Milk Protein vs Whey Protein isolate for muscle gain
In this brief article, we will address the query “What is better between Milk Protein and Whey Protein isolate for muscle gain?”. In addition, you can gain some extra information related to the composition of milk proteins and whey protein isolate, the benefits in muscle gain and sports performance, and a brief guide of when it is appropriate to use it and when you should ask for a professional opinion.
What is better between Milk Protein and Whey Protein isolate for muscle gain?
According to different studies, it is better to consume whey protein isolate for muscle gain if you are young (< 30 years old) or elderly (>65 years old); whey protein isolate will promote muscle growth better than Milk Proteins (1,2).
On the contrary, if you are middle-aged, there is no better protein to consume for muscle gain, because both proteins have the same effect in muscle development (3).
Why Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate can help for muscle gain?
Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate can help for muscle gain because both are rich sources of high quality proteins and essential amino acids. Both are crucial for different functions in the body, including muscle development (4).
For this reason, consuming Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate could increase your muscle synthesis, and it is more efficient if it is in combination with a good exercise routine and a healthy diet (4).
Furthermore, remember that discipline and patience is the key to success, you will need around 10 – 30 g of protein isolate daily for approximately 6 – 18 weeks to notice any change (4).
What is Milk Protein and its composition?
The Milk Protein refers to all proteins available in Milk; those are casein and whey proteins. Casein is present in a proportion of 80 % of all proteins in milk, it has a good nutritional value with a good content of essential amino acids (5).
Milk Proteins are composed mainly of proteins. You can buy Milk Proteins in the form of a protein concentrate with 40 – 89 % protein content, or a Milk Protein Isolate containing more than 90 % of protein. The rest of the product usually contains salts and sugars from Milk (4).
What is Whey Protein Isolate and its composition?
Whey protein comprises 20 % of all proteins in Milk; it is normally obtained from the serum after the processing of milk to produce cheeses and yogurt (5).
The main composition of Whey protein isolate is mainly protein (>90 %), but it also contains salts and some sugars from milk, such as lactose (4).
What are the possible benefits of consuming Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate in combination with exercise?
There are important benefits of consuming Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate in combination with exercise, mainly due to their content of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and tissues like muscle (4,6). You can find some of them in the following list:
- The consumption of milk and whey proteins can stimulate the secretion of hormones like insulin, helping to reduce glucose levels in blood; additionally, this will help to refill your energy stores for the next workout (7).
- It will promote muscle hypertrophy, in other words, it could help you to build bigger muscles; besides, it also could increase your muscles’ strength! (4,6).
- It could promote the loss of body fat and increase lean mass (or fat-free mass), hence, it can help you achieve better muscle definition (4,6).
When is it recommended consuming Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate?
A protein supplementation is recommended in different scenarios. In sports, it is normally used for improving your performance, especially if your performance is based on strength or power; disciplines like lifting, shot put, and wrestling are examples of sports benefited by protein supplementation (6).
The Milk and Whey protein isolate consumption could be also recommended if you are not consuming your daily requirements of protein; however, this should be always consulted with an expert in nutrition (8).
In other cases, an expert in health and nutrition could recommend you to consume Milk or whey protein isolate if you are losing too much muscle; this is a common consequence of aging, and it could be prevented or treated with a protein with the adequate quality (9).
When should you avoid consuming Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate?
You should avoid consuming Milk Proteins and Whey Protein isolate if you are allergic to milk proteins. You should also consider avoiding these proteins if you are lactose intolerant; lactose can be present in very little concentrations, but enough to make you feel uncomfortable (10).
There is controversy if a high load of protein (>3.5 g/kg weight) could harm your kidneys in the long term; however, if you already have kidney disease, you should not consume high loads of protein. In this case, it is mandatory to ask for a professional opinion (6).
How can I consume Milk Protein and Whey Protein Isolate?
Milk Proteins and Whey protein isolate is normally consumed as a beverage or shake. But if you’re tired of that, and you need some new ideas to consume your supplement, check all the recipes provided by Dymatize (one of the top brands in protein supplements).
In this brief article, we addressed the query “What is better between Milk Protein and Whey Protein isolate for muscle gain?”. In addition, you gained extra information related to the composition of milk proteins and whey protein isolate, the benefits in muscle gain and sports performance, and a brief guide of when it is appropriate to use it and when you should ask for a professional opinion.
- Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. J Appl Physiol [Internet]. 2009;107(3):987–92. Disponible en:
- Burd NA, Yang Y, Moore DR, Tang JE, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Greater stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis with ingestion of whey protein isolate v. micellar casein at rest and after resistance exercise in elderly men. Br J Nutr, 2012;108(6):958–62.
- Mitchell CJ, McGregor RA, D’Souza RF, Thorstensen EB, Markworth JF, Fanning AC, et al. Consumption of milk protein or whey protein results in a similar increase in muscle protein synthesis in middle aged men. Nutrients, 2015;7(10):8685–99.
- Master PBZ, Macedo RCO. Effects of dietary supplementation in sport and exercise: a review of evidence on milk proteins and amino acids. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2021;61(7):1225–39.
- Fox PF, Uniacke-Lowe T, McSweeney PLH, O’Mahony JA. Milk Proteins. In: Dairy Chemistry and Biochemistry. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. p. 145–239.
- Huecker M, Sarav M, Pearlman M, Laster J. Protein supplementation in sport: Source, timing, and intended benefits. Curr Nutr Rep, 2019;8(4):382–96.
- Hidayat K, Du X, Shi B-M. Milk in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: The potential role of milk proteins. Diabetes Metab Res Rev, 2019;35(8):e3187.
- Kelkar N. Clinical applications of whey protein. In: Ghosh D, Bogueva D, Smarta R, editors. Nutrition Science, Marketing Nutrition, Health Claims, and Public Policy. San Diego, CA, United States of America: Elsevier; 2023. p. 13–22
- Putra C, Konow N, Gage M, York CG, Mangano KM. Protein source and muscle health in older adults: A literature review. Nutrients, 2021;13(3):743.
- Scholz-Ahrens KE, Ahrens F, Barth CA. Nutritional and health attributes of milk and milk imitations. Eur J Nutr, 2020;59(1):19–34.