Reviews Of The Best Hemp Protein Powder For Building Muscle
Whatever your reasons for choosing hemp protein powder over more traditional powders like whey, you can rest assured that it can be a very robust option that can help you reach your protein intake goals.
Hemp is a very digestible protein, and has a great amino acid profile. As you might know, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about plant-based proteins not being complete, or not being as good for building muscle.
Quick reminder: if you eat enough foods and have at least some variety throughout the day (and week, even), you basically shouldn’t worry about any idea of “incomplete” proteins.
Hemp protein has all of the essential amino acids (including good amounts of BCAAs), although the amounts are lower almost across the board when compared to whey, for example.
All that to say – if you have a balanced diet, supplementing with hemp protein powder will help you maintain and build muscle.
Top 3 Hemp Protein Powder Brand Ratings
What Are The Benefits Of Hemp Protein?
Obviously it’s plant-based, so if you’re looking for a non-meat, non-dairy, and even non-soy protein option, hemp can be a winner.
On a more general scale, you’re winning with a protein supplement if it helps you hit your protein intake goals. Protein is basically THE important building block of most of the body, and is directly responsible for muscle repair and growth. So, if you’re not reaching your protein intake goals with whole food alone, a supplement can help keep you reaching your goals.
Hemp seed also has a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help improve heart health in certain cases, lower inflammation, and other health problems.
Hemp protein supplements typically have high levels of fiber, which helps with digestive health including lower the risk of hemorrhoids, diarrhea, and diverticulosis.
Reviewing The Best Hemp Protein Powders
While you can reap a lot of benefits from using hemp protein powder, it’s the same as with any other product on the market – some choices are better than others.
You’ve got to balance the actual protein and nutritional content with cost per serving, taste and mixability, whether it’s organic, etc.
We found 3 hemp protein powders that stand out above the rest, and each one excels in slightly different ways. Below, you’ll find our reviews of our top 3 picks, which will allow you to choose based on your needs, while not having to spend hours researching the dozens of other (typically inferior) products on the market.
#1. ONNIT Hemp FORCE Protein with Açaí Berry & Chia (EDITOR’S CHOICE)
ONNIT has made a name for themselves when it comes to high performance products and total human optimization.
What started as an idea to cure hangovers eventually morphed into Alpha Brain, their incredibly popular nootropic formula that enhances mental cognition (with the scientific studies to prove it).
So when we looked into their protein offerings, we had high hopes that they would continue their dominance in the high performance athletics field. Sure enough, they didn’t disappoint.
This protein is probably a bit better than their Hemp FORCE Active formula, and is the basis for what they’re calling Hemp FORCE 2.0.
One serving of this stuff has 15 grams of protein and a huge 212 calories. That’s more than 2x more calories than some competitors with similar amounts of protein.
Now, this can be a good or bad things depending on your goals, but it’s worth noting.
This is sweetened with Stevia, which is usually a pretty good idea compared to other sugar substitutes, and a serving has only 2g of sugar. It’s got a good amount of Omega fatty acids, and importantly people seem to love the flavor of the açaí berry and vanilla they’ve created.
It’s a really good, really natural protein with a LOT of good stuff in it which rounds out the nutrient profile nicely, when compared to competitors who include only hemp in their formula.
If you just want the hemp with nothing added (even natural goodness), then don’t pick this.
But if you like a more rounded product, definitely a good choice.
Although most people love the taste (honestly, it’s insanely popular), a few do find that they can’t stomach what they call a “Stevia aftertaste”.
If you do end up choosing the Hemp FORCE Active instead of the Açaí Berry & Chia, you may also dislike the bits of hemp that are not actually powdered, which won’t mix nicely into your smoothie, and will be particularly noticeable if you’re preparing in milk or water.
And then there’s the biggy.
This stuff is very expensive compared to pretty much everything else on the market. And it seems even worse when you realize that you only get 10 servings in one container.
So when you’re buying 3 of these every month, it’s going to add up to almost $150.
It does have more ingredients than it’s competitors, they are high quality ingredients, and it is a heck of a concoction.
Not only that, but ONNIT sells a lifestyle, they have really amazing products across the line, and they’re helping to change the world by optimizing human performance.
So, I know the price will immediately turn some away (keep reading, there are cheaper options), but for those of you who expect nothing but the best, we highly recommend this hemp protein from ONNIT (also, choose subscribe and get it delivered every couple of weeks to make sure you don’t run out of the small container, and to save a few bucks).
>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<
#2. Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein
Unlike the insane, yet delicious and effective, concoction ONNIT came up with, Nutiva puts out a much simpler product.
For the two unflavored options they give, it’s just hemp.
Straight up organic hemp protein.
It also comes in chocolate and vanilla, and to get a decent taste they do a few things, but every ingredient is organic, including (in the vanilla one, for example): coconut sugar, tapioca, inulin (sunchoke), vanilla flavor, and stevia.
Now, you may want the flavored one, as one of the big complaints about the plain, unflavored one is that it actually tastes and smells bad, and isn’t great in smoothies.
