The best hemp protein powder
Even if you aren't vegetarian, you may want to consider adding a hemp protein powder to your daily diet to boost your workouts or your workdays. Made from nutrient-dense hemp seeds, these protein powders pack in 13 to 20 grams of protein per serving. Unlike other protein powders, especially animal-sourced ones, hemp powders are rich in fiber, antioxidants, omega-3s and -6s, and minerals.
Of course, you want to select a protein powder that doesn't taste chalky and blends well in your smoothie. This shopping guide will help you select a hemp protein powder that's both nutritious and tasty. We've also included our top product picks at the end, including Navitas Organics' Organic Hemp Powder, which resists clumping and blends well into smoothies.
Considerations when choosing hemp protein powders
Health benefits of hemp
Hemp seeds are considered a superfood by many health experts because of their high nutritional profile. Their balanced omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio and antioxidant content makes them anti-inflammatory, which can help a whole host of conditions, from heart disease to arthritis pain to unbalanced hormones. Because hemp seeds are high in fiber but low in carbs, hemp powders can aid in weight loss while also keeping your digestive system regular.
Cold-pressed vs. refined
Hemp protein powder is made from the byproduct of processing hemp oil, which can be done in one of two ways. When the oil is extracted from the seeds at a temperature of 40°F or less, it's called "cold-pressed." When it is extracted from processing the seeds at 275°F or more, it's called "refined."
In both cases, once the oil is removed, the remaining substance is milled into powder. Powders derived from the cold-pressed process retain more nutrients and fiber than those made from the refining process.
Not all hemp powders have the same protein content. Depending on your body's needs, be sure to check the label to see how many grams of protein there are per serving. Also pay attention to the serving size. For instance, a 30-gram serving (two tablespoons) can have 10 to 20 grams of protein. Other products can boast 13 grams of protein but with a four-tablespoon serving size.
Hemp protein powders are less refined than other kinds of protein powders, which can give them a grittier texture. If you're looking for a protein powder that you can stir into plain water or juice, these powders may be too "sandy" to drink down. However, many of them blend well into a smoothie or mix smoothly into yogurt.
Like most protein powders, hemp ones come flavored and unflavored. Some popular flavors you can expect to find are chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter. Be sure to check the ingredient list if you're on a low-sugar or low-carb diet because often sugars are sneaked in to give these flavored products their yumminess.
Like all health foods, it's easy to find an organic hemp protein powder that is organic (no exposure to agrochemicals like pesticides). While not all non-GMO products are organic, all certified organic products are non-GMO.
Hexane is a synthetic solvent that releases harmful chemicals used in the refining process of some hemp oils. Since hemp protein powders are a byproduct of extracted hemp oil, you may want to look for a "hexane-free" product or select a cold-pressed powder.
Hemp protein powders range in price from $5 to $35. Expect to pay between $15 and $25 for a mid-range powder in 16- to 24-ounce packaging. You can find an organic, non-GMO powder in this range.
Q. Will consuming a hemp protein powder put me at risk for failing a drug test?
A. No. Although the hemp plant is a strain of the Cannabis sativa species, it contains trace amounts of THC, under 0.3%, which is not enough to register on a drug test. Hemp protein powders are perfectly safe, legal, and carry no mind-altering effects.
Q. Do hemp protein powders ever go bad?
A. Yes. Hemp protein powders can go rancid, which is why you should pay attention to the expiration date on the packaging. A sign of spoilage is if the powder has turned pale or smells funky.
Hemp protein powders we recommend
Best of the best: Navitas Organics' Organic Hemp Protein Powder
Our take: A fine, high-quality hemp protein powder that resists clumping and is 100% organic.
What we like: Made from a trusted brand known for high-quality, organic ingredients. Cold-pressed. Blends well into smoothies. Aids in digestion for a number of consumers.
What we dislike: No flavored powders offered, and nutty taste is strong for some.
Best bang for your buck: Nutiva's Organic Hemp Protein Powder
Our take: Another high-quality, organic hemp powder boasting a high protein content.
What we like: Offers 15 grams of protein per serving. Good value. High fiber will keep you full for hours. Mild flavor.
What we dislike: Texture is pretty gritty.
Our take: An affordable organic hemp protein powder with extra fiber.
What we like: Has 13 grams of fiber per serving. Smooth powder isn't too chalky. Gentle on the stomach.
What we dislike: Each serving size is four tablespoons, double the amount of other brands.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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