Hemp protein is a plant-based protein that’s derived from the cannabis sativa plant.
It’s rich in many amino acids and is vegan and vegetarian-friendly while also being very high in fiber and very low in sugar.
It’s a great way to combine fiber and protein together, making it excellent for people looking to lose weight. Its amino acid makeup makes it well-suited for improving cognitive performance as well.
Looking to bring your weight down and your brain power up? We’ve ranked the ten best sources of hemp protein powder on the market.
1. Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Pro Fiber
Manitoba Harvest is a highly regarded grower and manufacturer of Canadian-grown hemp products. Their hemp protein powder is a great choice thanks to its organic certification and careful manufacturing process.
Manitoba Harvest goes the extra mile with their products: their hemp protein is derived only from cold-milled seeds and is produced with 100% wind energy, so it’s not just good for you; it’s good for the planet too.
2. Terrasoul Superfoods Hemp Protein Powder
Terrasoul Superfoods makes an organic hemp protein powder that comes in a resealable bag that is well-regarded by its users.
It’s available in multiple sizes, ranging from one to four pounds. It’s a great bulk buy if you know you’ll go through a lot of hemp protein on a regular basis.
3. LeanHemp Protein Powder
Lean Hemp is one of the few hemp protein powder manufacturers that offers flavored varieties of their protein. Some people find the nutty, mildly astringent taste of hemp protein a bit of a turn-off, and LeanHemp offers a good solution.
By using coconut sugar, maca root powder, and cocoa powder, LeanHemp comes up with a great-tasting supplement that delivers all of the benefits of hemp protein powder in a more palatable solution.
The only downside is that the coconut sugar does drive up the carbohydrate content—with eight grams of sugar per 20 grams of protein, it’s not the best choice for a low-carb or keto diet.
4. Nutiva Hemp Protein
Nutiva makes a Canadian-grown, certified organic hemp protein powder that’s highly pure and has no extraneous ingredients.
It’s a very good choice if you are strict about your hemp protein purity and want something that’s certified organic. The resealable bag is a little more difficult to use than a plastic tub, but that’s about the only drawback with this hemp protein powder.
5. Sunfood Superfoods Raw Organic Hemp Protein
Thanks to careful processing, this certified organic hemp protein powder is high in protein content and moderate in fiber content.
Sunfood Superfoods is another company that goes out of its way to ensure that its raw materials are grown and sourced in a sustainable and ethical manner, so if that’s important to you, it’s a fantastic choice. However, it does contain only 8 ounces per package, so high-volume users need not apply.
6. Just Hemp Foods 50% hemp protein powder
Just Hemp Foods makes a Canadian-grown, certified gluten-free hemp protein powder that comes in a convenient plastic tub.
It’s a solid source of hemp protein, though the lack of an organic certification might be a disappointment to some people.
7. Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein
Bob’s Red Mill is known for its exceptional care in sourcing and processing its ingredients so that no allergenic cross-contamination occurs.
This hemp protein powder is a good choice if you want to make sure nothing other than hemp seeds gets into your protein powder, though it is not certified organic like some of the other competitors on the market.
The 16 ounce size is also a drawback for people who go through a lot of hemp protein.
8. Nature’s Way EfaGold Hemp Protein & Fiber
Nature’s Way, better known for its more mainstream supplement options, ventures into the hemp protein market with an organic and unflavored hemp protein powder that’s conspicuously high in its fiber content.
This is likely a result of its hemp seed source or its processing procedures. Regardless, it’s a decent choice if you want high fiber content, but a poor choice if you are primarily looking for protein content.
9. Evo Hemp Protein Powder
Evo Hemp is a fairly new American brand of hemp seed protein, and while its hemp (like all others on this list) is non-GMO, it isn’t certified organic.
Further, users find that this hemp protein powder is difficult to mix up into a shake or smoothie, likely because the hemp powder isn’t quite the right size.
10. Foods Alive Hemp Protein
Foods Alive uses certified organic hemp seeds in the manufacture of its hemp protein powder. It’s a fairly high quality hemp protein powder, though the small size is a major drawback.
Unless you don’t use much hemp protein powder, you’ll likely be happier with a hemp protein powder that comes in a larger size.
Hemp protein powder benefits and side effects
Hemp protein powder offers cognitive and weight loss benefits thanks to its high fiber content, amino acid profile, and naturally low sugar content.
It’s a great way to combine the fitness benefits of plant-based protein with the overall health benefits of a high fiber diet without the need to resort to a dedicated fiber supplement.
Hemp protein powder is a little different from your standard plant-based protein powder. It’s not the purest source of protein in terms of concentration—a typical hemp protein powder is only 50% protein by weight, compared to whey protein, which is more like 80% protein by weight.
