Proteins are an essential dietary component that helps in the growth and repair of the body. Composed of long chains of amino acids, they promote the growth of skeletal muscles, which is the group of muscles that help us move.
Humans have known the benefits of protein for a long time. However, recent studies have shown that having the right amount of protein at the right time of day is essential for proper growth.
This is called Chrononutrition, which looks at how When what you eat is just as important as what you eat and how you do it.
The reason behind this is the body’s internal biological clock. Called the circadian rhythm, this rhythm is followed by all cells and controls vital functions such as metabolism and growth.
Interestingly, protein digestion and absorption have been found to fluctuate throughout the day and night according to this clock.
Additionally, previous studies have reported that eating protein at breakfast and lunch promotes skeletal muscle growth in adults. However, details about the effect of protein intake timing on muscle growth and function have so far been elusive.
Fortunately, researchers at Waseda University, led by Professor Shigenobu Shibata, recently made an effort to understand the effect of the distribution of protein intake throughout the day on the muscles.
They fed laboratory mice two meals a day that contained high (11.5% in proportion) or low (8.5% in proportion) protein concentrations.
The researchers observed that protein intake at breakfast induced an increase in muscle growth, determined by evaluating the induced hypertrophy of the plantaris muscle in the leg, compared to the effects of protein intake at dinner.
Specifically, the ratio of determined muscle hypertrophy to control muscle growth was 17% higher in mice fed 8.5% protein at breakfast than in mice fed 11.5% protein at dinner. despite the fact that the first group consumed a low proportion of protein in general. .
They also found that eating a type of protein called BCCA (short for branched-chain amino acids) earlier in the day specifically increased the size of skeletal muscles.
They repeated the diet distribution experiments in these mice, but did not observe a similar muscle change, confirming the involvement of the circadian rhythm in muscle growth in the context of protein intake.
Excited by the findings of his study, published in a recent issue of Cell Reports, Emphasizes Professor Shibata, “A high protein diet early in the daily active period, that is, at breakfast, is important for maintaining skeletal muscle health and improving muscle volume and grip strength.”
To see if their findings were applicable to humans, the team recruited women in their study and tested whether their muscle function, determined by measuring skeletal muscle index (SMI) and grip strength, varied with timing of the high-protein diet. protein consumed.
Sixty women 65 and older who ate protein for breakfast rather than dinner showed better muscle function, suggesting the possibility that the findings are true across species. Additionally, the researchers also found a strong association between SMI and the ratio of protein intake at breakfast relative to total protein intake during the day.
Professor Shibata is hopeful that the findings of his study will lead to a widespread modification of the current dietary regimen for most people in Western and Asian countries, who traditionally consume low amounts of protein for breakfast.
Therefore, he emphasizes: “For humans, in general, protein intake at breakfast averages about 15 grams, which is less than what we consume at dinner, which is approximately 28 grams.
“Our findings strongly support changing this norm and consuming more protein for breakfast or a morning snack.”
Relatively high protein foods that won’t feel too unpleasant in the first few hours include eggs, tofu, hemp seeds, oatmeal, chia, and nut butters.
Apparently, a simple change in our diet can be our key to ensuring muscle health.
Fountain: Waseda University
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