The Difference Between Hemp Seeds and Hemp Protein Powder
Alright guys, the time has come for me to discuss an issue that has been confusing health-conscious vegans everywhere. Today, I will be exploring the nitty gritty deets (how’s that for a relevant pun?) behind hemp seeds and hemp protein powder.
Far too often, I hear from potential clients seeking vegan meal plans that don’t contain any soy. I’m all for a whole foods approach to eating but when we’re talking about a vegan competition prep diet or simply building muscle on a vegan diet , truth is, our protein options are somewhat limited. And I do believe that it’s that much harder for us veegs to build muscle AND lower body fat without consuming ANY soy therefore it’s crucial to at least include protein powder in their diet plan.
I’m also all about variety when it comes to meal planning so I’ll usually include both a good-quality rice-based protein like my own and also a hemp-based option like Manitoba Harvest . And you know what question 90% of clients come back with?
“Can I eat hemp seeds instead of hemp protein powder?”
And then I take a deep breath and go into my lengthy, passionate description as to why hemp seeds will not produce the same “Jacked on the Beanstalk” results as hemp powder. The short answer being HEMP SEEDS ARE A FAT SOURCE. HEMP POWDER IS A PROTEIN SOURCE.
Yes, hemp seeds are considered a “whole food” and do contain some protein. And yes, it is hemp seeds that are ground up in the first stage of hemp protein processing. The seeds are, however, squeezed to extract the oil (removing most of the fat content.) And what remains is referred to as “hemp seed cake” (mmmmmmm sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?) 🙂
The hemp “seed cake” is what gets milled and turned into powder. The powder is then sifted into “hemp flour.” This flour from the initial “sifting” creates a high fiber product but one that’s also lower in protein. Side note: am I using enough quotation marks in this paragraph or no?
Finally, to make that muscle building hemp protein we meatless meatheads love oh-so-much, the flour gets sifted to an even finer degree. This extra sifting removes a lot of the fiber content, leaving a higher concentration of protein.
And THAT my vegan friends, is why a handful of hemp hearts is far more tasty and enjoyable than a bowl of hemp powder. They’re FAT. And who doesn’t love fats?!
I should also mention that due to the fact hemp protein is made from hemp seeds , it obviously produces a protein powder with a slightly higher fat content than say, a rice or pea-based protein. So for my clients who are training for a competition or desperately trying to lower body fat, I will put more rice protein on their meal plans rather than hemp powder to keep fats lower.
And finally, for all you macro counters who want the cold, hard, nutritional facts, these ghetto, highlighted tables were made just for you! 🙂
Check the higher fat and calories of hemp seeds and note their lower protein and fiber content:
I should mention that regardless of how you eat ’em, hemp seeds are still a nutrition powerhouse as you can see from my tables above. They digest easily, taste awesome and are super versatile, adding great texture to everything from salads and oatmeal to baking and smoothies.
And the fat they do contain is at least GOOD FAT. We’re talkin’ a healthy dose of omega-3 and omega-6s plus muscle-building amino acids. Hemp seeds are also high in magnesium which helps you to fall asleep at night, relaxes your muscles, controls blood sugar, blood pressure and good for your bones. So however which way you choose to eat them, get ’em in ya.
Alright, I’m officially over talking about hemp. And for some reason, now I feel as though I should smoke a joint, eat some hemp seed cake and do yoga in the forest…
Disclaimer: this picture was totally staged for a stock photo my friend Roby Pavone needed. What’s yoga?!
The nitty, gritty facts (pun intended) on the difference between hemp seeds and hemp powder & why one is much better for vegan bodybuilders than the other.
Hulled Hemp Seeds Vs. Whole Hemp Seeds
Hulled hemp seed, which is the whole seed with the crunchy outer shell removed, comes by quite a few names like hemp hearts, shelled hemp seed and hemp nut. Since the hulls of the hemp seed are quite crunchy and contain a lot of fibre, we as a society are not used to eating this kind of item. Hulled seed was created essentially to make eating hemp seed more appealing and easier to eat. When you bleach wheat to achieve white bread, you essentially are removing all of the nutrients. Why do it then? Simply, white bread is softer, more palatable and more visibly appealing. It is not more nutritious than its whole grain counterpart. This same analogy can be used for the difference between whole seed and hulled seed.
One recent comment from one web site reader commented that this is true in most other situations but that hemp seed actually becomes more nutritious when you remove the hulls. While this is true to an extent, it does increase the overall percentage of protein, increases the total EFA content and reduces the carbohydrate percentage, the material you are removing also contain some excellent nutrition.
When you remove the hull of the seed you are causing several detrimental effects to the nutritious whole seed. The main detriment is that you lose the hull, an excellent source of minerals but more importantly, a rare source of insoluble fibre, something that we get very little of in our modern diets. You can use the hull of the hemp seed to gently cleanse your colon and flush toxins from your intestinal tract. It is an excellent source of a type of fibre that is not found in our diets because of over processing of foods. Another good source of insoluble fibre would be soil, something not commonly consumed.
Whole hemp seed is also an excellent source of minerals and is much more stable out in the air then hulled seed. All in all, we feel that even though the seed is small, very crunchy, and may get stuck in your dental work, the benefits of the added fibre in your diet significantly outweigh the detracting factors of the hull. In the end though, we would much rather you eat hemp and gain the benefits of the excellent nutritional value of the seed from either the whole seed or the hulled seed.
Wondering what is the difference between hulled hemp seed and whole hemp seed? Hulled is the whole seed minus the shell, which increases the overall protein percentage per equivalent serving but loses fiber mineral content of the shell.