Protein is one of the three crucial macronutrients required for optimal function and growth of human body. One of the primary tasks of protein is to provide the foundation for new muscle. In the absence of adequate protein, performing day-to-day task would get difficult, let alone bodybuilding.
For bodybuilders and athletes, protein plays a vital role in their growth and recovery of skeletal muscles. Whether you are an aspiring bodybuilder trying to get big this winter or an athlete preparing for upcoming sporting events, protein ingestion is very crucial for you to achieve your goals. Previously, I outlined the Benefits of Whey protein and Benefits of Casein Protein in two different articles. Well, in this article, along with difference between whey and casein, we will also see some of the major factors that will decide which protein has the cutting edge in this clash of casein protein vs whey protein.
What is Whey Protein?
Nearly 20% of the milk protein is Whey Protein. It is obtained as a liquid by-product during the production of cheese. Whey Protein is widely used as a dietary supplement to aid muscle growth, enhance recovery and achieve daily protein goals. It is also an immune booster containing high amounts of vitamins and minerals. According to its protein content, whey is further classified into concentrate, isolate and, hydrolysate protein.
Best Time to take Whey Protein
Because of its fast-absorbing and amino-spiking properties, whey protein is most helpful when consumed before and after a training session.
What is Casein Protein?
Besides whey, the remaining 80% of the milk protein is Casein Protein. It is a relatively insoluble type of protein that has high amino acid content. Casein Protein is known for its slow and sustained supply of amino acids into the blood stream, and hence it is often known as slow-digesting protein. Due to its anti-catabolic properties, casein is a good choice to reduce muscle breakdown.
Best Time to take Casein Protein
Because of its slow-digesting nature and anti-catabolic properties, casein protein is most beneficial before bedtime and as a meal replacement drink.
Casein vs Whey – Protein Synthesis and Muscle Growth
As I mentioned previously, whey protein is a fast-digesting protein which means it is flushed off from the stomach rapidly and thereby resulting in a quick and large hike in plasma amino acid content. This triggers a fast and temporary increase in muscle protein synthesis without affecting protein breakdown in the muscles.
A study has demonstrated that ingesting repeated dosage of whey protein increases protein synthesis rates and thus maintaining stronger response on muscle protein synthesis.
Apart from this, whey contains almost 20% more Leucine (a muscle-building amino acid) than casein protein. A study conducted by Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University proved that to achieve high rates of muscle protein synthesis, it is very necessary to consume a high-leucine containing protein like whey protein after a workout. The author of the study of casein vs whey was of the final opinion that whey protein was found to be better to casein protein in terms of stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
Casein vs Whey – Satiety and Weight Loss
Put simply, casein protein is obtained in the form of a gelatinous structure during the processing of milk. This gelatinous material so formed acts a base for casein’s slow-digesting properties and steady amino acid release.
Infact, these properties make casein protein a good weight loss supplement choice. Here’s why – Back in 1997, a study aimed to assess the effects of slow and fast dietary protein on postprandial protein accretion gave 30 grams of either whey or casein to each subject and conducted several tests for anabolic and catabolic effect for 7 hours after the meal. It was later found out that although whey protein resulted in a rapid hike in muscle protein synthesis, but it was short-lived. Casein Protein, on the contrary, had shown 34% reduction in muscle protein breakdown along with positive net protein balance. Besides, casein’s slow-digesting nature attributed to a delayed gastric emptying.
Another similar study showed that an increase in casein intake by two and half times led to 33% increase in satiety levels. Increased satiety levels may prove very helpful for people trying to lose weight.
Whey Protein vs Casein Protein – Best Together
Since whey protein is responsible for the abrupt hike in muscle protein synthesis rates and casein protein playing an effective role in decreasing muscle protein breakdown, science says that a blend of both would be optimal for muscle growth and recovery.
The efficacy of taking casein and whey together on muscle strength and performance was confirmed by a recent study in which untrained male subjects participated in a ten-week resistance training program. All the subjects were given either 40 grams of carbohydrate or 40 grams of casein and whey protein blend. The timing of the supplementation was 60 minutes before the workout and immediately post-exercise. Surprisingly, a combination of whey and casein protein showed to increase muscle strength, lean muscle mass, and anabolic hormones.
Quite similar results were obtained from this study wherein subjects were given either 25 grams of carbs or 25 grams of whey and casein blend before and immediately after the workout. The group of subjects who took whey and casein protein together had a significant positive result in muscle fiber size compared to the subjects on carbohydrate supplementation.
Whey vs Casein – The Final Word
Ideally, people take whey protein as the first thing in the morning and in their pre, and post-workout shakes and casein usually occupy the before bedtime spot. You can even prepare whey protein shake in milk instead of water to get the benefits of both and whey and casein.Wrapping it up for this article, in my opinion, and of course, as studies have shown in the battle of whey vs casein protein, when taken together they can produce surreal fitness results.
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