Differences Between Whey Protein & Hemp Protein
In this article we will be exploring the differences between plant-based and animal protein, and the importance of using protein in our daily diet.
Why is PROTEIN important?
The health effects of overconsuming fat and carbs are well documented and controversial. Most people will agree however that protein is non-negotiable.
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet and is needed by your body to grow and repair cells. How much protein you need will depend on your weight, gender, age, and health. Most people can easily meet their protein needs by eating a variety of foods. Some individuals however are unable to get sufficient protein from food alone and taking a protein powder supplement can be both effective and convenient. Typically, protein powder supplements are either animal-based or plant-based.
Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids which your body uses to make new proteins, such as muscle and bone, and other compounds such as enzymes and hormones. It can also use them as an energy source. Some amino acids can be made by your body – there are 11 of these and they are known as non-essential amino acids. There are nine amino acids that your body cannot make, and they are known as essential amino acids. You need to include enough of these in your diet so that your body can function.
Animal products contain all of the essential amino acids and are known as ‘complete’ protein. Many plant-based proteins lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins. Hemp Protein however does contain all nine essential amino acids and over 20 individual amino acids including all branch chained amino acids. In addition to being a complete protein, hemp protein also contains branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), namely leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Hemp Protein Powder is made by milling seed cake, a nutrient dense product that is left over after cold pressing raw hemp seed into hemp seed oil. This protein rich powder contains on average 50% complete protein per serving, plus an optimal 3:1 ratio of omegas 6 to 3 fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are heart healthy fats and Hemp Protein contains around 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acid per scoop along with about 7 grams fibre. Dietary fibre is essential to a healthy diet, as well as gut health and digestion. An added bonus of Hemp Protein powder is that is contains an array of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium.
Hemp Protein is easily digested, since it is made up of two primary types of protein, Edestin (65%) and Albumin (35%). Edestin aids digestion and is considered to be the backbone of the cell’s DNA. It is a protein very similar to the human body’s own globular proteins found in blood plasma. Albumin protein is another high-quality globulin protein and is like that found in egg whites. Albumin is highly digestible and is a major source of free radical scavengers.
Whole hemp seeds contain 80% soluble fibre and 20% insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre slows down digestion by attracting water to create a gel-like substance in your gut. In addition to feeding the good bacteria in your gut, soluble fibre binds to substances like cholesterol and sugar and prevents or slows their absorption into the blood. This helps prevent blood sugar spikes and regulates cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre, commonly referred to as roughage, adds bulk to your stool and helps keep you regular by preventing constipation. Fibre not only helps to regulate blood glucose levels, but it can also help you feel fuller longer meaning you are less likely to experience energy crashes.
Whey protein is one of the most popular fitness supplements and is used by athletes for muscle building. Muscles love protein, especially complete proteins like whey. Other benefits include skin and tissue repair, and weight gain for those with long-term illnesses and in need of extra nutrition.
Whey is a liquid that separates from milk during the cheese-making process. The whey is filtered, refined and spray-dried into protein powder. It then undergoes another process to make one of three main types:
- Concentrate: Products vary widely in their protein, lactose and fat content. Whey protein concentrate is found in many protein drinks, bars and nutritional products.
- Isolate: High in protein and low in fat or lactose. May be a suitable choice for people who are lactose intolerant, but not if you have a milk allergy.
- Hydrolysate: Also known as hydrolyzed whey protein is the easiest to digest because its long protein chains, called peptides, are pre-broken down into shorter ones.
Most of whey protein’s not so great side effects are related to digestion and lactose intolerance. Some people have problems digesting whey protein and experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramp and diarrhoea. Lactose intolerance is incredibly common and can affect up to 75% worldwide. In addition, many whey protein powders contain processed ingredients like artificial flavours, sweeteners, thickeners, and stabilisers to help make them more palatable. These are not only detrimental to gut health and blood sugar, but the synthetic nutrients found in protein powder are not as easily absorbed by the body as whole food.
Not just for Smoothies!
So why choose a Hemp product?
The choices we make inevitably have an impact on our environment. From cars and clothes to furniture and food, our choices will quite literally determine our success or failure as a species. Whether you’re a vegan, a carnivore, or somewhere in between, the decisions you make about the foods you consume have repercussions that go far beyond your own health. As more consumers become aware of this, demand for sustainably sourced foods is on the rise. Yet personal health remains an important consideration. Choosing a plant-based protein powder is a small but positive tick in the “good for the environment” box because…
Did you know that a crop of hemp…
- Absorbs more CO2 per hectare other commercial crops or forests and is therefore an ideal carbon sink
- Regenerates the soil with the remnants of the nutrient-dense stems and leaves
- Prevents soil erosion
- Requires less water than other crops
- Resists many insect pests
- Prevents deforestation. Transitioning to hemp could saves our trees, and our planet!
Both whey and plant-based protein powders can make for an effective addition to your diet, but you’ll most likely find that one will suit your needs better than the other. In general, if you want a protein that will help you to manage your weight or you’re following a vegan or lactose-free diet, then choose plant-based proteins over whey.
We think that hemp protein powder trumps whey protein every time thanks to its higher fibre profile and nutrient-density, natural production process, and sustainable properties.