The 7 Best Hemp Protein Powders of 2020, According to a Dietitian
Power up with these plant-based picks
Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN is a New York City-based registered dietitian with a lifelong passion for wellness who has written for Women’s Health, Well+Good, and more.
Elaine Hinzey is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and registered dietitian.
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Hemp protein powder is an excellent source of vegan protein that contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and filling fiber. Hemp seed is technically a nut, so it’s no wonder the functional food is chock full of healthy fats and vitamins and minerals. It’s also a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Whether you’re looking for an allergy-friendly alternative to soy or whey protein, or just prefer the nutty taste of hemp seed, hemp protein is a versatile, mild-tasting powder that’s easy to digest. It blends well into smoothies and can be used in baking to give your favorite recipes a nutrition boost. Depending on what you’re looking for, there are many types of hemp protein powder, including 100 percent hemp protein or hemp mixed into a protein blend.
Here, the best hemp protein powders.
Best Overall: Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Protein Powder
Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder earns our top ranking, thanks to its exceptional quality, purity, value, and versatility. Made from organic, non-GMO, and sustainably-grown hemp seeds, the powder is rich in amino acids, protein, and fiber. It’s also a great source of omega-3 fats and antioxidants. Plus, Nutiva’s all-natural cold press extraction process doesn’t use any harmful chemicals or heat.
Like other hemp protein powders, it has a distinct, nutty taste, but it blends well into smoothies and shakes. It can also be used as a flour replacement when making muffins, bread, or other baked goods. One three-tablespoon serving contains 90 calories and 15 grams of protein with 8 grams of fiber.
Best Budget: Just Hemp Foods Hemp Protein Powder Plus Fiber
An excellent option for those looking for a quality but inexpensive plant-based protein powder, this hemp powder from Just Hemp Foods is a great value. It’s perfect for those following a vegetarian or vegan eating plan or those who have had unpleasant side effects from dairy-based protein powders. It’s free of soy, lactose, and gluten, so it’s ideal for those with allergies to typical protein powder ingredients.
Hemp protein can have a grainy texture, so it’s best to blend it into a smoothie or mix it into other recipes. One serving of 4 tablespoons contains 130 calories, 0.6 grams omega-3s, 14 grams fiber, and 11 grams of protein.
Best Organic: Navitas Organics Hemp Powder
Choosing a USDA Organic protein powder ensures that your protein is made from high-quality ingredients. Sourced exclusively from a small family of organic farms in Canada, Navitas Organics Hemp Powder is free of fillers and additives. It is also an excellent source of all nine essential amino acids and fiber. This vegan, gluten-free powder is cold-pressed from the whole hemp seed to preserve its potent nutrients.
Hemp protein is an easy way to add more plant-based protein, iron, and magnesium to your vegan or vegetarian diet. One serving of this nutrient-dense Navitas Organics Hemp Powder provides 40 percent of your daily value of iron and 60 percent of your daily value for magnesium. Four tablespoons offer 120 calories, 7 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of protein.
Best Unsweetened: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Fiber Protein Powder Vanilla
Some protein powders are filled with artificial flavors and sweeteners that may do more harm than good. Choosing an unsweetened protein powder is best for avoiding unnecessary ingredients, including colors, flavors, and sugar. Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Yeah! Organic Protein Powder is made with only one ingredient: organic hemp protein powder.
Whether you have it in your hot cereal at breakfast time or mix it into your yogurt for a mid-afternoon snack, this all-natural powder packs 13 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per serving to keep you satisfied for hours. One 4-tablespoon serving contains 130 calories with no added sugar. You can also use it as a healthy substitute for flour when baking. If you prefer more flavor, the powder also comes in Chocolate and Vanilla, using organic coconut sugar as a sweetener and natural flavoring.
Best High Fiber: Nutiva Cold-Pressed Raw Hemp Seed Protein Powder
Many protein powders pack in the protein but skimp on fiber. Choosing fiber-rich foods can help you to feel fuller longer, improve digestion, and even reduce the risk of cancer. While most hemp proteins are naturally high in fiber, Nutiva’s Organic Hi Fiber Hemp Protein has an extra edge over most products on the market, offering 4 grams of fiber per tablespoon. One 3-tablespoon serving also provides 80 calories, 11 grams of protein, and 25 percent of the recommended daily amount of iron.
