There’s no denying the fact that if you hope to see great results from your fitness program, you need to be getting enough protein. Protein serves as the foundation upon which muscle is built, so without adequate amounts your body simply cannot get stronger or more muscular.
Where you get your protein from matters. Don’t think that you can feast on processed sources of protein such as deli meats, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, burgers, and of the like and get good results.
If you instead eat quality protein such as chicken breasts, turkey, sirloin steak, fish, eggs and protein powder, you’ll see far better results. These higher quality proteins are going to support lean muscle mass building much better, so you’ll be liking the changes taking place in the mirror.
There’s one type of protein in particular you’ll want to sit up and take notice of however. Casein protein is often overlooked in the fitness community because most people are quick to simply turn to whey protein instead. But casein definitely deserves to be on your radar.
Casein Protein Digests Slowly In The Body
The first reason to consume casein is because it’s a protein that digests very slowly in the body – slower than whey and even solid forms of protein such as chicken or eggs.
Casein protein powder is the same sort of protein that’s found in cottage cheese and anyone in the bodybuilding community knows that a bodybuilder’s traditional pre-bed meal is cottage cheese and protein due to the slow digesting nature.
If you aren’t a fan of cottage cheese, now you can simply use casein protein powder instead. The fact that it digests slowly makes it an ideal option for right before you go to bed when you will be fasting for many hours ahead.
Casein Protein Combats Hunger
If you’re looking to burn fat, hunger is something you need to be paying attention to. The better you can control your hunger level, the better you will likely do. Hunger is something that many people give in to, which then causes them to fall completely off their diet plan.
Because casein protein digests so slowly, it’ll ‘stick to your ribs’ so to speak, keeping you feeling fuller longer1. This is especially the case if you pair it with some fat, so do try and add some peanut butter into that protein shake or serve it with a small handful of almonds.
Casein Protein Maintains Anabolism
Another key benefit that casein offers, and one reason why it’s often chosen over whey by those who are dieting, is because it does digest slowly. This means it’ll help you maintain a more anabolic environment longer than if you had a faster acting protein.
When dieting, you’re going to be at risk for losing lean muscle mass tissue as your body is in that hypocalorie state. The better you’re able to prevent this from happening, the greater success you’ll see.
Those who lose both fat and muscle when dieting may end up just looking like a smaller version of themselves, while those who lose nearly all fat and hardly any muscle will experience great body recomposition changes.
This said, you may still prefer to take a whey isolate protein powder immediately after a workout session, as at that point, you do want the protein to get to the muscle tissues as quickly as possible. A slower digesting protein is not doing you any favors.
The rest of the time however, you’re better served by using casein protein so that you get a slow and sustained release. You’ll then have a constant release of amino acids in your system.
Casein Protein May Help Boost Your Metabolic Rate
Finally, one last benefit that casein has to offer is that it may just help improve your metabolic rate. Research2 has shown that when subjects increase the total amount of casein they’re taking in per day, they see a spike in their overall calorie burn over the course of a 24-hour period.
The more calories you burn on a day to day basis, the faster your weight loss will be.
Protein already has a beneficial effect on the metabolic rate as it has a thermic effect of food value of around 15-20% compared to just 2 and 4% for fats and carbs respectively. Now you can add to that with a serving of casein protein as well.
Hopefully you can now see the value in serving up casein protein in your diet plan. Whether your goal is to build lean muscle mass, or you want to burn fat while retaining as much muscle as you possibly can, you’ll find this protein powder can help.
The good news is that today’s casein protein powders are much better developed than previous years where they were chalky and didn’t mix well. Now you just need a shaker cup and you’re ready to drink.
Let’s look at a few great serving ideas you can use your casein protein with.
Stir It Into Yogurt
One very easy way to add casein to your day is to simply stir it into some yogurt. Do keep in mind, however, this will make the yogurt thicker, so you’ll need to be prepared to either accept the change in consistency or just add a little extra milk or almond milk to thin it down again.
Because protein powder is flavored, this is an excellent technique to use with plain yogurt.
Alternatively, if you choose a thicker yogurt such as Greek yogurt and mix in some casein protein, you’ll actually be left with a thicker paste like substance that could be used as a spread or a dip for fruit.
Prepare Casein Protein Pancakes
Pancakes are a favorite for most of us, but not something that’s a wise choice on a fat loss diet plan. Now you can make pancakes the healthy way.
By choosing casein protein pancakes, you slash the carbs and up the protein. Simply mix together one scoop of casein protein powder, ½ tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda and then enough water to get a thick but pancake-like consistency.
Spray a non-stick skillet with some cooking spray and cook as you would a normal pancake. Serve with some sugar-free maple syrup.
These are a great treat if you’re dieting intensely and can’t have many carbs or fats in your diet plan.
Make Casein Protein Pudding
Finally, you can also go the easy route and just make some protein pudding. To do this, simply mix together some casein protein powder with enough water to get a pudding consistency. Then add some sliced fruit or some nuts – whatever strikes your fancy and you’re all set.
There are many great recipes out there using casein protein powder, so play around and find one that will work for you.
- Hall, W. L., et al. “Casein and whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite.” British Journal of Nutrition 89.2 (2003): 239-248.
- Hochstenbach-Waelen, Ananda, et al. “Comparison of 2 diets with either 25% or 10% of energy as casein on energy expenditure, substrate balance, and appetite profile.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 89.3 (2009): 831-838.