We know that protein is essential for muscle growth – and that not all types of protein are created equal. If you go to a nutrition store, you’ll see protein supplement varieties including whey concentrate, whey isolates, casein, soy, etc. Moreover, protein can be found naturally in foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts and more.
So, which type of protein is best to take at night or before bed?
Each type of protein has it’s advantages. For example, whey isolates are a good value and very quick to be absorbed by the body. For this reason, they’re a great post-workout protein source when your body needs nutrients quickly. But when considering a protein to consume before bed, you’ll want something that will be absorbed slowly throughout the night.
Casein protein is the best slow-digesting protein – and it’s the perfect protein supplement to take before bed. Since casein takes anywhere from 5 – 8 hours to fully breakdown, you’ll fuel your body and your muscles throughout the night. Casein is derived from milk, so it may not be suitable for individuals with lactose sensitivities – and it’s not vegan.
Most bodybuilders or athletes get their casein as a powdered protein from nutrition stores. But, if you prefer, casein can be found naturally in foods like milk, cheese and cottage cheese. A single cup of cottage cheese, for example, can have 30 grams of protein – and much of it is casein.
Keep in mind, you can slow the absorption of non-casein proteins by combining them with foods that are slow to digest. Foods that are rich in fat or fiber take much longer to digest. Making a peanut-butter and soy protein/soy milk shake, for example, will result in a suitable nighttime alternative for vegans or people with lactose sensitivities.
The bottom line: When it comes to nighttime protein consumption, casein is king.