Hemp Protein vs. Whey Protein – What’s the Difference?

Hemp protein vs whey protein is a common argument when it comes to choosing a protein powder. Both can help in weight loss and muscle building, but whey tends to have higher protein content than hemp.

Whey protein is derived from milk while hemp protein is extracted from hemp seeds. Between the two, hemp protein is the choice of vegans. However, it can’t outweigh whey when it comes to protein levels.

Here, we will take a look at the differences between these two as well as their individual benefits.

Plant-based vs. dairy protein

There’s so much fuss about which is better between a plant-based and dairy protein.

Plant-based protein, as it’s called, is derived from plant sources like pea, soy, and hemp. This is beneficial, especially for vegans and vegetarians. Also, if you’re just looking for a humble level of protein, plant-based types like hemp will do.

The bigger advantage with plant-based protein is it doesn’t contain lactose. Unlike whey that’s derived from the production of cheese, hemp protein can be taken by just about anyone.

However, here’s the catch with plant-based protein: it’s harder to digest. Also, the likes of soy can trigger allergies.

For those who need a post-workout regimen, hemp protein might not be a good choice. Still, we’re not discounting that this plant-based protein powder is very high in quality.

When it comes to dairy, the biggest selling factor is its high protein content and fast-digesting nature. It’s ideal as a post-workout regimen.

The only downside to dairy-based protein is it doesn’t contain the same nutritional profile of plant-based versions. Nevertheless, both have benefits of hemp protein powder vs whey to one’s health if used properly.

Here, Dr. Jim Stoppani discusses the difference between plant-based and dairy-based proteins:

Background of whey protein

Whey protein is a dairy-based powder that’s been separated from casein during the process of curdling milk. Mostly, the milk comes from cows which could be grass-fed or treated with hormones or antibiotics.

Whey protein usually comes in two major types in the market: isolate and concentrate.

Whey isolates, specifically, have the highest protein content of as much as 90%. Unlike concentrates, isolates have a cleaner formula since it’s stripped of any kind of fillers. Also, isolates are usually low in carbs, fats, lactose, and other non-protein substances.

Also, isolates have the highest absorption rate which is why it’s preferred by most bodybuilders. When it comes to weight loss, there are whey isolate formulas infused with vitamins and minerals that make a powerful fitness regimen.

Aside from this, whey protein provides a complete set of amino acids that are crucial in making more muscles and maintaining the overall health of our bodies.

Moreover, whey contains branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs that help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. And since this type of protein is usually low in calories, fats, and, carbs, it’s very easy to incorporate it in almost any high-protein diet. It’s the big edge of whey in the hemp protein vs whey protein comparison.

Here’s a fun video about whey protein:

Benefits of whey protein

Whey protein has tons of benefits ranging from muscle growth to aiding Type 2 Diabetes.

The major benefit of using whey is it contains high-quality protein. No other protein source can beat the quality of amino acids found in whey protein powders.

Also, whey may have the ability to lower blood pressure and aid the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

For those who are working out, whey protein can help in reducing inflammation, especially if taken as a post-workout snack. It’s also effective in boosting the antioxidant defenses of your body.

The biggest benefit, if you’re trying to lose weight, is that whey protein is highly filling without packing up too many calories. Also, it cuts your tendency to lose muscle mass while trying to shed your extra pounds.

Potential side effects of whey protein

As much as whey isolates are beneficial, you should always take it properly to avoid any side effects. The major concern here is that whey isolates have very high protein content. If you overindulge, you may experience kidney and liver issues.

For some, they experience bloating, cramps, nausea, and increased bowel movements. Most of these can be prevented if you take whey protein at the right time and with the right amount.

Moreover, since whey is derived from milk, it can still contain traces of lactose. Some manufacturers are able to eradicate most of this while there are some that will have higher levels of lactose.

Lastly, pregnant women and lactating mothers are advised not to take whey protein unless supervised by their physicians.

Pros and cons of whey protein

The major advantage of whey is its high protein content. It builds muscles and aids weight loss. However, this same thing can be a disadvantage for some. Not everyone can do well on high-protein diets.

Another point here is that whey isolate has a clean formula. It’s free of most non-protein substances plus it’s very convenient to prepare. Most whey isolate products nowadays can be mixed with fluids so you can drink it on the go.

Also, there are many flavored whey protein products in the market which gives users more options in terms of palatability of hemp protein vs whey protein.

The only thing you have to check is whether your choice of commercial whey protein contains artificial sweeteners, flavoring, and preservatives. And even if it’s a dairy-based protein, some products are mixed with soy lecithin that can trigger allergic reactions to some users.

Background of hemp protein

Hemp protein, on the other hand, is derived from hemp seeds. It’s dubbed as the best plant-based protein and is often compared to the protein quality found in eggs.

And like whey, hemp contains a complete set of amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids that the body can’t release on its own. However, studies found that hemp protein is low in Lysine, an essential amino acid.

As compared to whey, hemp has lower protein content. A 30-gram serving will only contain 15 grams of protein whereas whey may contain as much as 25 grams in the same serving.

