How you distribute your protein consumption between a day’s meals isn’t as important as hitting your target by the end of the day. But according to new research, the way you structure your protein feeding in the hours following a workout can make all the difference in terms of how your body processes it.
In the newest study, published in a recent edition of Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers put a group of resistance-trained men through a lower-body resistance workout and then divided them into groups that would consume 80g of protein over the next 12 hours in one of three configurations: eight 10-gram doses every hour and a half, four 20-gram doses every three hours, or two 40-gram doses every six hours. The researchers measured protein turnover, synthesis, and breakdown.
By the end of the trial, the participants who consumed 20 grams of whey protein every three hours had clearly come out ahead, increasing their whole-body net protein balance beyond the subjects in the other two groups, leading the researchers to conclude that ingesting 20 grams of protein every three hours following a workout is the most efficient way to utilize whey protein for recovery and muscle protein synthesis.
REFERENCE: Nutr Metab., 2012; 9(1):91.