By: Tim Rigby (Courtesy of Inside Fitness)
For years, fitness-minded people who consume a high protein diets believed that protein is best consumed in the day in order to be metabolized. The belief was that despite the health benefits of protein, the calories involved could cause fat gain if timed inappropriately (i.e. at night). The scientific community has, however, recently dispelled these beliefs. A team of nutrition scientists at Florida State University investigated subjects who consumed protein close to bedtime, as reported in the Journal of Nutrition. The group of subjects studied were experienced female weightlifters. At the end of the study, the findings challenged many of the widespread beliefs that such consumption adds weight, contributes to fat gain, and slows down metabolism the following day by disturbing sleep patterns. What was, in fact, discovered is that no such effects occurred to the subjects studied. The method used was to give a segment of the subjects a casein protein shake 30 minutes after a workout, and a taste-matched protein shake immediately before bed. Another segment consumed the same shakes, but in the reverse order. Ultimately, it made no difference to fat gain whether the protein was consumed post-workout or right before bed. Researchers concluded that in the context of this study that, "the well-known benefits of a night-time, high-protein snack far outweigh the costs" and that, "essentially, you can eat protein before bed and not disturb fat metabolism."