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Casein protein vs whey protein

Before the casein protein vs whey protein question, I remember the days of yore when I first started going to the gym. I knew I had to buy protein powder, that was just common sense and a rule.

“Kid if you want to get big, you need to buy yourself some protein powder!” So of course I asked around and everyone told me to get whey protein since it was the best, it was fast-acting, easy digested, and cured every disease known to man, since it was apparently magical.

A while later when I dug deeper I found out about its nemesis aka casein protein, it was everything whey wasn’t, slow-acting, hard to digest since it formed a clump in your stomach.

I was at a crossroad, I didn’t know what I should use when I had to pick between casein protein vs whey protein, would I go the way of the force or the dark side.

I was where you are now since you searched about this topic. But some time has passed since then and I had made my decision, and I will help you make yours!

casein protein vs whey protein
Who would you wager on?


  1. Causes a bigger “anabolic spike”, due to more leucine content and faster digestion (Frid, Nilsson, Holst, Björck, 2005).
  2. Contains a higher amount of BCAA per serving.
  3. Tastes better and comes in more flavors (non-performance relevance)


  1. It’s slow to digest, clots in the stomach and appears to be anti-catabolic due to this effect. It has a sustained slow release of amino acids (all not just BCAA) into the bloodstream, lasting up to seven hours (Boirie, Dangin, Gachon, Vasson, Maubois, Beaufrère, 1997).
  2. It contains a high amount of dairy calcium, which is important for bone health and body re-composition effects, as calcium plays a major role in fat loss (Shapses, Heshka, Heymsfield, 2004); (Zemel, Thompson, Milstead, Morris, Campbell, 2004).
  3. Coagulates when you add liquid so you can make it into a protein pudding (non-performance relevance)


Casein protein vs whey protein – who won? Where two are fighting the third wins. I would by my own experience recommend a nature’s blend of 2:8, meaning that your powder or shake contains 20% whey and 80% casein, the funny thing is, the same ratio of protein is found in milk.

Mother Nature knows more than us and as it seems has perfected the best protein ratio for muscle gain.

The combination of slow-acting casein and fast-acting whey maximizes both total, as well as, essential amino acid levels over a longer time period of up to 7 hours, while whey-induced anabolic leucine spike kicks starts muscle protein synthesis (Kanda et al., 2016).

So regardless if you plan on using it pre-workout, post-workout, during the day or before bed. Casein protein vs whey protein is not the question, nor the answer.

In all of these situations, I recommend taking a milk protein blend since you get the best of both worlds as they complement each other very well.


  1. Frid, A. H., Nilsson, M., Holst, J. J., & Björck, I. M. (2005). Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic subjects.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition82(1), 69-75. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/1/69.short
  2. Boirie, Y., Dangin, M., Gachon, P., Vasson, M. P., Maubois, J. L., & Beaufrère, B. (1997). Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 94(26), 14930-14935. http://www.pnas.org/content/94/26/14930.short
  3. Shapses, S. A., Heshka, S., & Heymsfield, S. B. (2004). Effect of calcium supplementation on weight and fat loss in women.The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism89(2), 632-637. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-abstract/89/2/632/2840768/Effect-of-Calcium-Supplementation-on-Weight-and?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  4. Zemel, M. B., Thompson, W., Milstead, A., Morris, K., & Campbell, P. (2004). Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults.Obesity12(4), 582-590. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2004.67/full
  5. Kanda, A., Nakayama, K., Sanbongi, C., Nagata, M., Ikegami, S., & Itoh, H. (2016). Effects of whey, caseinate, or milk protein ingestion on muscle protein synthesis after exercise.Nutrients8(6), 339. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/6/339/htm
  6. Kerksick, C. M., Rasmussen, C. J., Lancaster, S. L., Magu, B., Smith, P., Melton, C., … & Kreider, R. B. (2006). The effects of protein and amino acid supplementation on performance and training adaptations during ten weeks of resistance training.The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research20(3), 643-653. http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2006/08000/The_Effects_of_Protein_and_Amino_Acid.28.aspx

Author: Ivan Vlahinić

I am not a scientist. But i don’t have to be a scientist to be able to deftly use the scientific method in your daily life. In fact, you can be one helluva ‘thinker’ (in the scientific sense) and not be a scientist. For instance, nutritionists and personal trainers like me, who use and embrace science and the scientific method are better trainers because of it. Why? Because rather than just being a parrot and telling my clients what to do, because that’s what I have been told when I was younger I understand the "why" of my advice. And if I dont? Then I fully admit that i don't, and that's fine. The more you learn in the field of fitness and nutrition, the more you realize there is a lot of stuff that you dont know. But this is something that is true of all fields of work or life. The scientific method is the single most powerful way of thinking, that's why I embrace it. Anecdotes are nice, but data and facts trumps anecdotes.

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