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Difference Between Hemp Protein and Whey Protein

Proteins are large, complex molecules that help build and repair tissues. With the trend that has many people jump into bodybuilding and high protein diets, proteins have become essential in many people’s diets. Many people have lifestyles that make it hard for them to achieve the protein Daily Recommended Allowance, which is determined by factors such as age, height, physical activity, and weight. Protein deficiency may lead to hair loss, reduction of body mass, skin problems and can also affect the body metabolism. This has led to the preference of protein extracts, which mostly come in form of powders, such as hemp and whey protein supplements. 

Some of the health benefits of protein powders include;

  • Weight management 
  • Helps in muscle growth
  • Helps repair damages muscles and tissues
  • Provides the body with additional nutrients 


What is Hemp Protein?

Hemp protein is a natural plant-based product that is a by-product of cold-pressed hemp seed oil. It contains 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential and 2 semi-essential amino acids. Some of the amino acids in hemp protein are the amino acids arginine and histidine, which are important for growth during childhood. It also contains high levels of branched chain amino acids which play a big role in the repair and growth of lean body mass, which makes it ideal for an after workout supplement. 

Hemp protein is superior to other proteins because of edestin, which is a plant protein that is only found in hemp seeds and is similar to the protein found in the human body. This makes it perfect in body repair, such as DNA repair. The fact that hemp protein resembles those found in the body makes it easy to be digested and assimilated into the human body. 

Hemp powder, however, contains more calories in comparison to other protein powders. 


What is Whey Protein?

Whey is the liquid resulting from the coagulation of milk and is generated from cheese manufacture, which is then dried into powdered form and used for supplementation. Whey protein has a very high percentage of protein and also contains all necessary amino acids. 

Whey protein helps cover the needed daily body protein intake. It also provides energy and at the same time helping repair and build muscles. It also aids in weight loss by helping the body retain muscle and losing fat, at the same time reducing hunger. It is however not ideal for a person who is lactose intolerant, since it may contain lactose. 


Similarities Between Hemp Protein and Whey Protein

  • Both contain essential nutrients and amino acids
  • Both aid in building muscle
  • Both are effective in meeting ones’ dietary protein needs


Differences between Hemp Protein and Whey Protein

  1. Plant-based vs. animal-based

Hemp protein is a plant-based protein, which makes it easier for the body to digest and also ideal for vegans. Whey protein, on the other hand, is an animal-based protein, which makes it less ideal for vegans and also for lactose intolerant persons. 

  1. Amino acids Content

While hemp protein has few essential amino acids, whey protein has more essential amino acids. 

  1. Protein content

Hemp protein powder has 50% protein content while whey has 99% protein content.  Whey protein is hence more utilized by the body in muscle building. 

  1. Fat content

While hemp protein only has unsaturated fats which is beneficial for bowel regulation and disease prevention, whey protein contains saturated fats as well as cholesterol. 

  1. Calorie content

Hemp protein has higher calorie content hence may not ideal for fat burning. Whey protein, on the other hand, is low in calories, hence is ideal for fat burning and muscle growth. 

  1. Additives

The isolation of hemp protein to powder is done so without the use of any additives and processing agents, making it more natural. However, when it comes to whey protein, for manufacturers to attain a high protein concentration and isolate lactose, a hexane chemical agent is used.  

Hemp protein vs. Whey protein: Comparison Table


Summary of Hemp protein vs. Whey protein

The type of protein chosen plays a role in overall health. It should be noted that people’s bodies are different; hence what works for one person may not work for another. Testing various types of sources and quantities helps in leading one to the right type. Protein supplements should however not be used as a total replacement to whole foods, but as to supplement a healthy diet of whole foods. 


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References :

[0]Ward Lore. Whey Protein. Lulu.com Publishers, 2008. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=v6N7WORIPqEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=whey+protein&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimnKaA3-LeAhUFGuwKHVKUCuMQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=whey%20protein&f=false

[1]Huth Peter, Onwulata Charles. Whey Processing, Functionality and Health Benefits. John Wiley & Sons Publishers, 2009.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=wlhk_CmdZMAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=whey+protein&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimnKaA3-LeAhUFGuwKHVKUCuMQ6AEINTAD#v=onepage&q=whey%20protein&f=false

[2]Benhaim Paul. A Modern Introduction to Hemp: From Food to Fibre : Past, Present and Future. Raw With LifePublishers, 2003. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=gEc24wQ7aegC&pg=PA21&dq=hemp+protein&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjy-baF1OLeAhWBuIsKHadpAJEQ6AEIODAD#v=onepage&q=hemp%20protein&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/40648063@N06/16513117309

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Power_Pro_-_Whey_Protein.jpg

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