Whether you are a hardcore pumper of iron or just someone looking to feel satiated throughout the day, calories derived from protein can keep you adequately fueled to do the things you love. Meats, nuts, and seeds are some of the more obvious muscle-building eats containing protein.

Most of us probably would not opt for a juicy T-bone steak to jumpstart the day or precede that morning workout. Protein powders and drinks are a much more practical way to consume dozens of grams of protein in one sitting. Plus, you can often add fruits, greens, and other supplements to these hearty beverages. Before you begin impetuously filling that virtual shopping cart with smoothie-making materials, however, it is important to choose the right type of protein for your unique training and health goals.

What is the Difference Between Whey and Casein?

Whey and casein supplements are two of the most popular and widely available non-vegetarian protein product offerings on the market today. Each is a complete protein, derived from milk and containing all 20 amino acids needed for proper body function. Whey and casein are often sold side-by-side on store shelves and in identical containers too. So how do you know which to choose?First, factor in what type of activities you plan to do and when you want that

First, factor in what type of activities you plan to do and when you want that protein-energy to become available to you. Whey protein from milk is fast-digesting and able to be utilized by the body very quickly. Thus, whey products may be ideal for quick protein synthesis, energy needed for an upcoming gym session and the muscle recovery taking place inside the body afterward.1

Casein may be the supplement to sustain you longer between meals or over prolonged periods of physical activity. The amino acid profile for casein is slightly different than that of whey, there being an increased amount of the amino acid glutamine. Glutamine is particularly indispensable in helping the body respond to physiological stress, i.e. the physical rigors experienced by triathletes and endurance runners.2  Essentially, if you plan to push yourself, casein sticks with you longer. The protein has a somewhat gelatinous consistency overall. It is synthesized more slowly and its amino acids take longer to break down and release into the bloodstream.1

So Which One is Right for Me?

Overall, considering quick-burst protein energy benefits versus long-term sustainability, it is easy to find room for both types of protein in one’s diet. Many athletes use both proteins in a systematic manner, meeting all daily energy needs while giving muscles adequate nutrition to take a beating and recover stronger.


1Volek, J Whey vs. casein protein. (n.d) retrieved February 22 2017, from Nutrition Express Web Site: https://www.nutritionexpress.com/showarticle.aspx?articleid=787

Wein, D & Miraglia, M Whey Protein vs Casein Protein and Optimal Recovery. (n.d) retrieved February 22 2017, from National Strength and Conditioning Association Web Site: https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/whey-protein-vs-casein-protein-and-optimal-recovery/