How Much Hemp Protein Should You Take in a Day?

Hemp protein, from the seeds of the hemp plant, serves as a high-quality alternative for vegetarians and those who suffer from lactose intolerance or dairy allergy. Even if you don't fall into this category, hemp protein is a valuable addition to any active person's diet, athlete and author Brendan Brazier told "Shape" magazine, because it's easily digestible, fights inflammation and reduces muscle soreness better than milk-based proteins. How much hemp protein powder you need to take depends on your activity level and how much protein you get from your daily diet.

A scoop of hemp seeds on a white background. (Image: SunnyCeleste/iStock/Getty Images)

Protein Requirements

To determine how much hemp protein powder you should take, you need to know how much total protein you should be consuming on a daily basis. The Institute of Medicine's recommendation is that women consume 46 grams of protein each day and men consume 56 grams. If you're active, your protein needs may be higher. According to sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, active adults need 0.4 to 0.6 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and adults looking to build muscle mass need 0.6 to 0.9 gram of protein per pound.

Figuring Out Hemp Amount

Once you've figured out your daily needs, you need to subtract from that number the amount of protein you get through your daily diet. You want to make sure not to exceed your daily protein needs, because excess protein intake can lead to fat gain. Track your diet for one week, recording everything you eat in a journal. Use a nutrition database or calorie tracker to figure out your protein intake. Subtract that number from your daily protein needs and you'll end up with the amount of protein you need from supplements.

All About Hemp

Unlike many other plant proteins, such as pea and brown rice, hemp is a complete protein, meaning that it contains sufficient levels of all of the essential amino acids your body needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. It's also a good source of essential fatty acids, some of which have anti-inflammatory effects that may aid recovery after intensive training. One drawback is that hemp contains much less protein per serving than many milk-based protein supplements. One 30-gram serving of hemp powder provides 11 grams of protein, while one 30-gram serving of whey protein provides 20 grams.

Do You Really Need It?

Most people can get all the protein they need from a balanced diet, so you may not even need a hemp protein supplement. Eating plenty of lean protein, such as chicken breast, fish, beans, lean beef and soy products can ensure you meet your daily protein needs. If you find you need a protein supplement, talk with your doctor about whether hemp is a good choice for you. Hemp can be sprinkled on cereal, blended with fruit in a smoothie or mixed into yogurt for a pre- or post-workout snack.

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