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Many athletes consume 20-30 grams of Casein right before sleeping as it creates a steady and prolonged yet low rate of Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: For regular gym enthusiasts, consuming a supplement knows as Casein is a great way to help in the recovery and preservation of muscle fibres throughout the night.

However, for those fasting during Ramadan, Casein could be the key to feeling full longer and maintaining energy levels throughout the day until sunset. Casein, the natural occurring protein that makes up 80 per cent of cow’s milk, is a slow releasing protein that provides all the essential amino acids your body needs for growth and repair. Many athletes consume 20-30 grams of Casein right before sleeping as it creates a steady and prolonged yet low rate of Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). The protein aids with muscle recovery after a strenuous workout and helps maintain energy levels during prolonged periods of not eating.

Casein for suhoor?

Like every supplement, however, there may be side effects, so is it ideal to consume during Ramadan?

Lubna Dhalani, Licensed Dietitian at Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai said Casein can be recommended for suhoor as it plays a similar role to slow digestion carbohydrates, which keeps a person fuller for a longer duration without a spike in blood sugar. “Slow releasing carbs, such as whole wheat grains, oats, lentils, as well as high fibrous fruits like dates and figs are recommended during Ramadan. Just the same, Casein is available to the body even in the absence of food due to its sustained release in the bloodstream,” said Dhalani.

However, Dhalani said that Casein should not replace the consumption of the natural protein available in milk, pulses, meat, poultry and fish.

“It is a beneficial milk protein if consumed as per the requirement of the body and also in its natural raw form rather than processed isolates available in the market. I would say anything in moderation is good,” she said.

7-hour digestion period

Ghazi Karim, General Manager and trainer at Symmetry Gym explained that Casein can take up to seven hours to digest, which is the average number of hours of sleep a night. This makes it ideal for athletes to consume before bed time to “preserve lean mass and reduce catabolism.”

However, Karim pointed out that the use of Casein supplements alone as an aid in fasting has shown no significant decline in hunger levels as compared to other foods. “In our experience, the use of more wholesome food sources, and the right combination of slow digestive protein and slow digestive carbohydrates during suhoor directly resulted in better energy levels during the day and lesser complaints of hunger as well,” he added.

Is Casein linked to cancer?

Despite the body’s need for Casein, an ongoing debate about the processed protein’s side effects and links to cancer continues both in the medical and the sport’s world.

Karim explained that a couple of scoops of the protein is perfectly safe to con on a regular basis, if there it is needed and can be included in your meal plan. “The myth that high protein intake causes ill health has been debunked many times and should now be put to rest. The only exception is those with current kidney or liver disease who have to limit their protein intake,” he said.

Meanwhile Dietitian Dhalani pointed out that the process by which Casein is separated from milk and also the amount consumed, is majorly associated with its link to cancer. However, no conclusion on Casein’s link to cancer has been confirmed yet.