I’m going out on a limb here. I’m guessing you might be the type of person who is busy, curious and somewhat health-conscious? You are, after all, reading an article about plant-based protein powder.
And not just any plant.
This article will serve as your comprehensive Australian hemp protein guide. You’ll learn what it is, how it’s made, the benefits and the products available to you right now.
On a personal note, I’d like to point out that I was originally deterred from hemp protein after being told it was incredibly expensive and contained only a fraction of the protein concentration compared with a traditional whey protein.
As it turns out, there’s not a huge difference in price nor protein.
Replacing an animal whey protein for a plant-based alternative has also been a decision well favoured by my stomach and overall health.
What is Hemp Protein?
Hemp protein is a product of hemp seed oil that is extracted from the seeds of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabis is an extremely fascinating and complex plant, but you need not fully understand it to explore the benefits of hemp protein.
Long story short, Cannabis has many different strains and varieties which are cultivated for many different reasons. Sometimes for clothing and production, other times ceremonial or recreational use. Some strains and varieties will get you high, some will not get you high.
Hemp and hemp protein will definitely not get you high.
If you do fancy a deeper dive into Cannabis, check out this article here.
How is Hemp protein powder made?
Hemp protein powder is made by pressing or grinding the seeds of the hemp plant. Oil is extracted from the seeds and the remaining seed meal is processed into a powder.
We would have loved to have provided some of the more intricate details of this process, as there are a number of additional steps involving the removal and separation of the seed shell to reveal a ‘cake’ that is milled.
But alas, the online details of this process are scarce.
We hope to flesh out this section once we’ve gathered the necessary information directly from the experts.
Will Hemp protein get you high?
Hemp seeds and hemp protein contain virtually no THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in Cannabis responsible for getting you ‘high’.
There wouldn’t be enough hemp protein shakes in the world to get you high.
Additionally, hemp protein is completely legal, even here in Australia. You needn’t worry about failing a drug test of any sort following consumption of hemp protein.
Why Hemp Protein – the benefits
Now we’ve ticked off the technical boxes, let’s dive into the fun stuff. Why would one consider using hemp protein?
The benefits are plentiful.
It’s a healthy alternative
There’s no denying we’re amidst a dietary revolution. Regardless of the motivation, more and more people are steering toward plant-based alternatives when it comes to nutrition. Hemp protein is vegan, void of any animal product.
It’s a (mostly) complete protein
We humans require a number of essential amino acids to function and flourish. Hemp protein actually contains all of the required amino acids. However, it’s important to note that it is very low in certain amino acids and shouldn’t be relied upon to provide a comprehensive dose. If you are lacking in certain supplements, or have any unique dietary requirements, it’s best to check in with a nutritionist. You can easily cover the amino gap by consuming more legumes or quinoa.
It’s good for the earth
If you care about the planet, and you should, hemp is a friendship you can cherish. Hemp is a crop requiring no pesticides and less water than most crops. As a protein source, it requires no animal products or production.
It’s easy to digest and good for your digestive system
The more traditional protein products you might be familiar with are loaded with animal products. For many people, the consumption results in internal distress. hemp seeds, on the other hand, actually aid with the digestion process.
It’s a great source of fibre, unsaturated fats, minerals and antioxidants
Hemp contains both soluble and insoluble fibres which help produce digestive bacteria encouraging a healthier overall digestive system. Hemp seeds themselves are also rich in unsaturated fats and minerals, much of which has been reported to exist in the extracted powder.
It’s an immune system and energy level booster
Thanks to healthy proteins and fatty acids, consuming hemp protein can increase your energy levels and blood plasma health. Swapping out a coffee for a hemp protein shake is an ideal way to replace a short term fix with a healthy, slow energy releasing alternative.
All scientifically proven benefits and lab tests aside, hemp is cool. The plant itself has an incredibly rich and complex history intertwined with the history of humankind. All parts of the plant have been used amongst many cultures for manufacturing, healing and recreation for millennia. Just think, you’re consuming the same ancient species of plant your ancestors used within their lives, diets and rituals tens of thousands of years ago.
