Why is hemp protein so bad?
“Natural foods” people, organic-maniacs, and every kind of alt-medicine purveyor under the sun loves hemp. It makes fibers, it should be legal to grow in the US, it’s a plant, and, let’s be honest, it’s also because tons of people like to smoke weed. But that doesn’t mean hemp protein is actually good or useful to us, as protein-eaters.
First of all, the texture of hemp protein is disgusting. There’s no way around this one. It’s gritty, sandy, and somehow dry even if you mix it into water, milk, or a baked good. Its green-weedy stench overpowers any other taste in anything it’s mixed into, meaning your protein pancakes turn into mealy, dry, weed-smelling protein pancakes.
Hemp protein is much less bioavailable than the protein in beef, fish, eggs, or whey. This means that for every gram of hemp protein you eat, your body has to expend more energy to use it, and gets fewer amino acids out of it. If it’s not concentrated (most hemp protein, like Nutiva Organic hemp protein, is not) then it’s also full of fiber and fat. That’s not necessarily bad, but it means you’re supplementing carbs and fat whenever you supplement with hemp protein.
Even though a 70% hemp-protein concentrate may be similar in price to whey, you’re getting far less bio-utility from its protein, and a significant portion of your caloric intake from it is coming from fat. Again, fat isn’t necessarily bad, but when you’re looking to supplement with protein, it helps immensely to find supplements with the most protein and the least of everything else.
In this day and age, you don’t have to pretend to be into hemp. Pot is legal or decriminalized in a large portion of the United States. My recommendations are Isopure Zero-Carb (whey protein) and Olympian Labs (pea protein.) Check out those links for my flavor reviews of whey and pea protein, throw your hemp protein in the trash and start supplementing with a product that will give you the results you need.