The Crunch? Conscious Foodies Wanna Know: Raw vs. Roasted Hemp Seeds?

A raw nut is generally picked or purchased in its shell
. It has not been heated through or processed. Raw nuts have the most nutrients because they have not escaped or been cooked out of the nut. Most raw nuts are high in protein and are less fat than many roasted nuts because they are not cooked in oil. Roasted nuts are often enjoyed because the natural oils of the nuts are allowed to come out of the nut. Butter, oils, salt and seasonings are often added for a flavorful result in snacking or recipe making.

Vitamin Loss

Heat can destroy B-complex vitamins found in nuts, while soaking the raw nuts so they sprout or drying helps release the enzymes that activate the vitamins they contain. Most nuts contain vitamins B-1, B-3, folate and B-6. The B-vitamin complex helps turn food into energy through enzyme reactions.Raw nuts may also have higher levels of vitamins A, C and E.

Roasted Hemp: How much damage does the sterilizing hemp seed do?

The sterilization process is the roasted hemp seed it actually does minimal damage to the whole seed. An infrared sterilization process (heat) and essentially the damage results in minute cracks in the hull of the seed causing a shorter shelf life of months rather than years for the whole hemp seed. The proteins are not affected, the minerals are not affected, the vitamins are slightly affected but hemp seeds are not a valuable source of vitamins, which can also be said for any seed or nut. The oils are affected by the heat, retaining the fact that the sterilized hemp seed an excellent source of protein. Noted that no one is actually able to sell unsterilized live seed, but are able to produce ALL of other products from live seed, it is just the whole seed we must sterilize.

Issue of Phytic Acid

Raw nuts that have not been soaked or dried may still contain large amounts of phytic acid, which inhibits the digestion of the nutrients in nuts. Phytic acid can also interfere with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc and keeps enzymes in an inactive state, according to Natural Bias. Soaking raw nuts before eating them makes them more nutritionally valuable as well as more easily digestible.

Added Oils in Roasted Nuts              

Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Roasted nuts contain added oils that can add not only calories but also more saturated fats, which increase rather than decrease the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. Roasting can add an additional 10 percent of fat to nuts, according to Lisa Gaetke of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Superfund Research Program Community Outreach Core.

Roasted nuts also have salt or other flavorings or preservatives added. Additional sodium can raise your blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease. Preservatives add no nutritional value beyond increasing the shelf-life of a product.


Roasting can cause acrylamide, a toxin known to cause cancer in laboratory animals, to form in some roasted nuts, particularly those that contain free asparagine, an amino acid, such as almonds. The higher the roasting temperature, the higher the acrylamide content, according to a Swiss study reported in the September 2005 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.”

Read more:

Roasted Road Map… how it actually is processed?      

To steam sterilize, seeds are not cooked to the point of killing bacteria. Instead, they are brought to a temperature of 160°F for 5 minutes and then cooled. This is hot enough to alter some of the enzymes necessary for photosynthesis. If the seeds were cooked any further, the seed coats would break, allowing the reactive oils to go rancid quickly. As it is, the shelf life of the cooked seeds is compromised. The heat opens micro fissures in the hull that allow oxygen to penetrate into the delicate kernels. Live seeds can sprout after being kept in a drawer for five years, but cooked seeds can go rancid in a few months, especially if not refrigerated.

Robert Stroud, the ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’, became an expert on birds and wrote about them in 1939. The book, Diseases of Birds, still stands as an authority. Stroud mentioned how nutritious hemp seeds were, but expressed frustration with the ‘sterilized’ seeds that were coming on the market as a result of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. He called them “rancid trash”.

All foodstuffs, every spice, every grain of rice, including hemp seeds, brought into the US is fumigated to kill all insects and other plant pests. This not only diminishes the freshness but also significantly reduces the nutrient content. Adding insult to injury, the government also requires that these items be fumigated with methyl bromide – a toxic substance to both humans and animals.

Concerns in the Environment?

Methylene bromide works like carbon dioxide by suffocating all living matter. It is inert enough that it does not react with the seeds and dissipates into the air. The major problem with it is that it travels into the upper atmosphere, where it depletes the ozone. However, the amount of methylene bromide used as a fumigant is a tiny fraction of what is used for tenting, houses, and agricultural fields.

As of 2005, the US will be completing its scheduled phasing-out period for the use of methyl bromide, with the exception of what they deem as necessary use.

Websites worthy of your attention on the topic of Roasted.

Ozone Depletion Rules and Regulations — This site tells about the phasing out schedule and the “necessary” items.

Campon Millennium Chemicals — This site gives more information on methyl bromide.