Casein Protein for Weight Loss

Woman with a shake
Casein protein shakes may improve body composition and spur weight loss. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Casein, a type of milk protein, is typically derived from the cheese-making process. Although it’s usually marketed to bodybuilders, the protein supplement may also have advantages for weight loss, weight maintenance and overall body composition. To get the most out of casein, use it in conjunction with regular exercise and a healthy, well-balanced eating plan.

Weight Loss

Several studies support the theory that when it’s taken as part of a low-calorie diet, casein has a potential to encourage weight loss. In one study published in 2009 in the “International Journal of Obesity,” researchers demonstrated that high-protein diets featuring casein were just as effective at producing long-term weight loss and weight maintenance as diets featuring whey protein.

Body Composition Effects

When you lose weight, the pounds you drop may be either fat or muscle -- or, more likely, a mixture of the two. There is evidence, however, that if you use casein in your weight-loss plan, you’re likely to lose more body fat and retain more lean muscle, which can help you look leaner even if you lose less total weight. In a study published in 2013 in the “Journal of Sports Science and Medicine,” women who supplemented with casein for eight weeks and completed their usual workouts experienced a “significant” change in body composition, losing more body fat than they had previously.

Digestion and Satiety

Casein is a “slow-acting” protein, meaning the body isn’t able to digest it quickly and easily. For that reason, casein may not be best for handling short-term hunger pangs. According to research published in 2013 in the journal “Advances in Nutrition,” however, casein is likely to be more satiating than fast-acting proteins in the long term, and this could help you curb your total calorie consumption. Proteins like casein also have a clear advantage in weight-loss plans: They’re naturally more satiating than other types of nutrients.

Relevant Factors

Adding casein as a supplement to your typical diet, with no effort to reduce overall calorie consumption or add physical activity, is more likely to result in gradual weight gain than weight loss. Casein’s effects on your body weight over time also depend on factors such as your age, sex, eating habits and physical activity level. Before you use casein or any other supplement as a weight-loss aid, speak with your doctor.

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