It is like there is no enough space to fit in protein powders in the market. Honestly, there are numerous types of protein powders today than it has ever been seen, including hemp, beef, rice, and insect powders.

Despite the invention of new protein powders that surface like every day, there are two types of protein that have never been shaken all the while, and they remain popular and valued. These are casein and whey protein. Some people find it hard to tell the difference between these protein powders. In as much as they are both obtained from cow’s milk, they have key differences that set them apart. This article explores the distinctions between casein and whey protein.

They Are Both Derived From Milk

Casein and whey are the main types of protein present in cow’s milk, with casein making up 80% and whey 20%. These two proteins are of high quality because they are loaded with all nine essential amino acids. Your body cannot make essential amino acids, and you must therefore obtain them from food. Additionally, casein and whey are easily digested. During the production of cheese, casein and whey are also produced as byproducts. The cheesemaking process involves the addition of selected enzymes or acids to hot milk. This is simply to make the casein in milk to solidify or coagulate, leaving a liquid substance behind. The liquid left behind is whey protein which is taken through some processes to wash it and is then dried until it becomes a powder which used in food products or sold as a dietary supplement. The coagulated casein can also be dried into a powdered form or used to make dairy products such as cheese.

Casein Is Slowly Absorbed In The Body Than Whey

The first key difference between casein and whey is their rate of absorption in the circulating blood. Usually, your body breaks down protein into amino acids – the simple forms of protein – which gets into your bloodstream and circulate there until they are fully used. In most cases, blood levels of amino acids will stay at the peak for about four to five hours for casein and up to ninety minutes only, for whey. This is because the rate at which the two proteins are absorbed differs.

Casein form curds or coagulate when acids or enzymes are added to the milk during cheesemaking. The same also happens when they get into your stomach where it mixes with digestive enzymes and acids. While in curds, their digestion is lengthened, as well as their absorption. As a result, casein protein delivers amino acids slowly and steadily into your body. Therefore, it may be best to use it before sleep or in other fasting situations. On the other hand, whey protein is ideal before or just after workouts as its digestion is faster and absorption is quicker, delivering amino acids quickly for the activation and repair of muscles.

If You Want To Build Muscles Go For Whey Protein

You may need to use whey protein to build muscles instead of casein. While their quick absorption makes them ideal for workouts, whey protein also have a heavy profile of amino acids. It is highly loaded with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as valine, leucine, and isoleucine. Casein on the other hand contains more of the amino acids methionine, histidine, and phenylalanine. It is true that all essential amino acids are involved in building of muscles. However, the entire process is always activated by leucine. Due to its high content of leucine, whey protein is best at jumpstarting protein synthesis in muscles, making them grow, than casein protein. This can be made better by consuming whey protein during or just after your workouts. Researchers are still uncertain whether this muscle protein synthesis can maintain muscle growth for a long time. What is truly known is that the determinant of your muscle size and strength is the amount of protein you take during the day.

Whey and Casein Contain Different Healthful Compounds

Studies have shown that casein and whey protein contain different compounds that may benefit your health.

Casein Protein

This type of protein is loaded with numerous bioactive peptides, which may boost your immune system and support digestive health. These bioactive peptides in casein may also support your heart health by regulating blood pressure and inhibit the unnecessary formation of blood clots. Researchers think that they work the same way as the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) – conventional class of drugs used to manage blood pressure. In addition, these compounds also improve the digestion and absorption of calcium and phosphorus by binding to them.

Whey Protein

Whey proteins are high in immunoglobulins – active proteins that improve your immune system. These immunoglobulins are said to have antimicrobial effects, which may kill or interfere with the growth and multiplication of harmful microorganisms, including bacteria. In addition to that, published studies have indicated that immunoglobulins possess antioxidant properties which inhibit the growth and spread of cancer and tumors. Lastly, these proteins facilitate the transportation of vital nutrients like vitamin A, thereby enhancing the absorption of iron and other nutrients.

Whey Protein Is Important In Your Diet

Protein is one of the macronutrients your body must get for continued growth and other important roles, which include:

  • Acting as enzymes and regulate bodily chemical reactions.
  • Working as antibodies by clearing out bacteria and other foreign microbes, thus boosting the immune system.
  • Many proteins work as hormones or messengers by coordinating signals between cells.
  • Proteins make up the structure of your body supporting the bones, skin, and tendons.

Casein or Whey – Which Is Better for You?

One scoop (31 g) of whey protein powder provides 110 calories, 1 g of fat, 2 g of carbs, and 24 g of protein. The same amount of casein protein powder provides 120 calories, 1 g of fat, 2 g of carbs, and 24 g of protein. Alongside that minute nutritional difference, you also need to know that casein protein powder is more expensive than whey and whey protein powder has a better taste and consistency than casein protein powder.


Casein protein is obtained by adding enzymes to heated milk to form curds leaving liquid whey protein behind. They are both dried into powder form. Casein is expensive than whey protein powder. If you need to build muscles faster, whey protein powder is the best for you.


We would like to thank the below contributors who have helped us to write this article:

Rick DeFabio

Barbara Santini

Barbara is a freelance writer and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA and Peaches and Screams. Barbara is involved in various educational initiatives aimed at making sex advice more accessible to everyone and breaking stigmas around sex across various cultural communities. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys trawling through vintage markets in Brick Lane, exploring new places, painting and reading.

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