Researchers at the University of Texas tested the effects of dietary protein distribution on skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Two groups of healthy adult volunteers were each fed 100 grams of protein per day. The first group had protein intake that was typical for the average person - lower amounts for breakfast and lunch, with most protein intake coming at dinner. The second group was fed an even amount of protein throughout the day - an equal amount for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The group that had an even distribution throughout the day had 25% higher muscle protein synthesis compared to the group that had most protein at dinner.

The results indicate that spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day is better for maintaining and enhancing lean muscle tissue. This information may be of little use to hardcore bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts who typically have lots of protein with every meal, but it does confirm what most bodybuilders already know. It is not just the amount of protein you eat that counts, but also when you eat it. Based on their findings, the researchers also suggested that for optimal health, daily protein intake could be higher than the current official recommendation, which in the European Union is about 1 gram per 1.25 kg of body weight.


Paddon-Jones D, Layman D, Mettler J, Sheffield-Moore M, Arentzon-Lantz E, English K, Mamerow M, Casperson S, Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24 Hour Muscle Protein Synthesis In Healthy Adults, Journal Of Nutrition doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185280

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