes and bodybuilders turn to protein supplementation.
By far, the most popular method of protein supplementation is protein powder. As the name implies, these products are purified, powdered forms of high-protein foods. Whey is the most common food source in protein powders, but it is a byproduct of the manufacture of cheese. Vegans must source their protein elsewhere, such as the best hemp protein powders available.
Why Do We Need Protein?
The structure of every cell in the human body is composed of proteins, and cells utilize it in every function. Almost every other substance in the body is there to be acted upon by proteins, which get their instructions from DNA. Importantly to an athlete, the cells of the body use protein to repair themselves, meaning protein is essential for building muscle. We damage the muscle when we work out, and our cells use proteins to rebuild the muscle and make it bigger and stronger for the next workout.
Why Hemp Protein Powder?
Virtually all plants that people eat contain at least some amount of protein, but most are considered “incomplete” because they lack sufficient quantities of essential amino acids. When we consume protein, the body breaks it down into its constituent amino acids, which we use for various critical body functions. There are about 20 amino acids, but we can only synthesize 11 of them ourselves; the rest we must get through our diets. The best hemp protein powders contain all nine essential amino acids the human body needs in significant quantities, meaning they have “complete” amino acid profiles.
Omega Fatty Acids
Like amino acids, there are two essential fatty acids the body requires, but which it cannot synthesize from other fats. Omega-3 fatty acid is essential for brain function, and Omega-6 fatty acid is necessary for the inflammatory response that spurs muscle growth. The best hemp protein powder will contain nearly 12 grams of essential fatty acids in a three-tablespoon serving.
Hemp Products and Drug Tests
It is normal for people interested in incorporating hemp into their diets to be wary, thanks to the negative connotations associated with marijuana. The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — is only present in small quantities in industrial-grade hemp. The levels of THC in the best hemp protein powders are certainly not enough to get you high, but what about a drug test?
On the Job
Most employer-administered drug tests in the U.S. have a cutoff level of 50 nanograms per milliliter. Studies show that hemp protein powder containing .3 percent THC or less will never present enough THC to cross the 50 ng/mL barrier that warrants a more stringent test. It is wise to use only the best hemp protein powder, which will not contain more THC than the mandated maximum in Canada.
Athletic organizations sometimes administer tests that can read THC concentrations lower than the levels a workplace drug test will identify. As the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency points out, athletes are responsible for anything found in their bodies during testing. Relying on the packaging to tell you hemp protein powder is THC-free is a good way to lose a scholarship or a spot on an Olympic team. Vegan athletes should do their due diligence, such as ensuring they are consuming only the best hemp protein powder, sourced from Canadian hemp.
The 10 Best Hemp Protein Powders
#10. Hemp Protein Powder: Nature’s Way – EFAGold
Nature’s Way is one of the nation’s largest producer of herbal supplements. Its EFAGold hemp protein powder is cold-pressed from milled seeds, hulls and all. The inclusion of hulls means EFAGold contains far more fiber — 13 grams — than 3 grams found in some of the best hemp protein powders. However, at 11 grams per 30-gram serving, it contains less of the complete vegetarian protein for which vegans normally buy these products.
Nature’s Way is a forward-thinking brand. It is a participant in the TRU-ID program, which uses DNA testing to authenticate the products it sells. It is also a member of the Non-GMO Project, ensuring its products are natural and naturally occurring. EFAGold is a one-ingredient, pure hemp protein powder that eats well but does not dissolve in liquid.
#9. Hemp Protein Powder: Navitas – Organic Hemp Powder
Navitas Organic Hemp Powder is Rather than using just the kernel, Navitas hemp protein powder utilizes the whole seed. It is cold pressed, and is one of the best hemp protein powder sources of source of fiber, iron and other minerals. Navitas is 50 percent protein by weight, and can substitute for flour in baking recipes.
Navitas hemp protein powder comes premeasured in 4-tablespoon, 30-gram single-serving packets, which are recyclable. Each one provides 13 grams of protein, 11 grams of carbs (of which 7 grams are fiber) and 3 grams of essential fatty acids. They are a handy way to add a complete protein source to meal replacements shakes when you are on the go. They also help simplify macro nutrient counting.
#8. Hemp Protein Powder: Bob’s Red Mill – Hemp Protein Powder
Bob’s Red Mill is a mainstay in grocery market health food sections across the country, but don’t let its ubiquity fool you. The company has built a solid reputation for making honest and healthy nutritional products. Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder comes in a case of four, 16-ounce bags. Each bag has 15 servings of pure hemp protein powder, making it the best hemp protein powder for people on a budget.
Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder delivers 14 grams of protein per 31-gram serving. It also has 3 grams of healthy fats and 8 grams of fiber, plus nearly half the RDA of iron. Unfortunately, the company’s claim of mild flavor and easy dissolving are wishful thinking. Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder is no more pungent than its competitors, but all have a pronounced, nutty flavor. And few hemp protein powders can boast water solubility. It is as gritty as any of its competition.
#7. Hemp Protein Powder: Onnit Hemp Force
Onnit is a brain- and body-health nutrition and supplement company. It is following on the heels of the success of its popular Choco-Maca with Hemp Force Vanill-Acai, which is not so much ground hemp as a hemp-based protein shake and smoothie mix.
