Whey vs. Casein: What's the Difference?
Whether you’re looking to build lean muscle mass, speed up recovery, or improve your overall body composition, chances are you’ve heard a thing or two about protein shakes.
Protein shakes have become ubiquitous in the fitness world, a creamy drink made by mixing protein powder with water (or another liquid). They offer an easy solution for those looking to boost their protein intake.
Today, there are more protein powders on the market than ever before — from hemp and rice to soy and beef. However, only two have stood the test of time, remaining well regarded and popular over the years: whey and casein.
Wondering which protein powder is best for you? We can help. Read on as we compare whey and casein to uncover how they differentiate.
But First, What’s So Special About Protein Anyway?
Most folks know that protein has something to do with muscle. And while it’s certainly true that you do need dietary protein to promote growth, the truth is that there is so much more to it. Like fat and carbohydrates, protein is an essential nutrient your body needs every day to function optimally.
You see, protein plays a significant role in repairing damaged cells and tissue throughout the body. It’s needed to synthesize hormones, make antibodies to fight off infections, and help to keep bones strong. Protein is a part of every single cell in the body and has a part in many bodily processes, including:
- Fluid balance
- Immune system responses
- Blood clotting
Over time, a lack of protein in your diet can cause you to lose muscle, which in turn reduces your strength, makes it challenging to keep your balance, and slows your metabolism.
In addition, when you don’t get enough protein to fuel your brain and organs, your body will naturally borrow from other areas—including the storage in your skeletal muscle tissue. Without the support of strong skeletal muscle tissue in the body, your bones are much more susceptible to injuries like breaks and fractures.
Needless to say, protein is pretty important!
Why Are Protein Shakes So Popular?
Did you know that the average healthy adult needs around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day? Yup, it’s true — and those who engage in strenuous exercise multiple times a week need even more protein, roughly 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
So, with this simple formula in mind, a sedentary individual weighing 75 kilograms, or 165 pounds, would need to aim for 60 grams of protein per day. While consuming that much protein from healthy whole foods might be difficult, a nutritious protein shake is an excellent way to ensure you’re reaching your intake target.
Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Dietary Protein From Your Diet
While it’s true that you can get protein from your diet, according to a recent study, a whopping 94 percent of American diets fall short of the daily dietary recommendations. Over three million people are not fueling their bodies with the nutrition they need to function at their best.
Some of the surefire signs that you’re diet is lacking in the protein department include:
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Bone injuries
- Slow recovery
- Poor immune function
- Mood changes
- Brittle hair and nails
- Flaky skin
- Brain fog
While all of these symptoms can surely wreak havoc on your life, a simple way to keep your body in tip-top shape is by adding a high-quality protein shake to your daily routine.
Look for a great protein powder made with clean ingredients and nothing artificial — like our undeniably delicious Cookies and Cream Precision ISO Protein.
Designed to build lean muscle and strength while fueling recovery, this phenomenal tasting protein will nourish your body from head to toe. And the best part? Just one scoop is all that’s needed for most people to reach more than half of their recommended dietary protein intake.
Whey vs. Casein: The Ultimate Showdown
Now that you know the importance of protein, let’s dive into whey and casein, shall we?
What Is Whey Protein?
Among the most widely consumed types of protein on the planet, whey makes up roughly 20 percent of the protein found in dairy milk and is a by-product of cheese production.
When milk is heated and acid or a special enzyme is added, the milk separates into two components: liquid whey and solid curds of casein. The liquid whey is extracted and made into a powder — aka, whey protein powder.
What Is Casein Protein?
The solid curds of casein, on the other hand, make up 80 percent of the protein found in dairy milk. Similar to liquid whey, these curds are dried and turned into a casein protein powder supplement.
How Are They Different?
Whey and casein share quite a few similarities; they are both high-quality proteins found in cow’s milk and contain all of the essential amino acids. In addition, the two types of protein are easily digested and absorbed by the body. This, however, is where the similarities end.
When consumed, the different types of whey and casein digest at different rates. Casein protein takes much longer to digest than its counterpart. We’ll explain:
In most cases, whey protein takes only 20 minutes to be digested, absorbed into the bloodstream, taken up by bodily tissues, and metabolized. The fast-digesting protein will have been used up for protein synthesis or oxidation within an hour after consumption.
On the flip side, when you consume casein, you’ll reach a peak in blood amino acids and protein synthesis between three to four hours.
While both proteins are rich in amino acids, whey is considered better for muscle building. It is best to take it immediately after a rigorous workout. In contrast, casein is helpful to reduce muscle breakdown and is perfect for drinking right before bed or first thing in the morning.
Is It Safe To Take Both?
Absolutely! In fact, using both proteins combined at different times of the day can help immensely on your fitness journey.
Supplementing whey during or after your workout will help fuel your muscles quickly due to its rapid-digesting nature, and drinking casein before hitting the hay is a great way to combat muscle breakdown while sleeping.
Just keep in mind that not all protein powders are created equal —avoid purchasing a supplement loaded with fillers and icky ingredients that can hinder your progress.
Not sure where to find a top-notch protein powder? Check out our Precision ISO Protein — made with premium ingredients sourced from pasture-fed cows with untreated antibiotics. In each scoop, you’ll find 27 grams of premium protein and absolutely no sugar or fillers. Designed to nourish your body with essential nutrients to aid in reaching your fitness and physique endeavors, Precision ISO is like no other protein on the market.
A Final Word
So, what’s the difference between whey and casein, you ask?
In a nutshell, the two popular protein types differ in how the body digests them — whey digests quickly and is ideal for workouts and muscle growth, while casein digests slowly, making it suitable before bedtime to reduce muscle breakdown.
To maintain steady protein levels while also ensuring quick muscle building, we recommend incorporating both types of protein into your daily routine. Not sure where to get high-quality protein powder? Check out our Precision ISO Whey Protein as well as our Precision Blend Time Release Protein.
Masterfully crafted with premium ingredients and nothing artificial, you can count on the pioneers of the Grass Fed/Pasture-Fed movement to provide you with not only the cleanest products on the market but some of the most advanced (and delicious!) flavors in the industry.
With BioHealth, your choice is always simple, your nutrition is second-to-none, and your body is better than yesterday. Try our innovative high-performance products today and reach your goals tomorrow.
The digestion rate of protein is an independent regulating factor of postprandial protein retention | American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism
Independent and combined effects of amino acids and glucose after resistance exercise | PubMed
America's Nutrition Gap: Although 60% Of Americans Report They Eat A "Very Healthy" Diet, 94% Fall Short Of Daily Recommendations | PRNEWSWIRE