There are two main milk-based protein powders on the market, whey protein and casein. While everyone loves whey protein, casein is often seen as the less desirable of the two. But there are many benefits to taking casein as well as, or instead of whey. Studies have shown that taking casein protein right before bed can increase muscle protein synthesis, and that casein is more effective as a pre-bed protein shake than whey is. We also wrote about does Creatine timing make a difference?
Casein is slow-digesting which means that it may not be as effective as whey as a post-workout supplement (where you want your muscles supplied with protein as soon as possible). But being slow-digesting means that Casein is more effective as a pre-bed protein, and as a way to prevent hunger between meals. Some fitness experts even recommend casein as a pre-workout as it can be taken about an hour before a workout and still be effective.
In this article, we are going to look at ten of the best casein protein powders that are currently on the market.
Winner of Bodybuilding.com’s Best Casein Protein Powder in 2013 and 2015, we have another Optimum Nutrition Casein powder on our hands here. While this version only contains 24g of protein per serving, rather than the 30g that Platinum Tri-Celle Casein offers, you have to remember that it is a less expensive version. It contains 5g of BCAAs per serving which will really help stimulate protein synthesis, and there are 5g of Glutamine too.
Another great product from Kris Gethin, we’ve looked at quite a few of his supplements in the past and always been impressed. His Casein supplement (or “Kasein” if you choose to spell it wrong just like Kris) contains 25g of protein per serving, 7g of carbs, and 2.5g of fat.
There are 10g of Essential Amino Acids (Tryptophan, Valine, Theonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Methionine), and 10g of Conditional Amino Acids (Arginine, Cysteine, Tyrosine, Histidine, Proline, Glutamine, and Glutamic acid). Kris has added coconut oil to his casein to help slow the breakdown of casein, and as a source of healthy fats. This is a well thought out protein powder with a delicious taste, and a lot of interesting ingredients.
A decent serving of 25g of protein, with only 1g of fat and 3g of carbohydrates makes NutraBio’s Micellar Casein a great choice for the calorie-conscious. Each serving also contains 6.2g of BCAAS and 6.2g of Glutamine which will really help boost recovery overnight. A high protein ratio, a nice flavor, and a short ingredient list make this product a great no-thrills casein protein that is perfect for anyone who wants to recover after a hard workout.
This protein shake by PE Science is not a true Casein protein but rather a mix of both Whey and Casein. Studies have shown that as a post workout, casein and whey combined can be more effective than whey or casein separately. There’s only 1g of fat and 4g of carbohydrate in each serving, and there are 23g of protein, so a nice and simple whey and casein blend that would make an excellent pre or post-workout shake.
We always enjoy reviewing Dymatize products as they are high quality, great tasting (check out our review on Dymatize’s Birthday cake flavor on best 10 tasting protein powders), and filled with good ingredients. Their Casein supplement is as great as usual, there are 25g of protein per serving, 5.4g of BCAAs, 2.3g of Leucine, and only 130 calories per serving. Try Cinnamon Bun flavor, which is the most popular of the 4 available and with good reason.
This is another combination protein, with 80% coming from Casein and 20% coming from Whey. Each serving contains 24g of protein, 0.5g of fat, and 1.5g of carbohydrates for a total of only 106 calories! There are 4 flavors available: Unflavored, Chocolate Smooth, Strawberry Cream, and Vanilla. As always with MyProtein, the value for money is fantastic no-frills just simple and effective.
Platinum Casein from MuscleTech has 24g of protein per serving, only 110 calories, 5.2g of BCAAs, and 4.9g of Glutamine. This is a very decent casein protein powder which mixes well, tastes great, and is great value for money. There are three flavors available: Strawberry Shortcake, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Gourmet Milk Chocolate.
The lowest calorie casein shake that we’ve reviewed so far with only 100 calories per serving, all from protein! Yep, that’s right there are 24g of protein (96 calories) and only 100 calories making this the highest protein ratio we’ve covered. Perfect if you are on a diet, and also as a macro-filler. Considering that it has no sugar and no fat, the taste is surprisingly decent, with Chocolate Milk being a standout.
Cor-Performance Casein by Cellucor is a really nice-tasting casein powder to finish off this list with. At 25g it’s got a decent amount of protein, it’s only 120 calories, and there’s minimal sugar, and minimal fat. You have two flavor choices, chocolate, and vanilla, with vanilla being most people’s favorite.