Thanks to the increased awareness about getting lean and staying fit, there are numerous types of protein powders available in the market. As it is quite popular among fitness enthusiasts and gym goers, the problem arises when you need to pick one as per your requirement. While there are numerous sites and studies that claim one is better than the other and of course, you have your trainer to help with the nitty-gritty of diet and weight management plan, it goes without saying that you also have to be equally informed about what is good for your health and overall body.
As casein and whey protein are quite common and widely popular protein powders, one question that most people have is — which is a healthier option of the two for weight loss and management. Although these two protein powders are derived from milk, there is a vast difference when it comes to health benefits. So in this article, we shed light on the benefits of whey protein and casein protein and details on how to pick the best of the lot based on your needs.
What is Casein and Whey Protein?
Casein is a common protein found in cow’s milk which constitutes around 80% of the milk protein. Just like casein, whey protein is also a protein obtained from cow’s milk and make up around 20% of milk protein. Both these proteins are considered to be of a high quality due to the presence of essential amino acids, which are the basic compounds needed for protein synthesis.
In simple terms, when milk is heated and enzymes are added during the process of cheese formation, the coagulated form (solid form) that you get is casein whereas the liquid form is whey protein. Both casein and whey are washed and dried to obtain in powdered form. These are either commercially available or added to dietary supplements or products.
Casein Vs Whey Protein: Which Is Better?
Casein protein contains bioactive peptides which play a key role in boosting your immunity and promoting digestive health. It also contains compounds which help in controlling your blood pressure thereby keeping your heart healthy. On the other hand, whey protein contains immunoglobulins which also help in improving your immune health and lowering your risk of infections. It also contains antioxidants which help in flushing harmful toxins from the body. Moreover, whey protein contains compounds which aid in the absorption of nutrients such as iron.
Although there are several health benefits of casein and whey protein, these proteins are most widely used by people to build muscle and lose weight. So if you are wondering which type of protein is good for workouts and muscle strength, then here is what you need to know.
Whey protein is considered as a healthier option to build muscle mass as it contains more number of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) as compared to casein such as leucine, isoleucine and valine. Another interesting factor to know about is that whey protein has high leucine content. Leucine is an essential amino acid which helps in kick starting the protein synthesis. As a result it helps in obtaining muscle growth and maintaining your weight. For best results, make whey protein an integral part of your workout diet.
Casein or Whey Protein: What To Keep in Mind
As far as the nutrient profile is considered, both whey protein and casein protein provide almost the same nutrients. A standard scoop (which weighs around 30 gms) of whey protein and casein protein provide approximately the same amount of calories, protein and fats. However, to get a clear idea, it is wise to read the label on the products before buying as the nutritional content may differ in some cases.
Whey protein is usually taken after workouts whereas casein is recommended to take before bed for maximum results. It is advised to add your protein powder to a glass of water or milk and not the liquid to the powder to ensure the powder mixes properly and gives you a smooth consistency. Casein protein is generally slightly more expensive than whey protein. There are protein blends which are available in the market that contain a combination of whey and casein protein. You can get in touch with your trainer or a doctor to know what type of protein best suits your nutritional and body requirement before you opt one.
Given the wide array of protein powders available in the market, it becomes difficult for you to pick one and know what is best for you. Casein and whey protein both are derived from milk and contain almost the same nutrients but for people who workout and want to maintain weight and improve muscle mass, whey protein is considered to be the best. However, what really matters is how much protein you consume in a day as proteins are the building blocks of the body. So check your protein intake and do not overload as moderation is the key. Stay healthy and stay active!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
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