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Hemp Protein vs Pea Protein - Which has more muscle?

Hemp Protein vs Pea Protein - Which has more muscle?

If you’ve been using your spare time at the gym or putting in hard labor at work, you’ve probably tried to change your diet accordingly. More proteins, more vegetables, more meat - all the usual stuff for taking care of a hardworking body. But if you’re really trying to make some progress, or need more support for your tired muscles, it may be time to add protein powder into your daily routine. Today we’re going to look at the sources of some of the most popular plant-based protein: pea protein and hemp protein!

What is a pea protein?

Pea protein is, obviously, derived from the pea plant. This means it’s a vegetarian and vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and otherwise hypoallergenic protein source. However, as is often the case with plant-based protein sources, pea protein powders are missing one of the essential amino acids (namely, methionine). 

While the “best” proteins generally come from animal products, particularly meat, a plant based protein source can be adequate for your protein needs, especially if you have dietary restrictions. Note that pea protein powder has been associated with some digestive issues like bloating and gas. It also isn’t technically a complete protein, since it’s missing one of the essential amino acids required to be a “complete” protein.

Can you build muscle with pea protein?

Despite not being a complete protein, the protein in pea powder can absolutely be used to make some serious gains. In fact, a fairly recent study showed that it was just as effective as using whey protein, which is often boasted as the “best” protein powder. Who says you have to have EVERY single one of the essential amino acids to bulk up?

Is pea protein inflammatory?

Generally, the inflammatory risk with pea powder protein isn’t enough to worry about. Pea protein powder contains purine, which is broken down into uric acid. This means people suffering from gout may want to avoid pea protein, but those without such pre-existing conditions don’t need to worry about any inflammatory issues from pea protein.

What is hemp protein?

Hemp, much like pea protein, is a plant based protein source. In this case, however, the proteins are sources from one of our favorite plants: hemp. The same hemp we love to roll up and smoke can play a part in providing much-needed proteins. Hemp seeds are ground into a powder that’s full of protein, fiber, and plenty of healthy fatty acids.

Is hemp protein a complete protein?

Unlike pea protein, hemp is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that we need from our food. Even better, it’s got much more to offer than just a complete protein source. High in fiber, full of healthy fatty acids, and easier to digest than other plant based protein, this protein is a serious contender for “best protein.”

Which is better - pea protein vs hemp protein

The showdown between these two plant-based protein sources is hardly a competition. Hemp wins every round, hands down. Between being a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids and being easier to digest than any other plant-based proteins (in fact, you can digest up to 98% of hemp protein, unlike other plant protein sources). Although it contains less protein per serving than other plant-based protein powders, the fact that it’s much less processed means you’ll be benefiting from digesting more of that protein.


Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder - $16.31

  • Great quality
  • Best purity
  • Affordable

Bob’s Red Mill has long been known for their high quality plant products. This protein powder is no exception to that quality. It’s free from any added flavors or sweeteners, making it an extremely pure hemp protein source.


Navitas Organic Hemp Protein Powder - $9.65

  • Organic
  • Great price
  • Easy to digest

Navitas (Latin for “energy”) is true to its name and will keep you energized through even the toughest workouts. This top-quality plant based protein powder offers 13g of protein per serving. Another advantage of hemp in the “hemp vs pea protein” debate is that, honestly, hemp just tastes better than pea protein. Mix it into your smoothies or bake it into a pan of brownies, and you’ll see why we prefer to get all of our essential amino acids from these tasty, nutty, all-around awesome protein powders.


Food to Live Organic Hemp Protein Powder - $15.98

  • Full of nutrients
  • Made from organic hemp seeds
  • Handy resealable bag

Another advantage for the winner of our “pea protein vs hemp protein” debate is that hemp also packs a ton of minerals and vitamins we need to stay healthy. Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, and Copper are just a few of the essential vitamins and minerals in this plant based protein. This is one of the best vegan proteins available.


Nutiva Cold Pressed Hemp Protein Powder - $14

  • High protein
  • High fiber
  • All-natural

Nutiva sources the best Canadian hemp available to make one of our favorite protein powders. Packing 8g of fiber and 15g of protein per serving, this plant-based protein powder is sure to give you the results you’re looking for. Use it before AND after your workout for the best results.


Sunfood Superfoods Raw Hemp Protein Powder - $12.34

  • High in nutrients
  • Delicious
  • Affordable

This incredible protein powder is one of the most nutrient-dense proteins around. Sunfood gently cold-pressed the hemp seeds to extract as many proteins and amino acids as possible without harming the proteins or ruining the flavor of the plant. 

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Protein Powder - $12.43

  • Highest protein content
  • Only two ingredients
  • Great price

Of all the proteins we’ve talked about, this has the single highest protein content in the list. It packs a massive 20g of protein per serving, using just two ingredients - hemp concentrate and oregano extract. If you’re after protein - a LOT of protein - this is the one for you.


Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Hemp Protein Powder - $26.99

  • Great deal
  • High quality
  • Certified gluten-free

If you’re ready to invest in a bit more than just a tiny bag of protein powder, check out this money-saving two pack from Terrasoul. Don’t let the label fool you; although it shows that it only has 5g protein per serving, their serving size is only a third of the size of most other similar protein powders. You can always double (or even triple) the serving and get all the protein you need.


Erbology Organic Hemp Protein Powder - $14.99

  • High in fiber
  • Organic
  • Affordable

This product combines proteins and fiber for a balanced, healthy source of protein. It still packs all the amino acids you need, and comes with the added dietary benefit of extra fiber. It’s also full of vitamin D, phosphorus, and other essential nutrients to have you feeling you best.


NOW Foods Hemp Protein Powder - $17.18

  • Certified organic
  • Verified non-GMO
  • High in fiber

This certified organic protein powder is another favorite. It’s non-GMO verified in addition to being organic, and of course it offers more benefits than pea protein. Get all your amino acids and protein by mixing this into a shake or smoothie.


Goal Foods Hemp Protein Bites - $18.49

  • Delicious
  • Gluten-free
  • Complete protein source

If you don’t feel like baking the brownies yourself, you can get your protein-packed chocolate fix with these delicious brownie bites. The delicious mint chocolate chip flavor will make your daily protein needs tastier than ever before. They’re even gluten free!



Between these two proteins, it’s easy to see why hemp wins out over pea protein every time. While you can make improvements without all the amino acids, hemp protein offers so many additional benefits besides having all the amino acids that it’s hard to beat. Try loading up your pre-workout (and post-workout) with these awesome powders, and you’ll feel the benefits of hemp.

If you want to learn more about what hemp can do for you, check out these topics:

  • What is CBD?
  • Can I get CBD protein powder?
  • What is CBD pre-workout?


Megan Medeiros Written by Megan Medeiros (BA)

Megan Medeiros has a bachelor’s degree in English and is currently working on a master’s in English at James Madison University. She's the owner and operator of Medeiros Writing, and has been working as a cannabis writer for the past three years, mostly following the legal climate of marijuana, especially in areas like California, Colorado, Oregon, Canada, and other legal areas.

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