Guilty about your late night snacking habit that leads to weight gain? Switching to a protein-filled snack like cottage cheese can help you to have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism and overall health, say researchers.
In the study, Michael Ormsbee, Associate Professor at Florida State University (FSU), gave active young women in their early 20s samples of cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
They found that consuming 30 grams of protein about 30 minutes before bed appears to have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism and overall health.
And for those who have sworn off eating at night, there is no gain in body fat, revealed the findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
"Until now we presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein but we had no real evidence," Ormsbee said.
"This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates that whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation, and it gives people options for pre-sleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles."
The results serve as a foundation for future research on precise metabolic responses to whole food consumption.
"While protein supplements absolutely have their place, it is important to begin pooling data for foods and understanding the role they can play in these situations," said former FSU graduate student Samantha Leyh, now a research dietician with the Air Force.
"Like the additive and synergistic effects of vitamins and minerals when consumed in whole food form such as fruits or veggies, perhaps whole food sources may follow suit," Leyh said.
The study will help examine more pre-sleep food options and the optimal food choices that can aid individuals in recovery from exercise, repair and regeneration of muscle and overall health, the researchers noted.