Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spread your protein intake. Don't eat them all at once! By Veeraj Vic Goyaram

Nutritional Science Update

Spread your protein intake. Don't eat them all at once!
By Veeraj Vic Goyaram

We kick off our 2014 "article season" on Bodybuilding Mauritius with a nutrition science research update. As bodybuilders we all know that protein reigns supreme on our nutrition list and as such the total daily amount of protein that we consume is very important. However, new research underscores the importance of evenly distributing your protein throughout the day rather than cram all your protein in one or two meals, especially dinner.

American researchers (Mamerow et al., 2014) examined two different protein consumption patterns in healthy subjects, namely:

A. EVEN: diet provided an even protein distribution at each meal: ;30g (breakfast), 30g (lunch), and 30g (dinner).

B. SKEW: diet provided an exaggerated skewed protein distribution (SKEW): ;10g (breakfast), 15g (lunch), and 65g (dinner)

They then measured muscle protein synthesis in muscle (technical term: Fractional Synthesis rate or FSR) and found greater (25% more) protein synthesis over a 24 hour period in subjects consuming protein evenly throughout the day (Figure 1).  

Take-home lesson and recommendations
  • "More anabolic bang for your protein buck": It is good to spread your protein intake throughout the day rather than cram everything in one big meal.  A dose of 30g protein per intake is fine as long as it is a high quality protein which brings about 10g of essential amino acids (EAAs).
  • "More is not better": The body has no means to temporarily store excess protein (unlike fats and carbohydrates) to allow it to stimulate protein synthesis at a later time. Therefore, quite frequent feedings are needed. But be careful, moderation is the key! For example, Symons et al., (2009) have shown that consuming 12 ounce of lean beef (90g protein) does not give greater anabolism than a 4 ounce serving (30g protein).  
Mamerow MM, Mettler JA, English KL, Casperson SL, Arentson-Lantz E, Sheffield-Moore M, Layman DK and Paddon-Jones D. Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults. J Nutr 2014. (ahead of print)

Symons TB, Sheffield-Moore M, Wolfe RR, Paddon-Jones D. A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:1582–6.

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