If you are vegan and looking to build muscle, meat is not the only element of the traditional bodybuilder’s diet that you will have to forgo. Milk-based protein powder is sometimes the only type available in stores. Of course, this is also a problem for those who are allergic or lactose intolerant, that’s where hemp vs pea protein comes in.
Luckily, alternative vegan protein powders have also become prominent in the health sphere, with the leading base ingredients being hemp and pea. Which one of these is better, though?
In this article, we will compare the price, nutritional value, taste, and amino acid content, as well as other pros and cons of these two to help you decide. So just keep reading to find out which one is best for you and your needs.
Why Choose Hemp or Pea Proteins?
These protein types are plant-based proteins, so those who do not want to use animal-based proteins will be a good option. These people include the vegans out there as well as vegetarians who try to avoid animal-based proteins as far as they can.
It is also true that most people will turn to whey protein to supplement their overall protein intake on a daily basis. But those people who are lactose intolerant will not be able to use whey protein; therefore, they will need these plant-based proteins.
Even though many different types of plant-based protein are available, these two are the most popular protein types. Hemp protein and pea protein are good options for those following a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant.
That is why it is essential to know what these two plant-based proteins are about and how they can benefit your diet plan. It is also important that when you buy protein powder that you compare the ingredients before you decide on the best one for your needs.
Many of these protein powders are mixed products, and the manufacturer does not disclose the percentage of the mixture on the label. This means you will not know what and how much you get in your protein powder.
It is essential that the label provides transparency of the contents of the product so you can safely use it.
What Is Pea Protein?
Before we compare these types of plant proteins, let’s have a closer look at them so we can really decide about them. When you consider using any type of protein, whether it be plant-based or animal-based, you want your protein to be a complete protein.
This simply means that the protein must contain reasonable amounts of the 9 essential amino acids you will need from it. There is an ongoing debate that pea protein is not a complete protein because of the low content of the amino acid, methionine.
This may be a reason why some athletes do not consider pea protein as part of their daily protein intake. Pea protein, on the other hand, contains more protein in general than most other plant-based protein powders, so they can be used for certain diets.
Pea protein also has basically the same protein content that can be found in whey protein powder, making it an effective protein supplement.
What Is Hemp Protein?
The hemp protein powder that comes from the hemp plant is leftover after the oil has been extracted from the plant seeds. The leftover of this cannabis plant makes a fine, highly nutritious powder that is rich in fiber as well.
Hemp protein contains all the necessary essential amino acids needed by the body and is therefore considered a complete protein powder. Some people may shy away from this protein powder because of the fact that it is related to the marijuana plant.
Luckily this plant does not contain the narcotic substance THC, which is the substance that makes you high when you use it. So, it is completely safe to use this as a protein powder for daily consumption for those professional athletes as well as for everyone else.
There is one problem, though, and that is that hemp is a bit low in some of the essential amino acids.
Not all people make use of the same methods to consume the right amount of protein daily. Some people will take their protein more in shakes while others prefer to mix the protein powders in whole foods and such things as yogurts.
So to choose the right type of protein to go with the right kind of food is also an important thing to consider. If the protein powder is easily dissolved in water or liquids, it is better to use it with those types of mixtures.
If you prefer to mix the protein powder in your foods, it will be better to use a protein powder that goes better with that. In the case of these protein powders, pea protein will easily dissolve in water and liquids, while hemp protein powder is better in foods.
It is also better to add the hemp protein powder with foods with texture such as fruit smoothies and others. Read further to compare these two very popular plant-based protein powders, as well as see the differences between them and when to use them.
Main Differences Between Hemp and Pea Protein
Hemp is a part of the marijuana cannabis plant that does not contain THC. It is the main ingredient featured in a wide variety of products and is useful because it is one of the fastest-growing plants known to man. Hemp seeds are packed with protein, meaning they are also full of amino acids.
Pea protein is derived from split, dried, and rehydrated golden peas. It is only lacking one of the essential amino acids.
Pea protein wins this one. Peas are highly sustainable, with the yield increasing every year after harvest. This means that peas are incredibly cheaply sourced. This has an effect on pea powder, which can be purchased for a relatively low price in comparison to other powders on the market.
Despite its plethora of uses, hemp is far less widely harvested than peas, which means it is more costly to source for the protein powder companies. Cannabis is also highly regulated throughout most of the world, meaning it is also harder to procure a reliable supply of hemp.
Although hemp boasts all nine necessary amino acids, some of the acids are particularly low in percentage. Particularly, hemp lacks lysine, which is a bit of a major drawback, as this acid plays a major role in absorbing nutrients.
For a protein powder, hemp tends to include higher percentages of fiber, carbs, and fat than the protein itself. In other dietary materials, this excess is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when considering that it also boasts an array of additional nutrients, such as iron, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. The fats included in hemp also contain omega 3 and 6.
An average serving of hemp protein tends to contain 15 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat, and 120 calories. Comparatively, an average serving of pea protein features 27 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, 0.5 grams of fat, and 120 calories.
Some pea proteins contain all nine amino acids, while others are lacking in methionine. The ones that do contain methionine only contain a small percentage of it.
Pea protein also contains valine, isoleucine, arginine, and leucine, which are all key for producing muscle growth. Pea protein also contains a 15% higher protein content than hemp, which gives it a slight nutritional advantage.
Without additional flavorings, hemp is often characterized by a chalky consistency, which produces an uneven or bumpy finished product after the water has been added. It is naturally earthy and tends to require a sweet flavor to balance it out.
Pea protein is completely tasteless when tasted naturally. This is arguably a benefit, as it provides a flat base for delicious additional flavorings to be added to.
As mentioned before, while the pea protein powder is tasteless and hemp protein powder has an earthy flavor, they need different things to be mixed with. The fact that hemp protein will not easily dissolve in liquids makes it the preferred protein powder used in textured foods.
This means you can easily use both these protein powders in a variety of foods and liquids to further improve the overall taste.
Other Things To Consider
Hemp is particularly rich in fiber, which greatly benefits the overall diet of the athlete, as a healthy digestive system is of paramount importance. This also has an effect on the athlete’s appetite for other nutrients, as the digestive system is in constant motion. This means that an avid bodybuilder can easily fit in his seven essential small meals per day with the help of hemp protein powder.
These digestive benefits are furthered by the high quantity of globular proteins, which also contribute to a healthy digestive system.
Given that most people who are taking pea protein over other milk-based proteins are living a vegan lifestyle, pea protein effectively provides nutrients that vegans may otherwise be missing out on. The high amount of iron found in pea protein is particularly beneficial, as iron is essential to a healthy diet, and it is not often found in such a high quantity in plant-based or other vegan products.
Final Verdict – Hemp vs Pea Protein – Which to Choose?
Both hemp and pea protein provide essential vitamins and nutrients to the vegan diet and work to make up for the lack of protein that will be present in a lot of vegan diet plans. Hemp is a good protein powder because it features all nine amino acids and fiber, and it works to create a healthy immune system.
However, based on our comparison, pea protein may be the better option, as it is cheaper, has a smoother consistency, features the majority of the amino acids, is very high in iron, and has a 15% higher protein content than hemp protein.