Well we’d like to start by asking you a simple question? When did you first come across casein? Can’t remember? Don’t know?……..
Don’t worry you’ve probably forgotten. You’ve all heard the little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme, right? If you remember she was eating curds, and casein would have been included in those curds.
We’re sure you’re aghast by now so let’s get on and explain more about this food protein and what effect it has on both our bodies and created substances away from food.
The Make Up
This is a very versatile protein charged with both dietary and non-dietary uses. In fact it has a big part to play in all our lives, and has been the subject of many recent studies on allergies. Some experts have even linked the protein to autism.
Where Do We Find Casein?
You’ve probably guessed casein is the major protein found in both milk and cheese. It combines together with whey, surprise…….surprise. But casein itself is largely responsible for giving milk its white appearance.
Did you know 82 per cent of milk is made up from casein protein?
Phosphorus, calcium and clusters of casein give milk its white look!
Casein carries with it all the necessary amino acids for sustained life, and it’s often called a phosphoprotein because of this fact. It is also a fact it is highly nutritious which is another reason it’s so important to us no matter how old we may be.
How Does It Work?
Bodybuilders really like this protein because it digests into the body quite slowly enabling muscles to be fed for a greater length of time. Naturally this helps them greatly in helping to build muscle. It actually congeals in your stomach so it could be seven hours before it’s fully taken in. It really is a very clever protein!
So Tell Us About Casein Around Our Food?
It should be clear by now this is used for making milk related products including cheeses and curds. In heated form casein forms into clumps divided from the liquid whey protein. This not only produces a great milk shake but it can last a long time on the supermarket shelves.
And because it’s quite tasteless it’s superb for going into drinks with added flavours. It can thicken and whip up quickly acting as a good emulsifier. This can help with adding extra texture to foods. Either way it gives us much needed protein but it can also be used away from food.
Where Else Do We Use Casein?
You may be surprised to discover casein can be used in the production of adhesives and glue for things like paper coating and leather finishing. It can even help produce a type of paint, and has been used in the development of plastic. Oh and let’s not forget it can be used as a base for some of the vitamins you take.
So Tell Us About the Dangers?
The word allergy can strike terror into those who know what suffering this way is all about. Casein can help produce lactose free drinks to help those who suffer from allergies. If we look closely at a lactose intolerance, this is a dislike of the sugar found in milk. The problem is if it’s not labelled as lactose free then casein products may give you those symptoms linked with lactose intolerance!
Remember it’s possible some individuals can be allergic to casein itself!
Milk Protein Allergies
In milk allergies your own body will look upon the milk protein as a foreign invader and will send out antibodies to ward off any threat. This of course is when you get the severe reaction we associate with allergies. Many individuals suffer from this type of allergy of course so the protein can sometimes work in negative ways too.
A Study You Should Know About
The Chang Gung Medical Journal reported the case of a baby who experts believed was showing the signs of autism. Doctors treated the baby by taking both casein and gluten out of his diet. Several months later all signs of autism had diminished. This all took place in the summer of 2009 and now experts are linking the protein with the affliction itself. Research is still going on and there’s quite a bit of reading on the topic online.
There’s no doubt at all this is a brilliant and hard working protein found more often than not in dairy products. Its amino acids are totally vital to us and it can help us in a great many ways providing we don’t carry an allergy to it. Your dietician can certainly give you more information on this and there’s more reading online.
‘Casein is a fascinating protein’