Protein Rules for Muscles

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Barbell weight lifting group workout exercise at gym boxThe best muscle function comes when people spread their protein intake evenly throughout the day, according to a study from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. A total of 90 grams of protein was distributed differently throughout the day in a small sample of healthy men and women (ages 34- to 40-years-old).  One diet provided 30 grams of protein at each meal, while the other provided 10 grams at breakfast, 15 grams at lunch, and 65 grams at dinner. Lean beef was the main source of protein in both diets. Blood samples and muscle biopsies were taken. Results showed that muscle protein synthesis was 25% higher when protein was evenly distributed than when it was provided primarily at the evening meal.

In Perspective: Many Americans consume diets that are low in protein at breakfast and lunch, but very high at dinner. This study showed that we don’t need huge amounts of protein to maximize its benefits; we just need to distribute it evenly throughout the day.

Mamerow M, Mettler J, English K, et al: Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults. Journal of Nutrition 2014;144:876-880.

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