T Nation

Hemp Seeds for Protein?

Are Hemp Seeds a good protein source in a bodybuilding diet? The label says it is a complete form of protein which has all of the amino acids but if it is I’m curious as to why I haven’t heard of people using it much on this site?

Jay

That’s a great question, I’m curious myself. The GF just ordered a pound and, admittedly, I was skeptical. But, I like that it’s minimally processed, is a great source of fiber, and also is a good source for EFA’s, something a typical jug of whey can’t offer. I think I may use it to supplement my whey usage.

I used hemp protein powder a couple of years ago. It was rather gritty, but I got used to it and actually enjoyed its rustic flavor.

Most people dont care for the flavor of hemp protein. And it’s not all that cheap, from what Ive seen a long time ago.

Hemp seeds taste great. They are a perfect food containing all the essential amino acids and a perfect EFA balance. You could live on them alone. Hemp seed protein powder tastes like dirt,go with the hulled seeds.

Thought I’d share this link on Hemp seeds:

So, I’m sitting here with a canister of Nutiva organic hemp protein hi-fiber (which I grabbed by mistake). Upon opening, I’m struck by the odor. It smells like something I would keep my earthworms in when I go fishing and looks like peat moss.

I also have a tub of ON Whey strawberry banana and will be trying 30 grams of each blended in 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk.

brb

Taste

Hemp protein - it mixed surprisingly well in an electric blender, however, it didn’t stay suspended well leaving an unappetizing sludge at the bottom of my glass. The taste was a bit nutty, maybe a little less so than flax meal but not objectionable. I think a banana or some berries would cover it up nicely. The consistency is quite smooth, with a bit of grit towards the end. I could definitely drink this easily if I were thirsty. In the AM, when it’s tough for me to eat, there’s no way I’m getting this down comfortably, but that’s just me.

ON whey - The old stand-by. Mixes well, stays suspended, tastes like artificial strawberry and banana. All in all, pretty pleasant. I could easily drink this in the AM, but I think the artificial flavors would get to me after a while and I would have to mix up the flavors every 2 gallon tub or so.

Cost

Hemp - I paid $20 for 2lbs on Amazon with a $2 off coupon and free shipping.

Whey - Looks like you can get it online for about $26 for 2 lbs. However, 30 grams of hemp protein only yields 11 grams of protein ( I believe the normal, non-hi fiber hemp yields a bit more protein), while 30 grams of the whey gives me 24 grams of protein. So, the whey is cheaper on a gram of protein basis, but not much.

Nutrition

Hemp - this is where hemp can shine, if it works with your goals. One serving contains 4 grams of essential fatty acids and 12 grams of carbs, but all the carbs are fiber. I eat low carb and like the nutritional profile of this product very much. One serving is also 80 calories. From what I’ve read, hemp protein has none of the phytoestrogens or other non-nutrients that soy has, but if anyone know more about this than I do, please feel free to correct me.

Whey - One scoop contains over twice the protein as hemp but only 1.5x the calories owing to a lack of fat. Total carbs are 3 grams, sugar accounting for one of those grams.

Nutrition Facts (first number is whey, second is hemp) in mgs.

tryptophan 405 100
valine 1422 500
threonine 1654 500
iso-leu 1573 400
leucine 2531 600
lysine 2233 300
ph-alanine 748 400
methionine 492 200
arginine 505 1800
cystine 494 200
tyrosine 703 300
histidine 423 400
proline 1509 500
glutamine 4082 2100 note: hemp is glutamic acid
aspartic a 2508 1300
serine 1126 600
glycine 412 400
alanine 1180 400

Note: value would be higher for the normal fiber Nutiva product.

My conclusions: I’ve used whey for a long time and been very happy with it. It mixes well, it’s cheap, and it gets the job done. But, I’m pleasantly surprised by the hemp protein. I appreciate that it’s minimally processed and has no artificial sweeteners or colors. The taste is not objectionable at all, certainly less so than flax meal in my opinion. I haven’t tried it in a shaker cup, but I think a couple quick shakes and you could pound it pretty easily. I think the only negative is that you need to use twice as much of it to get the same amount of protein as whey, and therefore it’s nearly twice as expensive. However, I think the additional fiber and EFA’s mitigate this somewhat and eating something a bit closer to it’s original form is worth something (if that’s one of your goals.)

I’ll continue to use hemp protein to supplement my whey usage (maybe a scoop of each in a shake rather than 2 scoops of whey). I’m not sure I would ever switch entirely as hemp is sorely lacking in leucine, but one could purchase leucine from Biotest and add it to the mix to achieve a similar amino acid profile as whey. Hemp is a food product and can go stale, so it’s only sold in 1 or 2 lb bags.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

I’ll continue to use hemp protein to supplement my whey usage (maybe a scoop of each in a shake rather than 2 scoops of whey).

[/quote]

This is exactly what I did a couple of years ago.

Might give it another go.

[quote]jay711 wrote:
Are Hemp Seeds a good protein source in a bodybuilding diet? The label says it is a complete form of protein which has all of the amino acids but if it is I’m curious as to why I haven’t heard of people using it much on this site?[/quote]
Hemp is a great option for vegetarian/vegan bodybuilders (and obviously non-vegetarian bodybuilders too) but, as has been mentioned, the taste leaves much to be desired.

Isn’t the bioavailability of hemp protein a lot lower? 1g hemp protein not the same as 1g whey? Other vegetable based proteins rank higher.
EDIT: what aspects of hemp make it a good alternative to other vegetable based proteins such as pea?