Overshadowed by the more popular and supposedly more “effective” whey protein, casein is most of the time forgotten about when discussing the dairy protein family. Even though it makes up 80% of the protein in milk, it is set aside by its 20% brother whey. Why is that? But also, what is casein protein powder? We will indeed answer both those questions along with the major differences between casein protein powder and whey protein powder. To start off…
What is “Casein” Protein?
Derived from the creation of cheese, casein, and whey make up the protein in milk. (If you’d like to know about whey, click here). Containing all 9 essential amino acids for our body, casein is a complete protein. The main use of casein protein powder is to build muscle along with its bigger brother whey. Many benefits are found to be similar comparing the dairy proteins, however, there is one main difference that separates the two into their own respective categories…
The border separating these two is their own digestibility properties. Whey protein powder digests rather quickly and only takes about an hour to pump into your bloodstream after said digestion. Your amino acid levels are also spiked through the roof once digested. Even though casein protein reaches the bloodstream at the same time as whey, the spike in amino acid levels is different.
Casein protein powder lasts much longer in your bloodstream than whey. The time it takes for the whey protein to dissolve is about 3 hours while it takes casein a whole 8 hours. For this, many people consume whey protein powder right after their workout to instantly blast their muscles into protein synthesis. Casein, on the other hand, is taken generally before bed due to its longer digestion. For this reason, you would think whey is much superior. However, their digestion rates both have their respective benefit.
Whey contains more of the amino acid leucine, responsible for protein synthesis, and therefore, more gains. Casein has a property of protein perseverance or resistance to protein breakdown, protecting the muscles from muscle atrophy. As casein has a slower and longer release of protein, it maintains, and may, increase lean muscle mass. Whey is incapable of protein perseverance due to its fast nature of dissolving after its high spike in amino acid levels. Despite the two respective benefits, whey it perceived as the more superior powder…
Why is Whey the Favorite?
Acknowledging the similarities the two proteins have, one factor makes one seem more appealing. Whey protein builds more muscle faster.
That’s the bottom line, casein protein does, in fact, build muscle. However, whey, according to studies, builds muscle quicker than casein due to its fast absorption. Casein is more desirable for building muscle in the long run, while whey as it centered for short term muscle building. For that reason, people like the idea of building muscle quicker, and favor whey. Besides that main factor, smaller factors may have an impact on picking a protein on a more personal level…
Casein is known to have not the fairest of taste. The texture for casein is said to be thick and not a flavor most people enjoy. It seems like people rather have their casein protein from other foods. (butter, cheese, ice cream) Whey has a much favorable flavor, not to mention it is much easier to digest than casein. Why is it easier to digest? Click here to find out.
Casein can be on the pricier side compared to whey. Let’s take a look at one of the most trusted companies with solid protein powders, Optimum Nutrition. Comparing their gold standard proteins, your whey protein powder would come out at about $12 per lb of protein powder, ( $60 for the 5lb bag) and your casein protein powder would come out at about $15 per lb of protein powder ($75 for the 5lb bag). As you can see, the whey protein is cheaper with a faster rate of muscle building, perfect for the public.
Although it may seem that casein protein does not live up to its bigger brother whey, casein is still a respected supplement. Many benefits still come with the protein that even whey is incapable of offering. Let me know your thoughts on a casein protein powder or any questions you may have.