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Casein Protein vs. Whey Protein

PM Protein                                                                   **Nutrition Facts**                                                 100% Casein Protein

I am a bit ashamed I didn’t do more research and read the label of my PM Protein before now! Better late than never I guess.  Turns out the old PM Protein at GNC was actually half Casein Protein and half Whey Protein. I had no idea!  I thought it was completely Caseinate Protein! Well, GNC has discontinued their PM Protein… I think.  My local store does not carry the Vanilla Caramel but they still have the Chocolate. I show them both online though!  (BTW, the vanilla caramel was the only tolerable tasting flavor…the chocolate tasted metallic!  Instead of or along with the PM Protein, GNC has a new protein called 100% Casein Protein, which I just bought this week.  I’ve included the labels above and the links below in “resources.” The 100% Casein is quite a bit lower in calories in total for the scoop but beware as it is a bit higher in calories per protein gram but there is more protein per gram for the Casein Protein.  I tried both flavors of 100% Casein Protein by GNC and I liked the Vanilla best….although it’s crazy because it smells and tastes like a candle which makes me wonder, every time I drink it, how many chemicals am I ingesting????

PM Protein          –      1.6 g protein per g weight       –      6 calories per protein gram

Casein Protein    –      1.25 g protein per g weight     –      4.75 calories per protein gram

What is the difference between Casein Protein and Whey Protein?

“Casein protein (pronounced kay-seen) is the predominant protein found in milk. It makes up about 80% of the protein in cow’s milk, while the remaining 20% of protein in milk is whey. Casein protein has an excellent amino acid profile and is primarily known as an extremely slow-digesting protein. Casein protein is a slow-digesting protein because it forms a gel in the gut, which results in a steady release of amino acids into the blood stream over time. Research shows that when you consume casein, you will reach a peak in blood amino acids and protein synthesis between three to four hours. The total release of amino acids in the bloodstream, however, can last as long as 7 hours after ingestion of casein protein! In other words, it’s an awesome muscle-sparing protein. Muscle growth is dependent on the balance of protein synthesis and protein breakdown. To tip the balance in your favor, you want to increase protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown. You can achieve this by supplementing with whey protein (fast absorption/promotes protein synthesis) and casein protein (slow absorption/suppresses protein breakdown).

“Whey protein in comparison, reaches a peak in blood amino acids and protein synthesis in about forty minutes and the total release ends in about an hour.”

“Casein protein is the only protein you should be taking before going to sleep. The reason is because your body needs to be sustained for six to eight hours during your sleep without food. You don’t want your hard-earned muscle being broken down in your sleep, so a protein that is slowly released over time is best. If you took whey protein before going to bed, it would do very little since whey is absorbed and used within an hour.

“Whey protein should be used first thing in the morning and after workouts. If you have to go more than three hours without food during the day or are taking a protein shake as a meal replacement, you should use a blend of whey and casein, about 50/50. This will give you a quick shot of protein and a sustained release of protein to carry you through to your next meal. Finally, if you are eating every two to three hours, you can use whey protein by itself in between meals.”

What’s funny is that this information is also helpful for pregnant women who struggle with keeping their stomachs full!  I shared some of this info with my BFF when she was pregnant.  WARNING: I have not researched if these powders are healthy during pregnancy!!!  Please check with your doctor before taking any supplements.  If you have any resources on this (what protein powders, if any, are ok for pregnancy) let me know!!! But, there are sources of casein proteins in foods….

At night I have some casein protein powder mixed with water along with cottage cheese, which a great food source of a casein protein.  It should be the low or no fat variety. I prefer the 2% Milk versions. Milk is another good source of casein as it is 80% casein and 20% whey proteins.  I also have casein protein on the days that don’t eat carbs. Please use supplements sparingly!  You will never feel as full from supplements as you do from real foods!  I have whey protein powder immediately after I work out with some simple sugars.  These are the ONLY times I supplement with protein powders!

Personally, I don’t use soy protein, but would love our input on it!  My hubby went to Vitamin Shoppe recently (he cheated on GNC and loved it) and found that they are heavily marketing the combination, 50/50 Casein/Whey Proteins!

Comment on any other options and ideas you all have!



whey gold - really interesting article – ive been taking and writing about supplements for a while and didnt bother researching the difference between casiein and whey. Ive always gone for whey myself personally and been having it before sleep too. ill have to stock up on some casein now though.
Thanks for that !

Shelly - I personally can’t stand the taste of most protein powders. It’s amazing what they think chocolate is supposed to taste like! And I don’t want to know how many chemicals are in some of those things. I just prefer to have unflavored protein powder. I feel like I get more value, because I’m paying for pure protein, not the artificial ingredients and chemicals. has a great whey protein powder. I also find that mixing some in with a glass of milk is pretty sufficient for the times before I go to bed. Oh, and it’s true that for most women, protein supplements can be very beneficial during pregnancy.

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