Hemp Force Vanill-Acai contains 14 grams of protein in a 42-gram serving. It also has 14 grams of carbohydrates, of which only 6 grams are fiber with 3 grams of sugars. Its ingredients include acai, flax seed, chia seed and almonds. With its additional stevia extract, Hemp Force may be the best hemp protein powder available for the athlete with a sweet tooth. It mixes well and is a light meal on its own, but is a bit much to add to a homespun smoothie recipe.
#6. Hemp Protein Powder: Manitoba Harvest – Organic Hemp Pro Fiber
The best hemp protein powders are simple, and Manitoba Harvest keeps things that way with its Organic Hemp Pro Fiber hemp protein powder. Its sole ingredient is organic, cold-pressed milled hemp, meaning it has a complete amino acid profile. Manitoba Harvest is a simple way to add fiber and protein to a diet in one step.
Thirty grams of Manitoba Harvest contains only 11 grams of protein, which is less than most of its competition, but it makes up for it by supplying half the RDA of fiber (13 grams) per serving. It also delivers a healthy dose of essential fatty acids, but it mixes poorly compared to some other brands of hemp protein powder. The distinct, nutty hemp flavor is there in spades, but a gritty consistency is ever-present.
#5. Hemp Protein Powder: Wilderness Poets – Hemp Protein Powder
Wilderness Poets is a small company in Ashland, Oregon with more than a decade it in the health food business. Its Organic Hemp Protein Powder comes packaged in minimalist, recyclable materials and is packed with complete hemp protein. It is 50 percent protein by weight, and also contains a complete Omega 3-6-9 score as well.
A 2-pound package of Wilderness Poets contains 32 servings of 30 grams each, making it one of the best hemp protein powder bulk options. It has 14 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and 3 grams of healthy fats per serving. It does not dissolve in liquid, but its nutty flavor mixes well with a variety of smoothie ingredients, and it works great as a flour substitute. Wilderness Poets might not yet have the following of some of its competition, but with quality products like its Organic Hemp Protein Powder, recognition is sure to come.
#4. Hemp Protein Powder: Lean Hemp – Pure Hemp
Lean Hemp is the new kid among the best hemp protein powders in the marketplace, but it is making quick strides with its Pure Hemp protein powder and its commitment to growing the industrial hemp industry in the U.S. The company appears to be on a mission to legitimize hemp products, though its claim of THC-free hemp is suspect.
Lean Hemp protein powder contains 20 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber and 4.5 grams of healthy fats per serving. The company reaches these unusually high numbers by raising the serving size to 40 grams, and lowering it to a normal 30-gram serving will give users an extra couple servings in each 2-pound bulk package.
#3. Hemp Protein Powder: Pure Goodness – Hemp Seed Protein
Pure Goodness is a health-conscious company that is part of the NON-GMO Project. All of its products are gluten and dairy free and vegan friendly. Pure Goodness Hemp Seed Protein contains just cold-pressed hemp seeds, natural vanilla and stevia extract. While it does not dissolve completely in liquid, it softens nicely and has a delicately sweet flavor.
Pure Goodness hemp protein powder contains 15 grams of protein in a 33-gram serving, with 3.3 grams of healthy fats and 13 grams of carbohydrates. Five grams of those carbs are fiber, while only 1 gram is sugar. Pure Goodness didn’t over-rely on sweetness to mask the natural flavors. It may be the best hemp protein powder for those who want a shake mix to use on its own.
#2 Hemp Protein Powder: Nutiva – Organic Hemp Protein
Like most of the best hemp protein powders, Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein is more hemp meal than a meal-replacement shake. It is not a mix, and it does not dissolve like one, but it works well as an added source of complete vegan protein in a nutritional shake. It contains all the essential amino acids and both essential fatty acids in abundance. It is cold-pressed without chemicals to retain its nutritional profile, and it is certified organic and non-GMO.
Nutivia is a signatory of the Test Pledge, which shows it is committed to producing the best hemp protein powder possible, one that meets the Canadian standard THC maximum of .3 percent. It contains 15 grams of protein per 30-gram serving, and its 26 percent fiber by weight means 8 of its 9 grams of carbohydrates are healthy fiber. Nutivia is also a good source of magnesium, iron and zinc.
#1. Hemp Protein Powder: Manitoba Harvest – Hemp Pro 70
Manitoba Harvest makes its second and largest splash on this list with Hemp Pro 70 hemp protein powder. This powerhouse complete protein source contains 70 percent protein by weight. Manitoba Harvest uses concentrated hemp to achieve this unusually high protein content — 20 grams per 30-gram serving. It
Hemp Pro 70 also has the same Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and additional minerals as its grittier competitors, while also being water-soluble. There is no gritty texture to overcome and no chunks to choke down. Despite being concentrated, Hemp Pro 70 tastes mild and has a creamy texture when dissolved. It may not be as suitable for baking as some of its competition, but Hemp Pro 70 is the best hemp protein powder available for mixing into smoothies and shakes.
Vegan athletes have the same protein needs as any other athlete, but supplying those needs with plant-based proteins alone requires planning. Incomplete proteins can be paired with complementary proteins, but consuming one complete plant-based protein powders simplifies things. Hemp is one of the few options, and the best hemp protein powder for those seeking the most protein is Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Pro 70. No other option delivers as much complete protein, and none mixes so easily. It is the future of the plant-based market.