While choosing high-fiber foods is key for meeting the average daily recommended fiber intake of 25 grams, a quality supplement like Nutiva Organic Hi Fiber is ideal for those looking to boost protein and fiber from a whole foods-based product. The higher price tag is worth the extra money: the USDA Organic product is committed to quality and is also gluten-free and Certified Vegan.
Best Hemp Protein Blend: Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Organic Vegan Protein Powder
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend takes the top pick among hemp protein powder blends. The proprietary blend of organic pea protein, hemp protein, and goji berry contains 19 grams of plant-based protein per scoop. The USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Certified blend is allergy-friendly, as it is free of soy, gluten, and dairy.
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is also free of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. It comes in five flavors, including berry, chocolate, mocha, vanilla, and natural. The natural flavor doesn’t taste overly sweet, so it won’t overpower your favorite beverage. With only four ingredients: pea protein, hemp protein, goji berry, and ground coconut, Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend Natural is a super clean choice. Note that the flavored versions contain additional ingredients, including the specific flavor and stevia.
One scoop provides 100 calories, 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of protein, and no added sugar.
Best Hemp Protein Blend Runner-Up: ALOHA Organic Vanilla Plant-Based Keto Friendly Protein Powder with MCT Oil
Aloha’s USDA-Organic plant-based protein mixes pea, brown rice, hemp, and pumpkin seed protein to provide 18 grams of plant-based protein per serving. The blend contains 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving from acacia fiber, a rich source of soluble fiber. Aloha’s powder uses coconut sugar and monk fruit to sweeten the powder instead of erythritol or stevia.
The vegan powder also contains medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil. Aloha protein, made with simple whole-food ingredients, comes in three flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and banana. The vanilla flavor has a creamy coconut taste from coconut sugar and coconut oil that boosts the nutrition of your favorite smoothie, baked good, or oatmeal. One serving provides 120 calories.
If you’re looking for a high-quality USDA Organic hemp protein that’s rich in fiber and protein, Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder is a reasonably-priced hemp protein. If you’re looking for a hemp protein powder with a bit more flavor, a blend like Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend Vanilla is an excellent choice.
What to Look for in a Hemp Protein Powder
Ingredients: Many hemp protein powders contain only one ingredient: hemp protein. Aim to choose a hemp protein that contains only ingredients that you can read and as few ingredients as possible. Consider quality, and select USDA Organic, non-GMO Project Verified products when possible.
Flavor: Hemp protein powder has a naturally nutty taste but comes in different flavor variations, including unflavored and typical chocolate, vanilla, and fruit flavors. If you prefer a relatively neutral protein and doesn’t overpower the smoothie or food you mix it into, then an unflavored hemp protein may be best for you. If you want a bit more flavor, consider a flavored hemp protein blend.
Fiber & Protein: Consider your dietary fiber and protein needs when selecting a protein supplement. Hemp protein contains dietary fiber, which can help to keep you satisfied. Some hemp protein powders contain equal amounts of protein and fiber, while others contain less fiber. If you are looking for a higher fiber product, choose mostly or 100 percent hemp protein powder. If you’re looking for more protein and less fiber, choose a protein blend that integrates hemp protein.
What Experts Say
“Hemp protein is an excellent source of easily digested plant-based protein and fiber. Many people with allergies or intolerances to other plant proteins such as soy or nuts can use hemp as a safe and healthy alternative. Adding hemp protein to a smoothie or sprinkling hemp seeds onto a yogurt bowl or salad is a great way to pack in some extra protein, fiber, and healthy fats.”—Nathalie Rhone, MS, RD
Why Trust Verywell Fit
A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements, including protein powders. I spent time reviewing the most current research on hemp protein and looking at multiple products and brands. I believe the hemp protein supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands that I would feel comfortable recommending to my clients, friends, and family. I have tried the majority of the hemp protein powders recommended, and use plant-based protein powder—including hemp— regularly in smoothies and baked goods.—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN
The best hemp protein powders are rich in omega-3s, fiber, and protein. Our nutritionist researched the best products so you can find the right one.
Hemp Protein Powder: The Best Plant-Based Protein?
