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Hemp foods high in nutrition but research shows misconceptions cause Aussies to miss out

February 3, 2018 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

New national research revealed today, shows over two million Australian adults are unlikely to ever benefit from one of the world’s most nutritious plant-based foods – hemp seeds – partly due to incorrect perceptions that the seeds can alter your state of mind. Leading Australian nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin, released the survey results as part of an education campaign aimed at clearing up these common misconceptions and highlighting the nutritional benefits of edible hemp seed products.

Hemp foods are a favourite with the health conscious in many other parts of the world. However, most Australians are not aware that hemp is now available as a healthy, tasty and nutritious food, which does not contain the amount of THC chemical known to alter one’s state of mind and bodily function. 

The national survey results highlight this confusion with nearly four in ten (39%) Australian adults under the impression that hemp foods are the same as other baked goods containing illegal (THC containing) ingredients.

One in five (20%) Australians are also concerned about whether these foods are legally permitted to be sold and consumed in Australia. Hemp seeds were acknowledged as a nutritious addition to a healthy diet by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) when regulation changes came into effect allowing the sale of these low THC hemp seed foods in Australia from mid-November 2017.

Key survey findings1

  • The majority of Australians surveyed associate hemp with rope/clothing (44%) or illegal substances (27%).
  • Nearly four in ten (39%) respondents considered hemp foods to be similar to baked goods containing illegal (THC containing) ingredients.  
  • Over 2 million (13%) Australians think eating hemp foods will impair their state of mind.
  • More than 1 in 3 Australians (36%) are not even aware there are hemp foods that can be eaten.
  • Only 6% were aware that hemp foods have many nutritional benefits.
  • One fifth (20%) are still concerned about the legitimacy of hemp food products in Australia.

For years, hemp seed foods have been a pantry staple for international consumers seeking healthy food options. When added to a healthy diet, they offer a number of nutritional benefits. Hemp seeds are a good source of protein, they contain all three of the essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9) needed for the human body to function and they also contain dietary fibre which can aid digestion.

The release of the new research coincides with the launch of Thompson’s Hemp Foods Range in Australia, which includes Hemp Seeds, Hemp Wholefood powder (chocolate and unflavoured) and Hemp Seed Oil. Thompson’s is well known in Australia for high quality supplements.

Well known nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin is a huge fan of using hemp seeds in her cooking and is on a mission to educate Australians about the nutritional benefits. She’s excited to see Australia finally catching up to other parts of the world in realising the nutritional benefits of hemp foods.

“Hemp seeds are one of the best kept secrets for healthy eating. From a nutrition point of view, the amino acids help with healing and repair of our muscle and tissue and essential fatty acids support the function of all our cells. They are also packed full of fibre to assist with healthy digestion. They really are the little pocket rockets of the food world,” said Ms Bingley-Pullin.

“Hemp seeds are the perfect addition to your family’s pantry because they are incredibly nutritious and also taste fantastic! My daughter Emily loves my hemp banana pancakes and they are really simple to whip up so we can do it together. I’m really thrilled the Thompson’s Hemp range is now available in Australia.”

Gerald Quigley, Community Pharmacist and Master Herbalist, also noted with concern that so few Australians would consider their local pharmacy when evaluating choices for a healthy diet.

“This survey showed that only 2% of Australian adults would consider visiting a pharmacy for advice on a healthy diet. Pharmacists are well placed to provide advice on nutritious health foods like hemp seeds that Australians are not yet familiar with. These misconceptions are really going to get in the way of people realising the indisputable benefits of hemp seed foods which is a real shame,” said Quigley.

Hemp seeds are low allergy and appropriate for both vegans and vegetarians.

People interested in trying Thompson’s Hemp Seed Range can visit their local Pharmacy or health food store.

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