Florida State University researchers investigated two in one: the benefits of late-night eating and possible hacks of how to pack on muscles while we are asleep and help them recover.
According to them, it isn't necessary to eat a tasteless chicken breast or other meat dishes to ensure your muscles won't disappear while you aren't fueling them for 8 hours at night.
Michael Ormsbee and Samantha Leyh (Associate Professor of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences and former FSU graduate student relatively) found that it is possible to positively impact on muscle quality, metabolism and overall health by consuming 30 grams of protein about 30 minutes before bed.
The study published in the British Journal of Nutrition involved active young women in their early 20s as participants. The subjects were asked to eat samples of cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
The initial aim of this research was to investigate its impact on muscle recovery and metabolic rate.
Prior studies tended to use a protein shake or some form of supplement which makes the Florida State University's research among the first whose participants consumed a whole food.
"Until now, we presumed those whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence," Ormsbee said. "This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates that whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation, and it gives people options for presleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles."
"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," Leyh said. "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 we 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."