Casein is a derivative of milk. While whey is most famously known for being a byproduct of the cheese-making process, many don’t know that casein is as well. In fact, casein makes up 80% of milk and whey makes up 20%.
Many of casein’s properties make it an excellent food source or supplement, especially for athletes.
Casein is also one of the primary proteins in cow’s milk. When eaten, casein protein turns into a gel-like substance in the stomach that slowly digests and releases amino acids. It is often added to foods for texture, emulsification, and protein supplementation, and can be found in many processed foods.
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What Processed Foods Contain Casein?
There are many foods that contain casein.
Some of those foods include infant formulas, ice cream, breath mints, glaze for baked goods, salad dressings, meats that are processed, cereals, protein powders, nutrition bars, and any foods with whipped toppings.
Is Casein Only in Processed Foods?
No. Casein is naturally contained in most dairy products along with whey. There are protein powders that contain pure casein, as well as other manufactured products.
Protein powder containing natural casein is made by separating the protein from milk and also separating the whey protein as well. This is done through the process of ultra-filtration and does not use chemicals to process.
Not only is casein high in protein per serving of powder, but it is also low calorie. Another food that is packed full of casein protein is cheese.
There are no other natural sources that contain as much casein as cheese. During the cheese-making process, whey and lactose are separated from the curds. The curds are mostly casein.
Another high source of casein is in cottage cheese. It is a younger cheese and not all the whey is removed. Cottage cheese does take form in a similar process to other cheeses.
Cottage cheese is a great alternative to regular cheese because it is available in a lower fat option. Cottage cheese, even though it doesn’t contain quite as much casein, does contain more protein than regular cheese.
Milk is 80% casein protein. While milk is a great source of casein protein, calcium, and other essential vitamins, there are people who can’t digest it properly.
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Is Casein Good for You?
There has been quite a bit of debate recently over the safety of casein protein. While researchers believe casein found in milk and cheese is beneficial for you, there have been some concerns raised about the use of casein.
One of the major concerns of casein protein is its potential link to cancer. There have been studies that show a link between cancer and the consumption of protein, specifically animal protein.
These studies show that casein consumed in the diet directly affected the growth of cancer. It also showed that the amount of cancer growth could be controlled by the amount of casein in laboratory animals’ diets.
Another concern over casein is based on how it affects the respiratory system. Casein is used to form glue and the most adhesive glue on the market. This is because casein is coarse and thick.
Casein also forms a mucous material. The consumption of casein can cause the human respiratory system to become irritated and congested.
When the body isn’t functioning properly and respiratory problems are the result, this can lead to other allergies and illnesses. Some common illnesses generated by an irritated respiratory system are bronchitis, ear infections, sinusitis, and asthma.
Common allergies to dairy and hay fever can be a direct result of a congested respiratory system. Casein allergies can occur in infants, children, and adults. An allergic reaction to casein occurs for some because the body thinks casein protein is harmful. The body will then release histamines and this release can result in nasal congestion, wheezing, hives, itchy skin, and swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, face, and throat.
The best way to avoid allergies is to stay away from products that contain casein. Because of the potential links between cancer and casein, many products are now casein-free.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I have to take supplements?
Unless your doctor has instructed you to take certain supplements, you do not have to take them.
Are supplements safe?
Whether or not dietary supplements are safe to take depends on a number of factors. Learn more about the safety of supplements here.
What supplements do I need to take?
No one can answer that aside from your doctor. To learn more about the various supplements that doctors commonly recommend, check out this article.
It’s important to maintain your health, both with diet and exercise. Finding a diet that works for you is important, but also finding an exercise program that fits in your lifestyle is essential. Sign up for PRO today to access personal trainers, workout plans, workout creators, and more!