Peter Lloyd, The Daily Mail, Mar 6, 2019
Drinking a protein shake just before bed increases your muscle gains, according to research.
Scientists looked at the late-night intake of casein protein formulas following a weightlifting session in the gym.
They found the extra consumption of calories won't make you fat - even though it's followed by hours of inactivity.
In fact, the opposite appears to be true. The study showed drinking the shakes before sleeping actually appears to make the body burn fat more effectively.
'Several one-night studies have shown pre-sleep protein intake increases muscle protein synthesis during overnight sleep in young adults,' said Dr Tim Snijders, from Maastricht University, Netherlands.
'These have fuelled the idea that over a longer period, a pre-sleep protein supplement can maximize the strength and muscle mass gains during regular resistance exercise training.'
Dr Snijders has made the claim in a new review of several studies, claiming one he did in 2015 study is the most compelling demonstration for the theory.
That research studied 44 healthy young men on a 12-week weightlifting program.
Half were given a nightly pre-sleep protein shake with about 30g of casein and 15g of carbohydrates, while the other half got an energy-free drink.
Both groups ended the trial able to squat heavier weights and with bigger quadricep muscles (thighs), but the protein group gained significantly more strength and size.
The evidence also showed consuming protein can improve sleep quality while keeping people slim.
'In the eight-week morning versus evening casein study, the additional consumption of protein calories did not result in any increase in fat mass despite the fact that exercise volume did not change,' said Dr Snijders.
'Supporting this, another group found in 11 young active men that a pre-sleep casein shake actually increased the rate of fat burning the following day.
'This might be because casein ingestion reduces the insulin response to subsequent meals, which pushes your body to use more fat.'
Muscles can only grow and repair themselves when the right building blocks - amino acids from protein - are available in the blood.
But, unlike blood glucose, the body does not store and release amino acids to maintain circulating levels, so they must be obtained from the diet.
Dr Snijders's review claims to be the first to investigate whether a protein shake before bed has a different effect to consuming the same amount throughout the day.
And, despite the common belief eating before bed might keep you up, he found drinking a shake before slumber does not lead to a restless night.
'It has been consistently shown that pre-sleep protein ingestion has no effect on sleep onset latency or sleep quality,' he added.
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