Protein supplements are one of the supplements that have enough credible data supporting its benefits and safety when it comes to muscle building properties. It is one of the supplements that make my list of the 'only' supplements you will ever need. You can read that piece here.
Now though protein supplements are beneficial, there is still a lot of confusion among people as they are flooded with different types of protein choices when they go to buy it from a store or online. As per the data present currently, the protein derived from milk, especially Whey and Casein protein have proven to be more beneficial compared to other plant and animal sources of protein supplements.
That is because, in comparison to other protein sources, whey and casein have higher essential amino acids and thus promote more muscle protein synthesis.
Let's compare Whey and Casein and decide which protein is better for muscle growth.
A few properties of Whey:
1. A faster-digesting form of protein.
2. Rapidly increases muscle protein synthesis for a short period.
3. Slightly higher leucine content.
A few properties of Casein:
1. A slower-digesting form of protein.
2. Slowly increases muscle protein synthesis for a relatively long period of time.
Let's ask an important question first. Do you really need protein shakes? The short answer to that would be a resounding no. A relatively context based answer to the question would be the classic 'it depends.'
Taking a protein supplement has certain benefits:
1. It does not need much preparation.
2. It is easier to consume on the go.
3. It can be conveniently carried with you.
4. It is a smart addition to a protein-deficient nutrition regime.
If your goal is maximal muscle gain or maximal muscle retention while losing fat, research suggests that protein intakes between 1.6 grams to 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight are beneficial. To finetune this further, the protein should be spread in 4-5 meals for the day. If you can get this protein by food sources alone, there is no need to consume protein shakes. But if you fail to do so, they can be a great addition. As whey protein is a faster-digesting source of protein, it can be a great source of protein as soon as you wake up or after your workout considering you have not had a protein meal a few hours or just before your workout.
It will rapidly spike muscle protein synthesis and that in-turn will benefit you with either muscle gain or retention based on your overall nutrition and body composition goals. On the other hand, casein, being a slower-digesting protein can be a great addition before bed. As it is a sustained release protein, it will ensure that your muscle protein synthesis stays elevated for hours into sleep.
Whey has anabolic properties aka it helps with muscle building whereas Casein has anti-catabolic properties aka it helps with muscle preservation. Both these supplements can be an addition to your routine and none of them are mandatory supplements to consume. You can do just well without them.
Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company. He is regarded as someone who will make it easy for you to understand the process by putting things in the right context and providing science-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.