Casein protein before bed has been found to positively affect protein synthesis the next morning. Sleep is the longest period in which no protein is consumed; it is logical to consume a slow-digesting protein such as casein before bed to provide a slow and steady stream of amino acids throughout the night.
WILL PROTEIN BEFORE BED RESULT IN FAT GAIN ARTICLE SUMMARY
- Protein before bed does not contribute to gains in fat mass.
- Protein before bed can enhance gains in lean mass.
- 40 grams of casein is an excellent source of protein to take before bed. 40 grams of casein protein powder is the optimal dose before bed.
- The benefits of drinking protein immediately post-workout are well established, but protein, before you fall asleep, is a new area of research that can benefit muscle growth.
CAN YOU EAT PROTEIN BEFORE BED AND NOT GAIN FAT?
For decades in the fitness and health circles, it was said that anything eaten after 6 pm turns to fat. Some truth is that eating late at night has different metabolic effects than eating in the morning. There are many questions that lifters have regarding a protein shake before sleep.
- Can I drink protein shake before bed and not gain fat?
- Is there a best protein before bed? Cottage cheese or whey protein?
- Will drinking a whey protein shake before bed be better, or should I consume casein protein before bed?
Some suggest that reduced metabolic rate in the evening contributes to weight gain with meals eaten later in the day. However, many older studies measured metabolic rate for a short time after meals. (i.e., 2 hours).
DOES EATING AT NIGHT RESULT IN FAT STORAGE?
When researchers measured metabolic rate over 15 hours, they found that the differences in calories between metabolic rate between breakfast and dinner translated to be about 35 calories. (6)
So the myth that metabolism plunges at night is completely bogus. New research suggests that eating protein before bed can improve performance and has been associated with increased lean muscle mass.
WILL DRINKING A PROTEIN SHAKE BEFORE BED INCREASE FAT?
First, won’t protein before bed increase fat storage? In a landmark series of protein studies by Professor Ormsbee, protein won’t be stored as body fat consumed before bed. High-protein foods rich in essential amino acids can contribute to new muscle gains and accretion of new muscle tissue (i.e., muscle growth)
WHY YOU SHOULD BE A PROTEIN SHAKE BEFORE BED
In the first study, active women consumed 30 grams of protein (i.e., casein protein before bed (i.e., 30 minutes). He measured fat metabolism during the night after casein before bed.
There were no differences in fat metabolism between day and night protein ingestion. Drinking casein before bed did not favor fat storage.(7) Professor Ormsbee also found that a low-calorie (~200 calories) casein shake before bed reduced appetite the next morning and seems beneficial for weight loss/loss. (8)
Thus, eating protein before bed will not increase weight gain or fat loss. A protein shake before bed is not only good for increasing lean muscle, but other protein shake before bed benefits include keeping your appetite lower the next morning!
CAN I DRINK A PROTEIN SHAKE BEFORE BED TO GAIN MUSCLE?
There are many types of protein, such as egg, whey, casein, beef, etc. Casein protein before bed has been found to positively affect protein synthesis the next morning.(9, 10) Sleep is the longest period in which no protein is consumed; it is logical to consume a slow-digesting protein such as casein before bed to provide a slow and steady stream of amino acids throughout the night.
Protein at night has been found to increase lean mass in some studies and not in others. The conflicting results may be due to the protein group consuming more total protein before bed than the control group, which may adversely bias the results. Some studies controlled for total protein intake, whereas others did not.
HOW MUCH CASEIN BEFORE BED?
A 2021 meta-analysis of all the collective studies analyzing protein before bed (i.e., 20-40 grams of casein) found that pre-sleep protein can augment lean muscle mass and adaptations to exercise in young but not older men. (11) Like nutrient timing, total protein will be the most important factor driving muscle growth.
It’s ok to drink protein shake before bed if you are trying to gain muscle, but eating protein before bed to gain weight/muscle will only benefit those who are not hitting their proper daily protein and calorie targets.
Protein before bed increases muscle protein synthesis, does not lead to fat augmentation and can be beneficial for optimizing recovery and increasing overnight muscle protein synthesis. There are no disadvantages to consuming casein protein before bed. It’s unnecessary, but it certainly can help when dieting. It has been found that 54 grams of casein in the morning or the evening had no additional increases in body fat and similar changes in lean mass when total protein was similar.(12)