Protein shake late in the evening won't make you fat
You'll get just a bit more out of your strength-training if, before hitting the sack, you drink a shake containing the 'slow' protein casein. Read more about this strategy here and here. There are probably athletes out there who think that consuming protein late at night not only builds muscle but that it also increases fat reserves. This fear is ungrounded, American nutritionists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham discovered.
The researchers gave a dozen overweight men a shake containing 30 g casein half an hour before they went to bed. [CAS] On another occasion the men were given a placebo containing no nutrients. [PLA] The researchers took samples of fat tissue from the men at night and in the morning and then analysed these in the lab.
The researchers measured the glucose concentration in the fat tissue samples [higher values indicate that the fat cells had grown] and the glycerol concentration [higher values of this indicate that the fat cells had shrunk].
The figures below show that during sleep [left] and first thing in the morning [right] it made no difference whether the men had consumed a protein shake or flavoured water. Ergo: a protein shake before going to bed doesn't make you fat.
"Pre-sleep consumption of 30 g of casein did not blunt overnight lipolysis compared to a non-nutritive placebo in obese sedentary men," the researchers summarised. "Consuming casein before sleep may be a useful strategy to optimize protein consumption and alter the macronutrient profile in obese, insulin resistant men with no negative acute ramifications on fat metabolism."
"Future research investigating different types of pre-sleep meals (i.e., liquid vs. solid) and feeding patterns in non-insulin resistant populations are warranted."
"The findings in the present study, however, should be interpreted with caution and in the confines of the participant characteristics and study protocol used."
Nutrients. 2016 Jul 27;8(8).
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Nutrition & Resistance Training