Eager to eat a snack before sleep? A protein-filled snack like cottage cheese is the way to go, according to researchers at Florida State University.
In a new study, they found that consuming 30 grams of protein about 30 minutes before bed appears to have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism, and overall health.
And for those who have sworn off eating at night, there is no gain in body fat.
Study participants were active young women in their early 20s. They ate samples of cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
The researchers specifically wanted to see if this food may have an impact on the metabolic rate and muscle recovery.
Until now, scientists have presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but they had no real evidence.
This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates that whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation.
It also gives people options for pre-sleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles.
The team said the results serve as a foundation for future research on precise metabolic responses to whole food consumption.
While protein supplements absolutely have their place, it is important to begin pooling data for foods and understanding the role they can play in these situations.
Like the additive and synergistic effects of vitamins and minerals when consumed in whole food forms such as fruits or veggies, perhaps whole food sources may follow suit.
While the researchers can’t generalize for all whole foods as we have only utilized cottage cheese, this research will hopefully open the door to future studies doing just that.
The team will start examining more pre-sleep food options and longer-term studies to learn more about the optimal food choices that can aid individuals in recovery from exercise, repair, and regeneration of muscle and overall health.
This is one of the first nutrition studies where participants consumed a whole food as opposed to a protein shake or some form of supplement.
Their findings are published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
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Source: British Journal of Nutrition.