If you’re feeling a bit peckish before bed, a small amount of protein-rich food might be the best thing to go for.
A typical late-night snack could be anything from a slice of toast to 64 slices of American cheese, but is it possible that any of them could have a positive impact on our bodies?
New research published to the British Journal of Nutrition by researchers from Florida State University claims to have found a link between consuming protein-rich food just before bed and improved bodily performance.
More specifically, the study said that consuming 30g of protein about 30 minutes before bed appears to have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism and overall health, with no gain in body fat.
The study – involving only active young women – asked participants to eat samples of cottage cheese between 30 and 60 minutes before bedtime to see if there was an impact on metabolic rate and muscle recovery.
“Until now, we presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence,” said Dr Michael Ormsbee, who was involved in the research.
“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 pre-sleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles.”
Opening the door to future studies
His colleague, Samantha Leyh, added that the results serve as a foundation for future research on precise metabolic responses to whole food consumption.
“Like the additive and synergistic effects of vitamins and minerals when consumed in whole food form such as fruits or veggies, perhaps whole food sources may follow suit,” she said.
“While we can’t generalise for all whole foods as we have only utilised cottage cheese, this research will hopefully open the door to future studies doing just that.”
The researchers now hope to start looking at other food options, including studies over a longer term to learn about the optimal food choices that can aid individuals in recovery from exercise, repair and regeneration of muscle, and overall health.