Without a doubt, one thing people constantly ask me about is protein. Basically anything to do with it, how much should I eat? What type is best? Should I use protein powder?
The first thing I am going to cover is ‘how much’ protein you should most likely be taking in. Note that these recommendations are for healthy individuals with no known issues affecting their protein intake. Protein requirements for 3 different types of individuals are broken down below;
#1 Athlete/Highly Active Person who is CURRENTLY trying to lose body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass
1.5-2.2g/kg of BW Or 0.68-1.0g/lb of BW
#2 Athlete/Highly Active Person OR you are someone who is currently trying to lose body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass
1.0-1.5g/kg of BW Or 0.45-.68g/lb of BW
#3 Sedentary Individual who is not looking to change their body composition
.8g/kg of BW Or 0.36g/lb of BW
(BW = Body Weight – lb = pounds – kg = kilograms)
Now these are only recommendations, some people may need lower or higher protein needs.
Now let’s talk about CASEIN and protein powder in general. If you are getting all the protein you need from WHOLE food sources, technically you do not need to supplement with protein powder. However, it does have its benefits. Whey protein is a very fast digestible protein that is ideal for after your workout to immediately refuel your body and give it what it needs. Casein is actually the opposite.
Casein is the insoluble portion of milk, Whey is the soluble portion. People who are familiar with Casein are familiar with the fact that it is a slower digesting protein. To produce both products, Casein and Whey parts of milk protein are separated by basically coagulating the casein fragment to remove it. The Casein part is removed as more of a solid, while the Whey is still a liquid. Micellar Casein is the same thing but it is produced through a process called Microfiltration. This process will concentrate the micellar segments of casein.
Casein protein also has a higher amount of peptides than a Whey protein. This has been linked to help our stress levels. Two other peptides within Casein; Casoxins and Casomorphins are deeply involved in the rate of digestion. Casein contains a higher content of Casomorphins to Casoxins. Long story short, this ‘may’ explain the reduced speed of digestion Casein has after consumption.
Casein has its place in our diet. If you are supplementing with protein powder to meet your daily requirements already, using both Casein and Whey can still benefit you. Whey is a go to protein for before or (primarily) after workouts because of its rapid absorption. Casein would be good in between meals, taken with carbs before a long bout of physical activity (hiking, kayaking, swimming) and even before bed. Casein will digest and break down much slower, thus keeping us full and energized longer and giving us a steady amount of protein throughout a more prolonged period of time versus a Whey Protein. Taking it before bed can also help us retain muscle mass while dieting or if we know we won’t be eating till later on the next day.
Plug your weight into one of the three categories above to figure out an average protein intake for yourself. Most people do not have body fat percentages or Lean Body Mass numbers on hand so this is a good way to get an ‘idea’ of how much you need. Protein powder can be a great addition to our diets and overall health, you just need to know how and when to use them properly!