Some of the major sources of protein come from animal-based products, like meat, eggs, and seafood. However, there’s a protein source that is often overlooked, which is milk protein.
What is it exactly? And are there other ways to get high-quality protein? Let’s find out.
Does Milk Have Protein?
Yes! Milk protein consists of two different types of protein: casein and whey.
These milk proteins are also used to produce products such as milk protein concentrates (MPC), whey protein isolate, protein powder, supplements, and added to other products, like cottage cheese.
The total protein content in cow’s milk is approximately 3.5% by weight (36g/L).
Generally, milk protein consists of 82% casein and 18% whey.
Milk is known as a significant source of high-quality protein (or complete protein) — because it contains all nine essential amino acids.
These amino acids, especially leucine, help to minimize the weakening of muscles and can stimulate muscle synthesis in your body.
What is casein?
Casein is the curd formed out of milk during the cheesemaking process.
Casein, like all proteins, is a source of dietary amino acids. It is referred to as “slow protein” due to its slower digestion rate leading to a prolonged production of amino acids in the blood.
Its family consists of different proteins (peptides) such as alphaS-1(α-s1), alphaS-2 (α-s2), beta (ß), and 6 with different compositions and variations.
Casein’s functions in the body
- To carry calcium and phosphate and form a clot in the stomach for efficient digestion.
- To supply calcium due to its high phosphate content. Phosphate allows milk to contain much more calcium.
α-s1 can reduce anxiety, stress, and blood pressure. However, it is also known to cause allergies.
What is whey?
It’s the remaining liquid after the milk thickens during cheesemaking; the same liquid you see on top of greek yogurt.
Whey is a “fast protein” due to its rapid digestion that provides higher concentrations of amino acids in the blood; though, this response is short-lived.
Hence, whey protein is a great way to quickly help you hit your daily protein goals, stimulate more muscle growth, and modestly limit fat gain.
Important note: If you have damaged livers or kidneys, do not consume whey protein without consulting your doctor first as it can exacerbate pre-existing damage.
Casein vs. Whey: What’s the Difference?
The real question is, “Which one is a better source of protein?”
Casein and whey are both by-products of cheesemaking, but they’re fundamentally different.
Casein digests slowly and sustains the supply of amino acids, allowing the body to retain and use those amino acids for longer periods.
Whey digests quickly but provides a higher spike of short-lived amino acids in the blood compared to casein.
Do they make a difference in muscle gain?
Several studies have found that the people who consume whey or casein protein don’t have any significant differences in an overall muscle performance gain.
You might ask, “What about the amino acid concentration?”
Good question. We’re going to talk about one of the critical amino acids present in casein and whey: leucine.
Leucine is a vital amino acid for the stimulation of muscle growth, repair of muscle and bone tissue, growth hormone production, and wound healing.
In terms of leucine, whey protein has more leucine content than casein protein. This is the reason why people prefer whey more than casein.
However, are milk protein or dairy products in general, good for you?
Eric Edmeades, creator of WILDFIT, studied the human diet extensively and has discovered the truth about milk.
The Truth About Milk
Eric has set out on a journey to learn about the human diet, and his discovery about milk shocked us all.
He said, “Milk and dairy products actually have no place in the human digestive system, and your health will dramatically improve by eliminating dairy products from your diet“.
That’s because, throughout evolution, animals have evolved to produce the perfect milk for their offspring (of the same species). A cow’s mother will produce the milk that fulfills all of her calf’s nutrition needs — which is totally different from what a human needs.
Our bodies are not evolved to deal with the advancement we have made.— Eric Edmeades, trainer of Mindvalley’s WILDFIT Quest.
|Nutrients in each cup (244g)||Cow’s Milk||Human’s Milk|
Clearly, cow’s milk has too much calcium and protein.
As a result of drinking cow’s milk consistently, people are at risk of developing prostate, lung, breast, and ovarian cancer. The high amount of saturated fats in dairy products can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Even infants are 30% more likely to develop type 1 diabetes if they’re exposed to protein in milk.
Above all, what follows is the most shocking truth about milk.
I’m sure at one point, you’ve been told that milk is good for your bones. However, several studies have shown otherwise.
A meta-analysis of relevant studies about calcium intake and hip fracture indicated that calcium supplementation doesn’t protect against fractures of the hip or other bones.
In short, milk doesn’t necessarily make your bones stronger.
The Bottom Line
Science and evolution have proven that dairy products have no place in our diet. If so, where can you get your calcium and protein from?
The best way is to look for a variety of lean sources of protein, such as poultry, fish, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
Some of the highest calcium sources are seeds, sardines (with edible bones), beans, lentils, almonds, and some leafy greens (collard greens, spinach, and kale), edamame, and tofu.
Also eat the egg whole, including its shell.
The bottom line is that drinking milk protein will pose some adverse effects on your health and it’s recommended to get your protein and calcium from other whole foods.
Also, you might want to check out our easy-to-follow whole foods list.