Which post-workout protein shake is best?

Experts say guzzling a post-workout protein shake can help muscle recovery and growth, but what type of protein is better, whey or casein?

Announced last week, a Canadian study involving protein supplements and resistance training reveals that whey protein may be your best bet.

"A whey protein shake would probably be better than a casein protein shake," says researcher Daniel W.D. West of McMaster University in Ontario in a release. The rationale? While both proteins are found in milk, casein is digested slower than whey, and after a workout, the body responds best to a fast-acting protein, noted the researchers.

Another new study from the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine that was also announced last week reveals that protein supplements that include higher concentrations of the amino acid leucine work better than those with lower concentrations. In the study, active-duty military personnel drank a high-protein beverage (10 grams of protein) that contained either 1.87 grams of leucine or 3.5 grams of leucine while riding a stationary bicycle. 

"It appears more leucine is beneficial in the context of muscle recovery," says researcher Stefan M. Pasiakos, PhD, a research physiologist involved in the study.

Both studies are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

How much protein should you drink? Experts recommend not overdoing it and sticking to around 20 grams of protein or less after your workout.

"Some protein for repair is good but not [an] excess," advised Felicia Stoler, a nutritionist and exercise physiologist in an interview with WebMD. "I always have to caution about protein. People think they need way more than they do."

Make your own protein shake at home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-8qQbsWRI4

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