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n addition to enhancing protein synthesis, high protein diets have other beneficial effects.
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Several lines of evidence have pointed to better weight loss with higher protein diets due to increased thermogenesis and higher satiation associated with protein ingestion. Casein is one type of protein that has unique qualities. Casein is the most abundant protein in milk, the other main protein being whey. Unlike whey and most other protein sources, casein has a much slower digestion rate that make it unique for potentially promoting thermogenesis for extended periods of time. The thermogenic properties and ability of protein to reduce hunger have not been tested under rigorously controlled conditions in large number of subjects because of the difficulties in making sensitive measures of energy expenditure. A recent study however sheds some very important light on the benefits of a high casein diet. Researchers tested the effects of a high protein diet (25% of total energy) to a low protein diet (10% of total energy). Casein was the sole source of protein in both diets that were provided at weight maintenance levels. Subjects consumed the diets for 36 hours (3 days) while staying in a tightly sealed respiratory chamber that allowed precise measurements of total energy expenditure while subjects were in the room. The respiratory chamber was the size of a very small efficient apartment and only a few laboratories in the world have the capabilities to do this type of testing. The results were therefore extremely accurate and reflect the true level of thermogenesis possible with increasing protein intake in the form of casein. The results showed an increase of 2.6% in 24-hour energy expenditure. That amounted to an increase of 55 kcal per day. The majority of the increase in metabolic rate was seen while sleeping suggesting that a high casein diet promotes an extended thermogenesis. There was casein diet also reduced hunger and increased satiety compared to the low casein diet. These findings provide strong evidence for the thermogenic effects of protein, and in particular show that casein is an effective protein source to promote increased metabolic while sleeping.

Hochstenbach-Waelen A, Veldhorst MA, Nieuwenhuizen AG, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Westerterp KR. Comparison of 2 diets with either 25% or 10% of energy as casein on energy expenditure, substrate balance, and appetite profile. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;89(3):831-8. Epub 2009 Jan 28.