Everyone from fitness enthusiasts to bodybuilders—and pretty much anyone else struggling to consume sufficient amounts of healthy protein—can benefit from adding some type of protein to their daily nutritional regimen, whether it is pea protein, casein protein, or something else altogether. When considering pea protein vs casein protein, which one is right for you?
People newly considering investing in protein powders can feel overwhelmed trying to determine what is best for their bodies. One of the first factors that health-conscious consumers come across when trying to decide the best type of protein powder is choosing between plant-based and animal-based protein.
Pea protein is one of the leading plant-based proteins, while casein—sometimes referred to as the younger sibling of whey protein—is a commonly selected animal-based protein. As stated by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,1 the human body requires a minimum daily protein intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 60 grams for a person weighing 165 pounds. This number varies according to different factors and stressors, such as heavy weightlifting, pregnancy, or people just beginning to eat a vegan or heavily vegetarian diet.2
Table of Contents
What Is Casein Protein?
Casein is one of the proteins from the dairy family, with its curds comprising about 80 percent of all the protein in milk and other dairy products that include kefir, cheese, yogurt, and cream.3 Casein is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.
What Is Pea Protein?
Pea protein is a complete plant-based protein, making it one of the top choices for vegans and vegetarians. This isolated protein is harvested from yellow split peas, which are naturally a good source of protein, in addition to a long list of other vital nutrients. Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest offers a simple way to get the required amount of protein while committing to a plant-based diet.
Pea Protein vs Casein Protein: How Do They Compare Nutritionally?
Casein has nutritional benefits that include its slow release, making it optimal as a pre-bedtime protein. However, for those just finishing a workout, they may not feel refueled as quickly as needed, so the slow release may leave them feeling hungry and unsatisfied. As a complete protein, casein contains all nine essential amino acids and features 24 grams of protein per serving, which is a 33-gram scoop. Depending on the brand, casein contains a variety of micronutrients, which often include calcium.4 Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest has 18-21 grams of protein per 25-gram serving, contains all nine essential amino acids, and provides BCAAs.5
Pea Protein vs Casein Protein: Which is Better?
While both proteins have their benefits, pea protein is an excellent choice for people interested in a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Is Casein Protein a Complete Protein?
A major component in bovine milk, casein protein is a complete protein and contains the minerals calcium and phosphorus.6
Is Pea Protein a Complete Protein?
People often turn to animal-based proteins because they are generally purported to complete proteins and the easiest for most people to consume to meet their daily protein needs. However, pea protein is most certainly a complete protein and contains a significant amount of the amino acid arginine, which is crucial to healthy blood flow and heart health.7
Benefits of Casein Protein
The dairy-based protein casein protein features one key benefit for anyone who chooses the animal-based route for protein consumption, which is that it is time-released and has the potential to stay in the bloodstream for several hours, which makes it ideal for bedtime consumption.8
Benefits of Pea Protein
The popularity of pea protein has rapidly increased over the past decade, especially as more and more people are choosing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Fortunately, for those who use pea protein—vegans, vegetarians and anyone else looking for a plant-based option—this protein can promote benefits that include the following:
- A high-quality protein source that features similar benefits and nutrients of eggs and soy, which are complete sources
- Rich in arginine, which is especially helpful in times of stress and illness
- Replacement for people with various food allergies, such as those associated with eggs, milk or soy
- High in BCAAs—featuring about 5 grams per serving—keeping the body in a muscle-building state throughout the day
- Easily digestible and absorbed, meaning easier on your stomach and resulting in less bloating
- Ecologically more sustainable, leaving a smaller water footprint than animal-based protein powders
Potential Negative Effects of Consuming Casein Protein
One potential negative side effect of consuming casein protein concerns the fact that many people suffer from a casein allergy, which is different from lactose intolerance that causes discomfort after eating dairy. A casein allergy can cause more extreme physical responses, which include hives, rashes, wheezing, severe pain, food malabsorption, vomiting, and breathing problems. Casein allergenicity is most often found in young children, but can last into adulthood.10
Pea Protein vs Casein Protein: Which Tastes Better?
Casein protein has a neutral to milk-like taste and can be mixed with water. Some people put it in a shaker bottle and blend it with ice while others stir it into a bowl of water until it reaches a pudding-like consistency. After five minutes in the freezer, vanilla or chocolate flavors can taste a little like ice cream or frosting. Pea protein features a slightly subdued sweet taste, but it is still mainly a neutral flavor, making it easy to blend with fruit and vegetable flavors. Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest is offered in seven yummy flavors and Just Natural, and is easy to add into your favorite smoothie, bowl, or your favorite recipe. The options are endless!
Pea Protein vs Casein Protein: What Do I Choose?
Both pea and casein proteins offer advantages, based on specific dietary issues or concerns and fitness and health goals. Regardless of the reason that you feel you need to supplement your protein intake, pea protein powder offers you a complete protein option that is less likely to upset your stomach than other plant-based proteins, due to its relatively low fiber content. People who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy or other proteins like soy can enjoy pea protein without the digestive issues that casein protein and other animal-based proteins may cause. If you do not follow a plant-based diet, it may help you to give both pea protein and casein protein a try before making your final decision, but pea protein, especially Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest is an excellent option for anyone who avoids animal products or has common allergens.