Why Did The Air Force Ban Greek Yogurt?

A bowl of greek yogurt sitting on a blue surfaceWait a minute. We’re constantly told how good yogurt is for us, so what could possibly be wrong with this protein-packed superfood?

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Well there’s one particular brand which has gotten itself into some hot water. Actually, it’s not the yogurt per se, but one tiny ingredient: Hemp seeds, which contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient also found in marijuana. In 1999, the Air Force added hemp seed oil and hemp seed products to a list of forbidden substances over concern that they may interfere with drug tests given to service members.

Chobani’s Blueberry Power Flip flavor has been banned, confirmed the Air Force. The ban comes in fear of the product’s hemp seeds that are believed to have traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient that is found in marijuana. Hemp seed oil products and hemp seeds were added to the list of forbidden substances in 1999 by the Air Force after concerns that these products could meddle with drug testing results of service members.

“The Air Force has not restricted military members from consuming Chobani Greek yogurt; rather, only Chobani yogurt that contains hemp seed or hemp seed oil is prohibited, just as any product which contains or is derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oil is prohibited,” said Capt. Adam Koudelka, legal adviser for the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory in Texas, the Air Force Times reports.

Service members who fail to abide by the Air Force’s regulations are committing a violation of Article 92, UCMJ, which clearly underlines that products made with hemp seeds and hemp seed oil contain various levels of THC that are detectable in military drug tests and are therefore prohibited for ingestion.

Are Hemp Seeds Safe To Eat Otherwise?

The nutritional value in hemp seeds, compared to other seeds, is based on the composition of its oil and protein that contain all the essential amino acids. These seeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can significantly reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke. Healthcare professionals in the medical field consider hemp seeds to be a power food because of its endless nutritional benefits, despite its cannabis classification.

There’s a key difference, however, between the hemp seeds you’d find in a health food store and marijuana leaves you’d find in, say, a batch of special brownies: Hemp seeds (which are legal) come from a variant of the Cannabis sativa plant that produces approximately 1% THC, while marijuana comes from a variant that’s cultivated to produce anywhere from 1% to 20% THC.

What makes me the most disappointed about this rule is that hemp seeds are so good for you. The only high you’d be getting from them is a nutritional one.

The Benefits Of Hemp Seeds

Among the perks: Hemp contains the healthy omega 3 fatty acid ALA; all essential amino acids (which makes it a source of complete protein); and a boatload of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

1. Plant Based Protein: 30 grams (3 tbsp) of hulled hemp seeds will give you 10 grams of plant based protein. Hemp seeds provide 10 essential amino acids.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Most people aren’t getting enough of those awesome natural anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are a great source of those essential omega-3s.

3. Fiber: You get 1 gram of fiber for each tablespoon of hemp seeds you eat.

4. It’s Hypoallergenic: If you’re gluten, soy, nut or dairy sensitive, hemp makes for a good allergy-free alternative.

5. It’s Full of Fabulous Nutrients: Looking for more magnesium, manganese, zinc, calcium, iron and B vitamins? It’s time to sprinkle on that hemp.