Hemp Protein Versus Other Proteins
If the benefits above have tickled your interest and you’re now considering getting your mitts on some hemp protein, we’ve listed and reviewed some of your Australian options below.
Before we dive into the reviews, it’s worth discussing whether or not hemp protein is the most suitable option for you.
There are many possible motivations for seeking out a plant-based protein powder alternative. For some, avoiding animal-based products is a conscious, environmental and/or sustainability-focused decision. While for others, it’s a necessity of health.
There are many scientifically proven benefits associated with diets high in plant protein.
If you are considering making the switch to a plant-based protein, it’s important to note that animal protein sources are more abundant in certain nutrients and include a complete protein profile lacking in plant-based alternatives.
Assuming you are interested in a plant-based protein alternative, it’s also important to note that you do have a few different options including pea, pumpkin seed, soy, brown rice, just to name a few. All of these plant proteins have different profiles. If you’re interested, this article here covers some of the key differences.
Why do we love hemp protein so much?
While it is less protein-dense than say your pea alternative, hemp protein is unique because it offers an abundant supply of essential fatty acids.
What should you look for in a Hemp protein?
A short ingredient list
Hemp protein powder only need contain a single ingredient – hemp seed, or hemp seed powder. Be wary of protein powder with any additional ingredients.
Sourced from non-GMO, non-pesticide, organic Hemp Seeds
Hemp grows abundantly and creates its own naturally occurring repellent, so there should be no need for genetic modification or pesticide treatment.
No additional artificial sweeteners or preservatives
If you’re used to protein powders containing artificial flavours and sweeteners, then hemp might not be as smooth on the palate. Regardless, it’s important you don’t pay too much attention to the immediate taste, or reviews about taste. Unless you are absolutely desperate for a sweetener, and can’t add in your own healthy ingredients to improve the taste, avoid any hemp proteins with additional sweeteners or preservatives.
Quality sourcing of hemp seeds
Locally, ethically, correctly grown and cold-pressed hemp seeds are your best bet. Check the website of the company you are purchasing from. If they aren’t sharing information about the source of the hemp seeds, it’s worth enquiring. While there may be nothing wrong with protein made from imported seeds, it’s hard to validate this.
From our somewhat limited research, there’s really no reason for you to be paying more than $60 AUD / Kg for Hemp protein. As popularity and demand grows, you can expect prices to drop. If prices are getting far above this, you’re likely being ripped off.
Australia’s best Hemp protein – Hemp protein reviews
To create a comprehensive quality comparison of hemp protein products, a lab test of composition and quality of protein would be required, which we won’t be taking on.
We’re currently in the process of reaching out to some of the more reputable and popular Australian companies selling hemp protein powder to ask them a little about their protein and hemp seed sourcing. From the available online information, we’ve created the comparison table below.
Please note, this comparison is very limited. There are many other Hemp protein options available in Australia, and we’ve only discussed the available online information. Price, seed source and protein concentration.
You might also consider the packaging, more detailed information about the source of hemp seeds, process of shelling and pressing, along with many other variables.
HEMPLE Raw 50% Protein
Price (Kg): $76
Seeds: Australian Shelled, source unknown
Serving size: 30g
Protein per serve: 16g
THE CANNABIS COMPANY Hemp Protein
Price (Kg): $54
Seeds: Not confirmed online
Serving size: 25g
Protein per serve: 12.8g
BULK NUTRIENTS Hemp Protein
Price (Kg): $45
Seeds: Packed locally (Tasmania), source unknown
Serving size: 30g
Protein per serve: 15g
THE SOURCE BULK FOODS Organic Hemp Protein
Price (Kg): $76
Seeds: Source unknown. Online confirmed organic
Serving size 28g
What we would recommend, is sourcing your hemp protein-based on quality and origin of hemp seeds over taste. You’re going to be far better off buying quality hemp protein and then adding in your own ingredients to improve the taste, opposed to buying a more expensive plant-based protein that’s been artificially sweetened to taste good. Don’t fall for clever marketing tactics or reviews.
If you’ve made or are making the transition to a more plant-based diet, it’s also important to do your own research and potentially check in with a nutritionist to ensure you aren’t going to miss any essentials from your diet.