Hemp, pea, or whey protein for muscle growth?

Certainly, whey protein is great for muscle growth. However, hemp powder provides more than protein. It’s also high in omega-3s, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other minerals!

How much protein do we need?

The recommended daily intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per lbs). For instance, a 150 lbs person needs about 55 grams of protein a day.

Active people need more protein, though. The protein dose depends on the activity level. Athletes can consume up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight safely.[1]

Activity levelProtein dose
(g/kg BW)
Daily intake of protein.

According to studies, a diet high in protein is great for maintaining a lean body year-round. Protein increases thermogenesis and satiety.[2]

Hemp vs whey protein for muscle growth

Hemp has a better nutritional value than whey protein!

Whey protein provides a much higher dose of protein per serving size than hemp powder. A tbsp of hemp protein has only 4 grams of protein. On the contrary, 1 scoop of whey protein provides 24 grams of protein. You have to consume at least 5-6 tbsp of hemp powder to consume the same amount of protein in a scoop of whey protein.

hemp protein
32g (3 tbsp)
pea protein
32g (1 scoop)
whey protein
32g (1 scoop)
protein (g)11,72424
fat (g)4,322,5
fiber (g)4,500
sugars (g)102
iron (mg)4,880,4
magnesium (mg)14900
potassium (mg)25683114
zinc (mg)2,400
Nutritional value of whey, hemp & pea protein.[3,4]

However, hemp protein is has a greater nutritional value than whey or pea protein. Hemp protein is packed with fiber, healthy fats, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, antioxidants, omega-3s, and many more. These compounds are beneficial for athletes. They promote muscle recovery and growth.

Actually, hemp protein is one of the best dietary sources of iron. Just a serving provides up to 27% of the DV. On the contrary, most whey proteins provide only 4% of the DV. Pea protein is also an excellent dietary source of iron. A scoop provides up to 8 mg of iron, or 45% of the DV. Athletes have an increased risk of iron deficiency. Women, in particular. So, it’s good for you to consume many foods with iron.

Hemp, pea, and whey protein also contain calcium. Calcium is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion. A scoop of whey protein contains up to 140 mg of calcium, or 14% of the DV, while a serving of hemp or pea powder contains up to 45 mg of calcium, or 4% of the DV.

Also, hemp protein is rich in magnesium, which is a key nutrient for athletes. For instance, magnesium is involved in energy metabolism and muscle contractions! A serving provides 35% of the DV. Most whey and pea proteins don’t contain any magnesium!

In addition, a serving of hemp protein provides up to 22% of the DV of zinc. Whey and pea proteins have no zinc. Zinc is beneficial for muscle growth and strength. Athletes have an increased risk of zinc deficiency.

Always check the nutrition facts label of products. Each brand has a slightly different nutritional value.

Amino acid profile of hemp & whey

Whey protein, as all animal-derived foods, contains all essential amino acids. It’s great for muscle growth. It has an excellent amino acid profile.

Hemp protein is a complete protein as well. Actually, only a few vegan foods contain all the essential amino acids, which are necessary for muscle growth.

Hemp protein has good amounts of the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine. Also, hemp protein is high in arginine and glutamic acid. In fact, the amino acid profile of hemp protein is almost identical to egg white’s and soy’s amino profile! Hemp protein is comparable to these high-quality proteins.

hemp seeds
per 32g
whey protein
per 32g
Essential amino acids in whey protein & hemp seeds.[5,6]

However, hemp protein is pretty low in lysine as compared to whey protein. We have to get all 9 essential amino acids to build muscle mass. Whey, as well as other vegan proteins (soy and pea protein) are great sources of lysine.[7]

Furthermore, three amino acids are very important for bodybuilding. They’re called BCAAs. These are isoleucine, leucine, and valine. BCAAs increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis. Both hemp and whey protein include all these muscle-building amino acids.

Omega-3s is hemp protein are good for muscle growth

Hemp seeds are particularly rich in polyunsaturated fat. This is good for the heart when consumed in moderation.

On the other hand, the fat in whey protein is mostly saturated fat. Whey protein has approximately 1 gram of saturated fat per scoop. We should eat no more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day. High amounts of saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.[8]

Hemp protein contains about 4 grams of healthy fats per serving. Actually, hemp seeds are one of the few foods high in omega-3s. Omega-3s are beneficial for muscle growth and endurance!

Hemp fights inflammation

If you’re working out, you should consume foods that fight inflammation. Hemp protein contains antioxidants, such as lignanamides that they’re good against inflammation.[9,10]

Eating foods that treat exercise-induced oxidative stress is beneficial for athletes. Fruits and vegetables are the richest foods in antioxidants. For instance, bromelain in pineapple may relieve joint pain!

Whey vs hemp protein: what’s the winner?

Whey protein has been the golden standard for athletes for years. It’s easily digested, stimulates muscle growth, maintains lean body mass, and provides a high dose of protein per serving! Also, it’s pretty cheap.

On the contrary, hemp and pea proteins are ideal for vegans, people who follow a plant-based diet, and people with lactose intolerance. They’re easy to digest as well.

But, hemp powder is much more than protein. It provides minerals, omega-3s, and antioxidants that are important for athletes.

You can find a wide variety of whey or plant-based proteins on iHerb.

Share to...