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Many athletes, and nearly all bodybuilders, supplement with some type of protein powder. Getting all of your macronutrients solely from food (your diet) isn't the easiest thing to do when you have and are building considerable muscle mass. Sometimes you go over your daily calorie limit trying to get enough protein, or maybe you end up taking in too much fat. With a protein powder like whey or casein, you're able to get a huge boost of protein without doing those things. You also spend much less time eating, since a shake in a blender bottle takes very little time out of your day. What Are Whey and Casein Protein? Whey is considered to be a fast digesting protein. It's what people will recommend one takes directly before or after resistance training, as your body will metabolize it more quickly than casein. Casein, on the other hand, is considered a slow digesting protein. Most proteins will be considered slow, especially when taken with a mixed meal as many people tend to do (think steak and potatoes with a side of veggies). How Whey (Powder) is Made It's essentially what's left over after milk has been curdled and strained when producing cheese. The milk curdles (casein), and the leftover liquid (whey) is then dried into a powder by separating the water from it. How Casein (Powder) is Made Like whey, casein comes from milk as well and it's the predominant protein in milk. Once the milk curdles, those curdles are then dehydrated into casein powder. Casein and Whey Protein (Milk) Promote Lean Mass In a study conducted on 56 healthy, untrained males over 12 weeks, skim milk was overall superior to that of soy milk and an isocaloric carbohydrate drink. Those drinking the milk saw the biggest decrease in body fat and the biggest increase in muscle mass (hypertrophy). One thing that we can take away from this study is that a mixture of whey and casein are great for building mass and increasing strength. So the question still remains unanswered: which of the two is superior in that respect? Whey Stimulates Protein Synthesis Since whey protein is a much faster digesting protein compared to casein, it's able to more rapidly augment protein synthesis. One reason is due to its higher level of leucine — an amino acid that stimulates such synthesis. The digestion rate of protein is an independent regulating factor of postprandial protein retention: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11158939 The acute and abundant amounts of amino acids that enter your blood from whey is what's doing the heavy lifting when it comes to protein synthesis. With whey, you're able to metabolize the protein quickly, resulting in a spike of amino acids in your blood. Casein Helps Prevent Muscle Breakdown Because of casein's slower digestion rate, it can help to create a positive protein balance that prevents the catabolism of muscle by prolonging the duration that amino acids stay in your blood. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9405716 Our Recommendation Whey. Casein is much easier to come by in your regular diet; you can drink milk, and you can eat cheeses or meats. If you're going to buy a supplement in powdered form, whey just seems like the most appropriate choice. Take it before or after a workout (or both), and you'll be be metabolizing that protein much quicker than if you bought the casein variation. There's definitely efficacy to those that answer this with "use both," but purely in terms of a powdered form that you spend your hard-earned money on... whey is the way. To summarize and avoid confusion: both of these are important and we certainly recommend getting both types of protein everyday. Casein you'll simply have through meals, and whey you can pick up as a supplement to take before and after your workout and first thing in the morning.
Overview Macronutrients are nutrients that are required in large quantities as part of our diet. The three macronutrients required by humans are: Carbohydrates Proteins Fats Energy is provided by each macronutrient in the form of calories (kcal). The approximate amount of calories each macronutrient provides per gram (g) is as follows: Carbohydrates (1g) = 4 kcal Proteins (1g) = 4 kcal Fats (1g) = 9 kcal Carbohydrates A carbohydrate is a biomolecule that is made of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms have a ratio of 2:1; much the same as water, albeit with a few exceptions, which may explain the significant loss of water weight on low carb diets such as the ketogenic diet. Technically speaking, carbohydrates are the hydrates of carbon (hence the name). The term carbohydrate is synonymous with saccharide — a group that includes cellulose, sugar and starch. The saccharides are split into four main groups: Monosaccharides Disaccharides Oligosaccharides Polysaccharides Monosaccharides and disaccharides are commonly referred to as 'sugars' and are usually recognizable by names with the suffix "-ose." E.g., glucose. Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides are typically polymers of simple sugars like monosaccharides, the amount of which is between 3-10 monosaccharides for oligosaccharides and >10 for polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are what make up your glycogen stores in your muscles and liver. Proteins Proteins are macromolecules (aka large bio-molecules) made up of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. A protein is made up of at least one long polypeptide (a linear chain of amino acids residues). Short polypeptides containing less than 20-30 residues are considered as peptides (or oligopeptides) and not as proteins. Once a protein is formed, it will exist for a certain period of time (ranging from minutes to years, but for most proteins in human cells it is 1-2 days) before becoming degraded and ultimately recycled through a process known as protein turnover. Many proteins act as enzymes that catalyze biochemical reactions. As such, they are incredibly important to metabolism. In humans, proteins are fundamental in the diet to provide the essential amino acids that cannot be otherwise synthesized from within the body itself. Protein is commonly known for its role in the growth and repair of our bodies and those looking to build muscle mass often favour higher amounts of protein in their diets for this reason. Fats Fats, also known as triglycerides, are all esters of the alcohol glycerol and fatty acid chains. Fats in the wider sense are commonly synonymous, and placed under the broad umbrella of lipids (as not all lipids are triglycerides). However, in the stricter sense, fats are lipids that are solid at room temperature, whereas oils are lipids that are liquid at room temperature. Fats undertake structural and metabolic functions, and as such they are a necessary part of the human diet. This is due to the fact that some essential fatty acids are not synthesized by the human body, so consumption is important. Fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K can only be digested, absorbed and transported in conjunction with fats. Fats play a fundamental role in promoting healthy cell function, protecting organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and maintaining healthy hair and skin. Fatty acids tend to be described based on length: SCFA = Short Chain Fatty Acids MCFA = Medium Chain Fatty Acids LCFA = Long Chain Fatty Acids VLCFA = Very Long Chain Fatty Acids Note: most fats in the food we eat are made up of MCFA and LCFAs, whether the source vegetable or animal in nature. Fats and oils are categorized dependent on their molecular structure — in particular, the number and bonding of carbon atoms. Saturated fats have no double bonds between the carbons in the chain, whereas unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds between the carbon atoms (those with multiple double carbon bonds are referred to as polyunsaturated fats). Unsaturated fats can be split into cis fats and trans fats; the latter of which is rare in nature. Studies favor cis unsaturated fats over saturated fats in regards to cardiovascular health. However, trans fat, a form of unsaturated fat, has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is advised generally to replace trans and saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet. Despite Hooper et al's findings in 2015, an article published in the British Medical Journal in 2016 found that dietary saturated fat was of no consequence to the health of one's heart. Fats stored in the body is known as adipose tissue.