Protein consumption is an important part of every meal. Many people follow a diet where a majority of protein is consumed later in the day. A typical Western diet is usually carbohydrate heavy in the morning and protein heavy meals in the evening. The usual belief is that it does not matter when you consume protein in a day, as long as you get the essential amount that the body needs. But a recent study indicates that this may not be correct.
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have conducted a study regarding a typical cereal or carbohydrate-heavy breakfast, a sandwich or salad lunch and a protein-heavy dinner. The findings indicate that it may not be the best approach for metabolism especially when it comes to promoting healthy aging and muscle maintenance. The findings are available at the online edition of the Journal of Nutrition.
The researchers looked into two similar diets that only differed on the protein distribution through the day. One diet followed a consistent 30 grams of protein during each meal. The other diet consumed 10 grams of protein during breakfast, 15 grams during lunch and 65 grams during dinner. Lean meat was the primary source of protein used in the study. The researchers then measured the muscle protein synthesis rates of the participants during a 24-hour period using blood samples and thigh muscle biopsies. The UTMB researchers provided the participants with a daily intake of 90 grams of protein for the study, consistent with the average amount consumed by healthy adults in the US.
The study indicated that participants who consumed protein that was evenly distributed at every meal showed a 25 percent greater 24-hour muscle protein synthesis rates as compared to those who followed a diet with protein unevenly distributed for each meal.
According to Doug Paddon-Jones, a muscle metabolism expert of UTMB, the study indicates that a pattern of protein consumption is important to maximize the body’s use of protein for muscle health. “You don’t have to eat massive amounts of protein to maximize muscle synthesis, you just have to be a little more thoughtful with how you apportion it. For breakfast consider replacing some carbohydrate, particularly the simple sugars, with high-quality protein. Throw in an egg, a glass of milk, yogurt or add a handful of nuts to get closer to 30 grams of protein, do something similar to get to 30 for lunch, and then moderate the amount of protein for dinner. Do this, and over the course of the day you will likely spend much more time synthesizing muscle protein.”
Source: Medical News Today