As opposed to hemp seeds, hemp hearts have their tough outer shells removed. As hemp shells are quite crunchy, stripping the hemp seed of its hull creates a more palatable product; however, removing the nutrient and fiber-rich hulls results in a less nutritious finished product.
Hemp hearts come under a variety of monikers including hulled hemp seed, shelled hemp seed and hemp nut. Removing the hull of the hemp seed causes several detrimental effects to the nutritious whole seed. Loss of the hull, a source of trace minerals and rare insoluble fiber, strips the hemp seed of many of its heath-boosting qualities. Both the insoluble fiber and the trace minerals present in the hulls aid in gentle cleansing of the colon and flushing of toxins from the digestive system as a whole. Whole hemp seed is also significantly more shelf-stable than hulled hemp hearts.
While removal of the hemp hull results in some nutrient gain, such as increasing the overall percentage of protein given the removed fiber, these benefits are outweighed by the negatives of the hulling process. Despite the lower nutritional value, hemp hearts still pack a heavy nutritional load, so consuming hemp seeds of any form is beneficial.