Casein or Whey – Which protein powder to choose in 2022

Casein or Whey – Which proteins should you choose to optimize your sports results?

There are more and more types of protein for athletes on the market, from rice and hemp to eggs, insects and beef.

Um, how about a good dose of cockroach protein? It tempts you, admit it...

But 2 types of proteins have managed to resist time well and to impose themselves: casein and whey, also called whey or whey protein.

Although both derived from the same product, they differ greatly in their effects on your body.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, this blog also contains articles reserved for best vegetable proteins.

This one explores the differences between casein and whey protein, their benefits to your health, and how to choose the best one for your needs. 


Casein or whey – what you need to know

casein or whey

Like whey, casein comes from cow's milk. The latter also represents 80% of milk proteins, against 20% only for whey.

These proteins both have interesting qualities. They contain all the essential amino acids for your body and are easy to digest and absorb.

Casein and whey are also by-products of cheese production.

Indeed, during the manufacture of cheese, enzymes are added to the heated milk. They cause the coagulation of the casein which therefore passes into the solid state and separates from the liquid substance.

And it is this liquid part that constitutes the whey protein. It is then dehydrated to make a powder.

It is then used in food products or food supplements.

Casein can be used to create a protein powder or be added to dairy products, such as cottage cheese for example.

Casein or whey – How to choose?

To choose between casein and whey, you must first know the benefits and the weak points of each for your muscle growth.

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Whey for training and muscle building

You should know that for muscle building, the whey protein is by far the best.

First, it is absorbed quickly before or after your sessions.

In addition, it contains more leucine, isoleucine, or even valine. These elements are part of the famous BCAA, or branched side chain amino acids for the close friends.

Although all essential amino acids are important for the human body, leucine is very interesting for those who want more muscle volume. Indeed, it is she who initiates the construction process.

This is why the whey protein stimulates muscle gain.

However, it is important to clarify that this increased stimulation does not necessarily mean that there will be increased muscle growth in the long term.

What is certain is that the total protein intake during the day will have an impact on muscle size and strength.

But the whey protein powder also contains various bioactive compounds beneficial to health, such as immunoglobulins which stimulate the immune system. 

These therefore have antimicrobial properties and improve the absorption of other nutrients such as iron.

It's a start, is not it ?

The long-term benefits of casein

Casein also has multiple benefits for the body, but very different from whey. 

Among the BCAAs, it mainly contains histidine, methionine and phenylalanine.

It also contains several bioactive peptides that are extremely beneficial for the immune and digestive systems.

And some of these peptides are good for your heart. 

What do you mean ?

Well, they lower your blood pressure and reduce blood clots.

Peptides act just like converting enzyme inhibitors, a class of drugs commonly prescribed for blood pressure.

Additionally, they combine with calcium and phosphorus in your digestive system, aiding their digestibility.

To know which protein powder to choose between these two is therefore not simple.

Let's take a look at their nutritional qualities now.

What is the best protein for you?

Despite their different bioactive components, whey and casein proteins vary relatively little in nutritional data.

For a dose of 30g of whey, we obtain:

  • 110 calories
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 2 grams of carbohydrates
  • 24 grams of protein
  • 0% of the iron AQR (Daily Reference Intake)
  • 8% of the AQR in calcium 
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Regarding casein protein, the same amount gives:

  • 110 calories
  • 1 gram fat
  • 4 grams of carbohydrates
  • 24 grams of protein
  • Iron AQR 4% 
  • 44% of the AQR in calcium

Depending on the product you have purchased, this data may vary somewhat. So take the time to look carefully at the labels.

You will of course note a significant difference in terms of iron and calcium. But is this really what we look for in priority in protein supplements?

What Really Matters When Choosing Your Proteins

As you read above, casein and whey come from milk. Their big difference lies in their speed of assimilation by the body. 

So remember this:

  • The casein digests slowly, making it the ideal supplement before bedtime. This way, you limit the time your body has to draw its energy from the muscles, which clearly harms your results in the long term.
  • The whey is assimilated quickly. It is therefore the ideal complement pre and post training, as well as during the day since it promotes mass gain.

But above all, keep in mind that the most important thing is the amount of protein that you consume during the day. Which does not mean, of course, that you necessarily have to choose a high protein diet. There is a balance to be found for your health.

Other factors to consider when choosing between casein or whey

Of course, you will take other elements into consideration in your choice, such as these:

  • The consistency and taste of whey protein are generally more pleasant. And they are easier to mix.
  • Casein often costs more.

You will also find a mixture of the 2 on the market, but I do not necessarily find that to be a good idea.

Why, you will ask me, eyes wide open like a fish that has just been taken out of water?

Quite simply because, as you have just read, the primary benefit of casein is to ensure slow digestion, perfect for taking just before going to bed.

So why buy a mixture?

No, the ideal is to buy about twice as much whey as casein. You reserve the first for consumption during the day and the second for the night.

This is how you will make the best possible use of these protein powder.

For Optimum Nutrition whey, I prefer to buy in bulk for the savings. But it comes in smaller packaging if you prefer.

ALSO READ:  Why take Whey protein when you want to build muscle

Here are the 2 products that I recommend to you in priority for their excellent quality/price ratio:

The Gold Standard Chocolate Casein for its unbeatable price and quality:

Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Casein, Casein Protein in...
  • PACKAGING MAY VARY: New packaging, same quality...
  • New formula ENRICHED with zinc and magnesium
  • This SLOW DIGESTION PROTEIN drink provides a source of...

The Optimum Nutrition Whey for its incredible digestibility and efficiency for a very affordable price per kilo (this package weighs more than 4.5 kg):

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder with...
  • PACKAGING MAY VARY: New Look, Proven Quality...
  • WORLD'S #1 SELLING Instant Whey Protein Powder*...
  • With the main ingredient of WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE...

How to consume casein and whey?

You can mix them with water or milk. The latter will make your mixture a little more consistent, especially with casein. If possible, use a shaker or a blender to ensure a homogeneous mixture, in any case much more than with a spoon. 

The ideal is to pour the liquid before adding the protein powder to prevent it from sticking to the wall or bottom of the container.


Casein and whey protein each play an important role in building muscle. They have their advantages and disadvantages, but they are complementary.

Don't forget that these proteins also play an important role in your health. What matters above all is your daily intake of essential amino acids, whatever their origin. 

They are all the more important for those who have intense physical activity, which is your case if you practice bodybuilding or fitness at the rate of 3 to 5 times a week.

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Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API

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