However, hemp protein offers the advantage of being high in omega 3 fatty acids, as well as very high in dietary fiber. The precise fiber content depends on the processing method used, but some hemp protein powders can have equal amounts of protein and dietary fiber.
This gives hemp protein some distinct advantages when it comes to the potential benefits to your health and well-being.
Hemp protein’s fiber content can boost your weight loss. Protein and fiber are two of your most powerful tools when it comes to weight loss, and hemp combines both in one.
With regards to protein intake, multiple large studies have concluded that increased protein intake is an effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
A paper published in the journal Nutrition Reviews by researchers at Tufts University examined the effects of various dietary fiber intake levels on weight gain and obesity (1).
The researchers concluded that increasing fiber intake by at least 14 grams per day could be one of the most significant population-wide interventions to decrease the rate of obesity.
According to the authors, dietary fiber has a strong tendency to decrease your energy intake at subsequent meals, because it increases feelings of satiety, or fullness.
The high protein content and low sugar content in hemp protein powder helps you lose more weight. Emerging research suggests that keeping the protein content of your diet high is critical for success when it comes to weight loss.
Systematic review article published in 2016 found that older adults with at least 25% of their daily calories coming from protein lost more fat mass and retained more lean body mass when compared to adults who did not meet these protein intake levels (2).
Protein promotes satiety just like dietary fiber does, but protein also has the added benefit of increasing your body’s energy expenditure through a process called thermogenesis. After consuming protein, your body’s metabolism is turned up a notch, and as a result, you burn more calories, even at rest.
Given that hemp protein combines high levels of both fiber and protein, it’s one of the best protein powder supplements for weight loss.
Hemp protein in the morning can boost your cognitive performance. While a high-protein breakfast isn’t the most high-tech nootropic supplement strategy out there, it’s undeniably an effective one.
Hemp protein is high in an amino acid called tyrosine, which has been found to boost mental performance in high-stress situations.
Research on military cadets in the Netherlands found that a protein supplement high in tyrosine was able to boost memory during the course of a high-stress week of combat training (3).
Protein intake in the morning has also been connected to better cognitive performance in students. Research out of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland found that a breakfast with a high protein content resulted in superior cognitive performance in students compared to a breakfast that is rich in carbohydrates (4).
This suggests that taking a high-protein supplement like hemp protein powder in the morning is a great way to keep your cognitive functioning strong throughout the day.
As with other protein powders, hemp protein is exceptionally safe. Studies on elite athletes have found that even tremendously high protein consumption (nearly three grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day) has no negative effects on your body (5).
In the case of hemp, concerns about the psychoactive compound THC (which is responsible for the high that comes along with marijuana, another product of the cannabis sativa plant) are unfounded. The strains of cannabis that are grown for hemp production have very small to nonexistent levels of THC.
One study found that even before processing, hemp seeds have less than 12 micrograms of THC per gram of raw seed material (6). That’s about 0.001% by weight.
There’s no way it would be physically possible to consume enough hemp protein powder to experience any biological effects from THC, much less a high.
The THC content is also low enough that even large, regular consumption levels are not going to result in a failed drug test, according to scientific research published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology (7).
If you are aiming for weight loss, research suggests that you should increase your fiber consumption by at least 14 grams per day—and something closer to 20 or 30 would be better.
Conveniently, this is about the right amount of protein you should consume if you are aiming to drop fat and maintain lean body mass.
Given that the best hemp protein supplements offer protein and fiber in a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio, you'll want to take somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 60 grams of hemp protein every day for optimal results.
Since the fiber and protein work together to decrease your satiety, it’s best to take hemp protein powder in the morning, and possibly again about 15-20 minutes before lunch or dinner.
Athletes in training who want to fuel up should shoot for between 1.2 and 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day if they are training for endurance events, while strength and power athletes need more along the lines of 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day (8).
For large athletes, these protein intakes might get a bit unwieldy using hemp protein alone, so consider using another vegan protein powder as well if you need tremendously high daily protein intake: the high fiber content might make it difficult to get in enough calories in the rest of your diet to hit your fitness goals.
Hemp protein is unique in its ability to provide both protein and fiber in a high dose without a high sugar or refined carbohydrate content.
It’s great for weight loss, since the fiber and protein content both independently contribute to its ability to decrease feelings of hunger and increase your overall energy expenditure.
In addition, the amino acid makeup of hemp protein helps it boost your cognitive function, especially when you take it in the morning.
Since the weight loss benefits of hemp protein are also optimized when you consume it early in the day, starting your day with a hemp protein shake is a great way to capitalize on all the advantages of this protein supplement.