This is even lower than what soy and pea protein contains. Still, if you’re looking for a plant-based protein that’s less processed, hemp is an unbeatable choice.

And among plant-based proteins, hemp is the easiest to digest. Take note, though, that hemp protein’s digestibility is largely affected by heat processing it usually undergoes.

This is the same reason why cold-pressed hemp is the common choice among vegan bodybuilders. And aside from the protein content of hemp, it also boasts high levels of fiber, unsaturated fats, minerals, and antioxidants.

But unlike the benefits of hemp protein powder vs whey, hemp protein has a more Earthy taste and not the decadent flavors that the former has. Many enjoy this taste but there are also some who find it strong and less palatable.

Here, nutritionist Jessica Valiant gives us some points about hemp protein powders:

Benefits of hemp protein

Hemp protein has a host of benefits that support weight loss, muscle growth, and maintaining a certain diet.

First, hemp protein contains the so-called globular proteins: edestin and albumin. Both of these are precursors of our body’s enzymes, antibodies, and hormones.

Since hemp protein has a complete amino acid profile, it directly helps in muscle reparation. It also has an edge over whey since hemp has rarely induced allergic reactions among its users.

With hemp protein, you’re not just building muscles, you’re packing up on lean muscles, thanks to its BCAA contents. This is the same benefit you’ll get from whey protein.

As a form of protein, hemp can also satiate you in the same manner as whey does. It’s also believed that hemp can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The fiber content of hemp protein also helps cleanse the colon which will aid your weight loss efforts. With this, your body can easily absorb nutrients you ingest from food.

Another benefit you’ll get from hemp protein that you can’t find on whey is unsaturated fat. This makes hemp protein as keto-friendly as whey isolate.

Potential side effects of hemp protein

Hemp protein is not one without some potential side effects in this hemp protein vs whey protein comparison. One of the common complaints of users is the possible gastrointestinal distressed caused by ingesting hemp protein powders.

Still, this issue is usually mild and will go away as you use the hemp protein powder continuously. This is due to the fact that hemp protein contains high levels of fiber. But if you have a lingering intestinal condition, it’s best to stir clear of hemp protein.

Since hemp protein came from the hemp plant, it will still contain traces of the psychoactive THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Nevertheless, if you ingest hemp protein in small amounts per day, it shouldn’t interfere with your drug tests.

If you have medical conditions, always ask the clearance of your doctor before taking hemp protein powders.

Pros and cons of hemp protein

Hemp protein is a nutritious choice since it’s also packed with fiber and various vitamins and minerals. The only downside here is that hemp protein isn’t as convenient as whey. You can’t dissolve this in water and drink it as it is. Unless you can bear the taste, you have to cook hemp protein on your meals.

Still, hemp protein is a great source of amino acids. The only thing you have to watch out for is the possibility of extra calories and slow digestibility of heat-processed products.

Also, if you’re suffering from lactose intolerance and allergy to soy, hemp protein is your safe bet. However, you should always remember that hemp has lower levels of protein than whey. It may not be the perfect choice if you’re trying to gain lots of muscles in just a short period of time.

If you’re looking for a post-workout protein source, you’re better off with whey. Hemp protein is best taken all throughout the day or before you go to sleep due to its slow digestibility.

Which is healthier?

Both whey and hemp are healthy sources of protein. It all boils down to the preference of the person using it. If you want high protein content with a no-fuss formula, whey is the protein to go. But if you want an infusion of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, you can never go wrong with hemp protein.

Also, the healthiness of these protein sources will vary depending on your health condition. For those with lactose intolerance, the healthy choice would be hemp while it’s the other way around for those who have gastrointestinal issues.

But if your ultimate goal is to come up with a high-protein diet for muscle-building, we recommend the use of whey protein instead.

Which is more effective in muscle building?

Both hemp and whey can support muscle growth. But when it comes to the amino acid profile, whey isolates have the upper hand. Its high protein content, BCAAs, and clean formula are a versatile choice across diet types.

Since whey is fast-digesting, it’s ideal in fueling your muscle recovery and growth after each workout session. Although hemp protein can also promote muscle growth, it doesn’t have the same power that the amino acids that whey possesses.

In the end, we recognize that this can be a matter of preference. Depending on your choice, diet, and routines, both hemp and whey protein will yield great results.

Which is ideal for weight loss?

Again, this will depend on the diet you’re following. If you’re a vegetarian, hemp protein is the only choice. Meanwhile, for the likes of keto, Atkins, and Paleo, whey protein is the common option due to its supreme formula and protein consistency.

Remember that no matter how much you take these supplements, consistent weight loss will only take place if you pair it with enough exercise and a healthy diet.

But if you want to lose weight and pack up with muscles, whey isolates are the ideal option.

In this hemp protein vs whey protein comparison, we can say that both has its pros and cons. You can use both for your diet but make sure that it meets your needs. Hemp is rich in protein too but it’s not as good as whey when it comes to building lean muscles.

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