When someone says they take or drink protein shakes, 99% of the time they’re talking about whey protein. Whey is a great, fast absorbing protein, and probably the most popular protein supplement. This brings me to Whey’s long lost brother: Casein Protein. If you ask the average person in the gym what is Casein, and do you need it, they will probably give you a blank stare and walk away. However, they are missing out on one of the most important protein sources available.
What Is Casein Protein?
Casein Protein is a slow digesting and extremely rich protein that continually feeds your muscles long after whey proteins have been digested and dropped off. Many studies have shown Casein protein sustains steady amino acid levels for up to 7 hours after consumption. Casein protein has been shown to provide a strong anti-catabolic effect not noticed with fast digesting whey protein.
Casein Protein vs. Whey protein – What’s the Difference?
Whey protein is a fast digesting form of protein and increases protein synthesis to a very high degree, much higher then casein protein. However, scientists are now finding out that casein protein can actually prevent muscle breakdown. As stated above, Casein is extremely slow digesting and releases protein and amino acids slowly which prevents muscle catabolism over a sustained period of 7 hours.
Casein is not intended to replace whey protein, but should be strategically used with it.
How to use Casein protein in your daily nutrition plan:
As previously mentioned, casein is best used with whey. Because casein is slow digesting, it’s should not be taken post-workout (that’s Whey’s job). Therefore, the best time to use casein protein is immediately before bed and during the day for a snack - ideally not within an our before or after a workout. Casein is commonly known as the “bedtime” protein, as many people consume it right before bed due to its slow digesting properties and effect it has on keeping one in an anabolic state throughout the night. Casein can also be used as a meal replacement.
A Slow release protein at night is very important
Serious athletes know the importance of nutrition frequency, and that a significant amount of of muscle repairing and rebuilding takes place during while at rest. For the best muscle recovery, the body needs a constant supply of nutrients, and most importantly, protein. It has been shown that taking whey protein before bed will leave the body depleted of a protein source after only 45 minutes. In contract, Casein will provide the body with a protein source for up to 7 hours. This greatly reduces muscular catabolism, promotes an anabolic state which aids fat loss and muscle gains.
Whole Foods That Contain Casein
You do not need to purchase Casein protein powder to consume casein protein. Some very common foods contain casein protein and can be consumed before bed to achieve the same effect (especially if you’re on a tight budget). Typically the most common whole-food casein source is cottage cheese.
- cottage cheese