With all the training you’ve been doing, you might be wondering whether or not pre-bed protein–consuming protein right before bed–gets a thumbs up (or thumbs down). We took a closer look at several key studies regarding this issue, here’s what we found.
IS PRE-BED PROTEIN GOOD OR BAD?
In 2012, the Maastricht University Medical Centre conducted a study with 16 athletic males in which all 16 lifted weights at 9pm and received 20 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbs immediately afterwards. Then before going to sleep, the group received another 40 grams of casein protein. Blood samples revealed that the group who consumed the pre-bed protein had elevated levels of protein absorption throughout the night.
Another separate study divided 42 males into two groups. One group received a pre-bed protein drink while the other received a placebo drink. The difference in strength after the study was completed was staggering. While both groups saw increases in overall strength, the pre-bed protein group saw a much greater increase than the placebo group did.
PRE-BED PROTEIN AND WEIGHT GAIN
So we know that eating protein before bed helps to increase lean muscle mass and strength. But will it increase your waistline along with it? The short answer is no. The key here is portion sizes and eating the right source of protein. The ideal amount would be a 40 gram serving of protein. This can come from lean sources like protein shakes, fish, egg whites, chicken or lean cuts of red meat.
Stay away from protein options that contain a lot of fat like cheese, milk or cuts of meat that aren’t so lean.
Although dairy does contain casein protein, it also contains a lot of other components like lactose and fat (depending on the source). This will equate to extra calories that are harder for your body to metabolise as you sleep. A casein protein powder would be superior in this case.