Whey versus Casein! The battle of the dairy protein supplements. Arguably the two best-selling protein supplements
on the market, it’s finally time to pit them in a fight for the ages! But… if you were expecting some sort of
brutal and intense showdown, I’m afraid you’ll be… disappointed. Let’s take a closer look at our protein
powerhouses originating from our belly busting bovine buddies. Both are considered complete proteins, containing
all the essential amino acids we humans need, and both are easily digested, where about
97% of all the protein in it will be absorbed by the body. It’s no coincidence that these two protein
brothers have become mighty popular among fitness circles. But, even though they share similar properties,
they don’t exactly share the same benefits. In fact, if you have ever been scrounging
the internet forums or punching in your Google searches, you’ll come to realize that there
are two key differences between whey and casein. One, is their digestion rate. Whey is considered the faster acting protein,
touted for reaching the bloodstream quicker and elevating blood amino acid levels much
higher. But, it begins to dissipate roughly 3 hours
after ingestion. Casein, the slow-acting protein, theoretically
reaches the bloodstream slower due to its curdling effect and release smaller amounts
of protein over time. The benefit, though, is that the protein will
be in the bloodstream for much longer, almost 8 hours after the fact. The other difference is indeed their protein
profile. Although whey and casein are both complete
proteins, they don’t share the same amount of these essential amino acids. The most important is the muscle growth promoting
leucine. Whey naturally has much more leucine, which
*should* help you build more muscle. But, casein protein has more muscle preserving
properties. So, both protein supplements are better than
the other in two aspects of building muscle: Increasing muscle protein synthesis, where
whey takes the cake. And decreasing muscle protein breakdown, where
casein holds the crown. As we can see, there are glaring differences
between the two protein powders. But, does it even really matter? Now studies do clearly show that whey spikes
amino acid levels much higher. But one thing that’s not entirely true is
whey reportedly reaching the blood stream quicker, which can be important. Muscle protein synthesis is stimulated for
a short period of time after an intense workout. To capitalize on this, bodybuilders believe
they have to make sure they get protein immediately! Studies show that whey gets to the bloodstream
roughly an hour after digestion, and that’s pretty fast. But casein has been shown to get to the bloodstream
just as fast as whey. The obvious difference is that whey spikes
protein levels much much higher. So, with this fact, and the fact that muscle
protein synthesis is stimulated significantly after workout, shouldn’t whey still be the
winner? Well, no, not exactly. Remember that although whey does spike blood
amino acid levels very high, it also leaves the blood very quickly. And even though exercise stimulates muscle
protein synthesis significantly for a short amount of time after workout, it still remains
elevated above baseline for up to 36 hours. Pair a moderately elevated muscle building
stimulus with a moderately releasing protein such as casein, you’re bound to build muscle
just as well as whey. But how about leucine levels? Whey does have more, and since leucine is
important for muscle growth, shouldn’t whey clearly be the winner? Other than the fact that casein also has leucine,
and when paired with eating protein from real food sources should be enough leucine anyway,
it still has less than whey on a gram to gram basis. But the studies show that casein users actually
ended with a higher net leucine balance than whey users. But, how can that be? Remember, casein tends to focus on decreasing
protein breakdown. With a theoretically smaller focus on protein
synthesis, casein limits leucine usage, creating a greater impact on net leucine balance, and
possibly saving that leucine to build more muscle over time. But let’s look at the actual studies that
focus on building muscle. In almost unanimous fashion, whey undoubtedly
does a much better job in increasing muscle gains in short periods. But as we start looking at longer studies
that spans more than a few weeks, the differences between the two proteins begin to diminish. Fact of the matter is, yes, you will benefit
from whey more so than casein in short bouts. But in the long run, it doesn’t really matter
which you take. The ONLY variable that has affected overall
muscle gains is the AMOUNT of protein a person is eating. Regardless of whether it’s casein or whey,
or heck, even other protein supplements to a degree, net protein consumption is by far
the most important factor. Of course, that changes if you’re focusing
on certain athletic sports such as endurance running or power lifting, where protein timing
and digestion rate is critical. But for all things muscle building related,
whey and casein are pretty much equal. But if I HAD to choose a winner, then I would
personally go with whey protein. It’s less about muscle growth, but more
so the fact that it’s usually easier to consume, has a better taste profile, and usually
is less expensive. These are factors that you should consider
as well. The best choice is really up to preference. If you’re a whey guy, go whey. If you love casein, then go with casein. If you’re au natural and eat only “REAL”
food, then more power to you. Just don’t let the supplement companies
make you feel like you have to choose a side. Come check out my videos where I cover each
of these protein supplements more in-depth. As always, please like and share if you enjoyed
the video and don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching!