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The benefits of hemp protein v. whey protein

May 30th, 2013 2 Comments

As someone who is constantly moving these days, I find it hard to sit for more than one meal a day.  Fruits and veggies are easy to take with me; sources of protein, not so much.  I can’t tell you how many hard-boiled eggs cracked in my purse before I realized I should put them in a plastic bag….I know, I know, it’s silly….In NYC, hard boiled eggs have actually become a new trend and high-margin item for the coffee/bagel street venders, so I can grab a couple for $1/an egg and be done with it.

Of course an easy option is a protein shake so I get greens, fruit, and protein all in one shot.  The question is: what kind of protein do I use?  Hilary, my nutritionist in Atlanta, argues whey is the only true complete protein.  However, after some consideration and research, I’ve been giving hemp a shot.

According to several credible sources, hemp is one of the best sources of protein.  It proves to be “complete” because it contains ALL of the essential amino acids we need as well as other nutrients not present in our bodies.   Made up of edestin and albumin (the latter resembles the protein in egg whites), the protein is easily absorbed and assimilated (which makes it a great choice for post-workout consumption to help your muscles recover).  Also contained in those little canibus seeds: calcium, iron, vitamins C, E, B1, B2, and carotene.  Finally, hemp also has fiber!

Generally, whey and soy protein powders contain more protein per scoop, but they are both heavily processed and difficult for the body to digest.  Neither contain vitamins and minerals unless they are added.  As a dairy product, whey can be high in saturated fats; hemp is not.  The fatty acids in hemp actually aid in the absorption of the vitamins and minerals.  Soy protein contains inhibitors to absorption (and I flat out just don’t eat any processed soy products with the exception of some occasional soy sauce).

Now, which hemp protein powders should we use?  Good question!  I’ve been loving Vega One “Natural” flavor protein, but it’s not all hemp and it’s a little too sweet for me.  An all hemp protein can be difficult to find. I can’t stand the Garden of Living Raw Protein, but from a “natural” standpoint it seems to be the best.  Click here for an extensive discussion for EVERY vegan protein powder that’s on the market.  I want to sample them all first and then asses my options based on what I can stomach.  I will say I think having a Vitamix blender helps in this process.  That thing makes every smoothie so, well, smooth, a little banana is all you need to conceal the taste of protein.

If you’re still want to go your own whey (pun intended), Hilary suggests Whole Food’s 365 vanilla or chocolate protein powder, a Think Thin bar, or one of these new Swanson organic protein shakes.


  • 15 to 20 grams per serving/scoop/pouch
  • source of sweetness and carbs (less is more! you can add sweetness with fruit)
  • source of fat (should be a “good” fat/oil)
  • additives (less is more! except when we’re talking vitamins)


Here is a quick guide to the favorites from the blogger with the extensive review list.  Maybe we can start here on our mission.  If you find one you love, please leave it in the comments below!

Resources: NaturalHealth365, Livestrong, HealthyEating, ChoosingRaw)

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  • Amy

    Vanilla Plant Fusion is the BEST! And it’s vegan, no soy, no allergens, etc. Personally I think it’s better than Sun Warrior and Perfect Fit (which taste very similar), but those are good too.