Obviously each person will have a different idea of how bad it really tastes, and how much they care, but this is going to be a trade off between a better flavor and getting more protein.
The flavored options only have 10g of protein per 30g service (3 scoops), but the unflavored options have 15g, which is significantly more.
You’ll also get more fiber. The flavored ones have 5g per serving, whereas the normal unflavored has 8g and the “Hi-Fiber” version has 12g/serving.
I’d suggest getting a small jug of the unflavored stuff first to see if you can stomach it (it’s not THAT bad), and if you can, stick with the unflavored stuff and just make a shake with some other flavors if you want to spice things up.
Also note that while it does show more sugar than you might expect, it is organic coconut sugar, which is lower on the glycemic index than normal “table sugar” by a fair amount, thanks to having inulin, which may slow glucose absorption.
If you’re looking for something incredibly basic with a decent amount of protein and fiber, the unflavored version of this Nutiva protein powder is a great choice, and priced really well.
>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<
#3. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro Hemp Protein
We really like the simple profile of the Manitoba Harvest offerings, and the fact that they offer a few really good options depending on what you’re after.
You can’t really go wrong with any of them, whether you’re using the normal Pro Fiber (which is organic), or the Pro 50 or Pro 70, which are not labelled organic, but pack a higher protein content.
Quickly on each type: Pro Fiber is the organic option in this line up, but only contains 11g of protein per serving. On the other hand, it has an incredibly high 13g of fiber. And like most of their products, it’s just straight up hemp protein (raw and cold-milled in this case).
Pro 50 is also just raw, cold-milled hemp protein, but not labelled organic. However, it has 15g of protein and a decent 7g of fiber.
Pro 70 is the most concentrated form, giving you 20g of protein per serving but zero fiber. It uses hemp protein concentrate and natural plant extracts, rather than the raw, cold-milled hemp of the other two options. This is one of the only hemp proteins on the market that is actually water soluble, which means you don’t need to blend a shake to enjoy it.
So obviously these differ quite a bit, but it’s really good stuff and depending on what you need, you’ll be able to find something to suit you.
With the Pro 50 and Pro Fiber, you’re going to want to either blend them in a shake, or we really like the suggestion to stir it into yogurt or hot cereal. Thanks to the variety and the fact that taste and “mixability” is better than many brands, this is a great option for a basic, hemp-only protein powder.
>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<
What To Look For And How To Use
This is actually a tough one, because there are a variety of reasons why people are choosing hemp protein powders, and your “why” will dictate what you should be looking for.
Do you want an organic option? Make sure the ingredients are organic.
Do you want max protein? Go with a hemp concentrate option.
Do you want insane amounts of fiber? Check out one of the fiber-intensive brands.
There are surprisingly a lot of options in this niche, which just goes to show how mainstream it is becoming as people start to understand the benefits of plant proteins and eating at least majority plant-based diets.
Since many of these particular powders (except for the one Manitoba Farms option) are whole food based and not completely ground down to 100% powdered status, you’re going to probably enjoy these more if you’re blending them for a shake, or including some in baking or your breakfast (yogurt or oatmeal, for example).
Best Of The Best (And Best Tasting)
If price is no issue, we love the ingredients and taste of ONNIT’s hemp protein. Just make sure to buy a few at once, or sign up for their subscribe and save to get regular deliveries so you don’t run out.
Best Bang For Buck
There are two good options here to get the best bang for your buck, which are the largest size of Manitoba Harvest Pro50 you can handle, and the largest size of the Nutiva Hi-Fiber you can handle. It depends on who is selling it, and where you buy them. We found the lowest prices on Amazon, as compared to their actual company websites.
Is hemp protein powder gluten free?
Hemp itself is 100% gluten free.
However, you won’t find many (any?) hemp products that are certified gluten free, because, as Manitoba Harvest says, “Hemp seed naturally does not contain gluten. However, only one barley or wheat kernel amongst 50,000 hemp seed can potentially result in a positive test for gluten.”
And one kernel can accidentally wind up in the hemp in a number of steps in the process.
You can almost be sure that there is no gluten in these products, but some people have to be 100% sure before they’ll buy, so it’s up to your discretion.
If you have been tested and do indeed have celiac disease, we understand that even a trace amount of gluten can do damage to your intestines and be a negative experience.
However, for the many more people who for some reason believe gluten is inherently bad, or who have self-diagnosed as “gluten intolerant”, but who may actually just be allergic to wheat or need to eat better in general, hemp protein should be rather a safe option.
Are there any side effects?
If you’re on anticoagulants, you may not want to take hemp protein. It’s high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase bleeding time and have negative side effects.
It’s got loads of fiber, so you may find your digestion kicks into overdrive, which may cause you to be heading to the bathroom more frequently.
How much should I take?
This depends on your diet goals! Make sure you understand the nutrition facts of the protein and how that fits into what you’re trying to achieve.
It’s got a high level of fiber, which you also need to take into account. These products typically have less protein than whey or other animal based proteins, so you may find that if you’re trying to achieve a high amount of protein consumption, you’ll be having more than one serving per day. That should be fine, but will also increase your overall cost.