Let Them Eat Hemp

from realnewsaustralia.com: Food regulation in
Australia can be baffling sometimes. It’s so easy to walk into a
supermarket and fill your trolley with foods that can potentially
undermine your health like litres of soft drink and cheap doughnuts. Yet
if you want to buy hemp seed, a source of vitamins and minerals and a
rich source of protein and healthy omega-3 fat, it’s still officially
banned for use as a food.

However, as the man
behind the counter in a health food store selling $12 packets of hemp
seed explained to me recently, he was legally able to sell me the
product providing I only used it for non food purposes – as a body scrub
perhaps- and didn’t accidentally sprinkle some on my muesli.

Yet hemp seed’s
nutrition credentials are excellent, says Dr Trent Watson, an accredited
practising dietitian and spokesman for the Dietitans Association of
Australia which has been involved in trying to have both hemp seed and
hemp seed oil approved for sale as a food in Australia – just as they
are in the US, Canada and Europe.

“It’s very high in plant protein – just 30g of hemp seed, or about one tablespoon, provides around 11g of protein,” he says. By comparison, an egg has about 6g of protein and 30g of cheese has 8g of protein.

“Hemp seed is also an
easy way of getting more omega 3 fat into the diet – this fat helps
reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and may help protect against heart disease,
“Watson says.

But if hemp is so
good for us, why isn’t it on the supermarket shelf along with other
seeds like chia, pepitas, flax and sunflower seed?

The story so far is a tale of guilt by association. Although hemp belongs to the same family as pot – Cannabis sativa –
it contains no or very low levels of THC
(delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient with psychoactive
effects, according to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ),
the government agency that regulates the ingredients in foods.

In other words, eating hemp seed won’t get you stoned.

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