Whey Or Casein, Which Is The Ideal Choice For You?
When we talk about dietary protein one begins with whey or casein, which are the two main proteins extracted from milk, are excellent sources of essential amino acids. But the two differentiate in a few aspects.
Whey or casein? Know the ideal choice
- Proteins provide your body with critical amino acids
- Whey is a fast-digesting protein or a fast acting protein
- Casein contains dairy calcium which is useful for bone health
Protein, protein, protein!
You all must have read about forms of dietary protein, the characteristics, pros and cons of every single form of it, starting from whey to BCAAs, but still must have been stuck while considering which one will be the ideal choice for you. Well, as we all know, proteins provide your body with critical amino acids, promoting the creation of new muscles. These proteins can be consumed in their natural form, present in food items, mainly in dairy products and meat, or in their extracted form, like whey and casein are extracted from milk.
When we talk about dietary protein one begins with whey or casein, which are the two main proteins extracted from milk, are excellent sources of essential amino acids. But the two differentiate in a few aspects. The major difference between the two is the fact that whey is a fast-digesting protein whereas casein is a slow-digesting protein. To decide which of the two is will be the better option, let us take a look into how the two work and what are their attributes:-
In milk, 20% is whey protein.
Whey is a by-product of cheese, while cheese is prepared, a thin liquid is leftover, this liquid is whey protein and is less than 1% protein. When we say whey is a fast-digesting protein or a fast acting protein, it means that it gets fully metabolized in a short span of time. In about 20 to 40 minutes, whey enters your blood, it shows a rapid and large hike in plasma amino acids. In other words, it leads to a fostered yet temporary, because it does not affect muscle breakdown.
Leucine, a potent amino acid in whey helps in stimulating the rate of protein synthesis. Though whey helps in increasing protein synthesis at a quick pace, its positive effects are short-lived. If it is consumed on a regular basis, over a long period of time, it helps maintaining high blood amino acid levels and the constant bursts of protein synthesis helps in maintaining better effects on muscle protein balance.
Whey takes 20 to 40 minutes, post consumption, to reach the highest point of amino acid level in your blood. This is essential because whey fosters the rate of muscle growth in your body, considerably faster than the rate of muscle breakdown. The rate of muscle growth depends on the balance between protein synthesis and muscle breakdown.
So, with whey, you can be sure of an increased rate of muscle but it certainly doesn't have much effect on the rate of muscle breakdown.
80% of milk protein is casein.
Casein, also known as the "slow protein" takes a lot of time to digest. Where whey only takes 20 to 40 minutes to reach the highest point of amino acid level in your blood, casein takes up to 3 or 4 hours to reach that level and get to protein synthesis. As a result, casein is recommended for consumption before going to bed or combined with other meals and protein, so it gets time to get in your blood stream and start working.
But it should not be taken when you are trying to accelerate amino acid absorption. It can lead to problems like gas with people who are lactose intolerant, or even bloating.
Well if it takes so long to start working, why should we consume casein at all?
The fact that casein takes a couple of hours to get in your blood stream is not a bad thing. It has benefits too. Where whey protein had no control over the rate of muscle breakdown, casein lowers muscle breakdown dramatically. Besides this, casein also contains dairy calcium which is useful for bone health and body comp effects too.
Whey VS Casein
The controversial topic as to which one is a better option comes to a point where we need to understand that both these proteins have different but complimentary attributes. Where one form of it acts fast and gets in the blood stream so quickly, the other one is a slow protein, also termed as anti-catabolic. Besides this, another difference is the fact that whey has no impact on muscle breakdown but increases the rate of muscle synthesis, whereas casein lowers muscle breakdown rates.
So, you can make use of both in different ways throughout the day. Whey can be consumed during the day, pre and post workout and casein before going to bed. But if you wish to consume both at the same time, you can combine 20 grams each of the two and have it, one hour before and after your workout. This will fetch you a sustained increase of protein balance.
To conclude, both of these proteins are packed with their own set of pros and cons, but the fact that the two have characteristic reciprocating each other is the reason why you should consume both together but in specific quantities.
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