Protein powders are popular nutritional supplements used by athletes, bodybuilders and those trying to gain weight or increase muscle mass.
Hemp protein powder is one of the more popular varieties, made by grinding pressed hemp seeds into a fine powder.
It has an earthy, nutty taste and is often added to shakes or smoothies to boost protein intake.
Hemp is a high-quality vegan protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, plus fiber, healthy fats and minerals.
This article reviews the pros and cons of hemp protein powder and determines whether it’s the best plant-based protein powder available.
Hemp is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that humans must get from food.
However, research is mixed on the exact amounts of these amino acids it contains.
One study found that the amino acid profile of hemp protein is similar to egg whites and soy, which are both high-quality protein sources (1).
However, other studies have shown that hemp has relatively low levels of the essential amino acid lysine, making it a poorer quality option for that nutrient ( 2 , 3 ).
A 1/4-cup (30-gram) serving of hemp protein powder contains around 120 calories and 15 grams of protein, depending on the brand (4, 5).
That’s less protein per serving than soy or pea protein powders, which are more highly refined and contain up to 90% protein (6).
However, for those who prefer less processed protein sources, hemp is a good choice.
Hemp protein is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, but more research is needed on its quality. Each 1/4-cup (30-gram) serving contains 15 grams of protein.
In general, animal proteins are more easily digested than plant proteins, but research shows that 91–98% of the protein in ground hemp seed is digestible ( 2 , 7 ).
This means that your body can use almost all of the amino acids in hemp protein powder for important bodily functions, such as repair and maintenance.
Researchers believe that hemp is so easy to digest because it contains the proteins edestin and albumin, which your body can break down quickly ( 3 ).
However, other studies that judge proteins based on both digestibility and amino acid content consider hemp protein to be of moderate quality — roughly on par with lentils ( 2 ).
Research has found that heat processing can reduce the digestibility of hemp protein by about 10%, so look for hemp protein powders made from cold-pressed seeds ( 2 ).
Hemp protein is very easy to digest, but look for cold-pressed hemp protein for the highest quality.
High-fiber diets have been linked to many health benefits, including improved blood sugar, healthier gut bacteria and a reduced risk of bowel cancer ( 8 , 9 , 10 ).
Women and men should consume 25 grams and 38 grams of fiber per day respectively, but studies show that less than 5% of American adults meet these recommendations ( 11 , 12 ).
High-fiber foods, such as hemp protein, can help bridge this gap.
Hemp protein powders can contain different amounts of fiber depending on whether they were made from hulled or unhulled hemp seeds and whether additional fiber was added.
Most hemp protein powders contain 7–8 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup (30 grams) and provide 18–28% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of fiber for men and women respectively (4, 5).
In comparison, other plant-based protein powders such as soy, pea and rice are highly refined and contain very little fiber (6, 13 ).
Hemp protein powder is a great way to add both protein and fiber to your diet, which may keep you feeling fuller, longer ( 14 ).
Hemp protein powder is a good source of fiber, containing 8 grams per serving — much more than most other plant-based protein powders.
Hemp protein powder is made from hemp seeds that have been pressed to remove their oils, but it still contains roughly 10% of the original fat content ( 15 ).
A 1/4-cup (30-gram) serving has around 3 grams of fat, most of which is unsaturated and excellent for heart health (4, 5, 16 , 17 ).
A typical Western diet provides an unbalanced 15:1 ratio of these fats, and has been linked to many chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer ( 20 ).
Consuming foods such as hemp seeds, which have lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, can help correct this imbalance and may improve heart health ( 21 ).
Since hemp protein powder is less refined than other protein isolates, it contains more fat than most protein powders.
This fat content can be good for people who want to add more heart-healthy unsaturated fats to their diet but may be undesirable for those seeking a lower-calorie protein powder.
Since hemp protein powder contains fat, it should be stored in the refrigerator after opening to prevent the fats from going rancid.
Hemp protein powder contains omega-6 and omega-3 fats in an ideal 3:1 ratio that promotes heart health, but it’s slightly higher in calories because of it.
Hemp protein powder is a popular plant-based supplement, especially among vegan athletes. This article checks the facts to determine whether hemp protein powder is the best plant-based protein powder available.