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Casein and Whey: Born Together, but Hardly Twins


At first blush, the two critical proteins coming from cow’s milk seem like twins, but they are by no means identical.

It’s easy to assume that whey and casein are alike. After all, they both promote muscle mass and weight loss. They both consist of critical amino acids important to the body’s development. And, of course, they are both components of the same product, milk, from the same species of animal.

As many weight trainers and body builders know, however, the two are distinguishable in three ways: 1) how they behave in the digestive tract; 2) how they perform in the realms of weight-loss and lean-retention; and 3) casein contains a higher level of calcium, key to total fat loss when applied to your diet and exercise regimen.

Digestive traits

The two proteins—whey and casein—are digested at different rates. Whey is expunged from the stomach quickly, creating a surge in plasma amino acids that results in a come-and-go burst of protein synthesis. In other words, its superior qualities in helping synthesize protein must be weighed against its duration, which is short.

Effectively, this means that whey must be consumed in close proximity with resistance workout routines to keep the blood’s amino acids focused on synthesizing protein—similar to an eight-hour job worked in two-hour shifts with brief breaks between each one for reenergizing.

Conversely, casein is digested more slowly than whey, mostly because of its increased solubility in water. A gelatinous collection of molecules called micelle is responsible for casein’s ability to better dissolve in water, resulting in a delayed absorption from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood.

Casein, comprising about 80 percent of all proteins in milk, effectively works the long shift without breaks; its release of amino acids into the circulatory system is prolonged and steady. This makes casein less efficient when only consumed immediately after a workout. Its benefits are maximized when ingested throughout the day in addition to your other foods and proteins.

Weight loss and lean retention

Casein, like whey, is crucial to both losing weight and the retention of lean or muscle mass. However, some comparisons between the two indicate that casein helps attain greater fat loss and a higher percentage of lean mass. It must be noted, however, that an average-to-high intake of proteins must be taken during a fitness or weight-loss regimen for either casein or whey to do their respective jobs.

If on a low-calorie diet, you would be best to make sure you are getting enough casein during your fitness and dietary routines in order to supplant that type of diet sufficiently.

The case for calcium

It is not uncommon for those adopting a weight-loss and performance regimen to eschew diets heavy in calcium because they believe it will deter their ultimate goal of muscle-mass retention and weight control. They therefore consciously exclude dairy products from their diets.

They are likely misleading themselves, however. The International Journal of Obesity conducted a study that demonstrated how high calcium dosages over a 24-hour period, accompanied by only a normal protein intake otherwise, increased the volume of fecal fat and energy excretion. The end result: a higher total loss of fat and better mean average of fat to lean.

So, when balanced with other protein intake, calcium can lead to optimal weight-loss and lean retention. Therefore, the integration of casein into your protein equations is critical.

Not just a fitness protein

In case you are wondering, there are other benefits reaped from the inclusion of casein protein into your everyday routine:

–According to research performed in Australia, dairy proteins promote colon health more than proteins from meat or soy.

–A Journal of Nutrition study finds that casein protein essentially has your back if you are not taking in your minimum protein requirements from other sources, because of its sheer potency and its staggered absorption from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood. This is why it is a critical supplement when on a low-calorie diet.

Isagenix is aware of the delicate balance between proteins that is so critical to attaining your goals and objectives in both weight management and physical performance. This is why casein and whey are so steadfastly intertwined into our weight-loss and performance product lines.

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