Nav: Home

High-protein bedtime snacks no problem for active women

August 28, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Physically active women who have foresworn bedtime snacks should feel no fear cracking open the cupboards after sundown for a protein-rich treat, according to new Florida State University-led research.

In a study of women weight lifters, nutrition scientists at FSU showed that protein consumption before bed compared to protein consumption during the day does not disturb overnight belly fat metabolism or whole-body fat burn.

The findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, challenge widespread misconceptions about the relationship between nighttime eating, weight gain and metabolism, especially in women.

"For far too long, people have been led to believe that eating before bed causes metabolic disturbances and will make them gain fat," said study author Michael Ormsbee, an associate professor in the College of Human Sciences and the associate director of the FSU Institute of Sports Sciences & Medicine. "However, the data simply does not support this when the food we choose to eat before bed is protein-based and small in size."

While past research has uncovered substantial benefits of nighttime protein consumption, most existing work on the topic focuses exclusively on men. In this study, Ormsbee and his team used two experimental conditions to investigate fat metabolism in a sample of women weight trainers.

In one condition, the study participants drank a casein protein shake 30 minutes after a workout and a taste-matched placebo shake 30 minutes before bed. In the other condition, the participants drank the shakes in the reverse order.

"We wanted to investigate how drinking a protein shake before bed influenced overnight metabolism of fat in fit women as compared to taking that protein shake at another time of day," Ormsbee said.

Researchers then deployed a strategic measurement approach designed to comprehensively assess the full, multistep process of overnight fat metabolism. First, they documented participants' lipolysis -- or fat release from fat cells -- in order to determine whether the timing of protein consumption was linked to cells' ability to unleash stored fat into surrounding tissue.

Then, the team used breath sample measurements to evaluate participants' fat oxidation, or their bodies' capacity to burn the fat released as energy in the muscles.

Scientists have long known that protein consumption paired with exercise can help trigger the release of fat by cells, said study co-author and former FSU doctoral student Brittany Allman, who wrote her dissertation on this study. She and her partners were eager to identify whether, in an active resistance training population, there were any additive effects of protein consumption before bedtime -- a window of accelerated fat release.

The team's measurements revealed that, for women who lift weights, the well-known benefits of a nighttime, high-protein snack far outweigh the costs.

"In women who weight train, there are no differences in overnight local belly fat metabolism or whole-body fat burn whether you eat protein in the form of a protein shake during the day post-workout or at night presleep," said Allman, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center. "So, essentially, you can eat protein before bed and not disturb fat metabolism."

Allman said she hopes this study and subsequent follow-up investigations will help demystify the science of women's nighttime eating and clear away harmful, unfounded beliefs.

"There are such bad misconceptions about eating at night, that it will 'make me gain weight' or 'slow my metabolism,'" she said. "The research suggests that really only holds true if you're eating a ton of calories and they are carbohydrate- and/or fat-laden. There are so many potential beneficial effects of eating protein at night, and it will be extremely important to take all of this science to the community to try to change the outlook of these dietary habits."
-end-
This research was funded by the Florida State University College of Human Sciences Dissertation Award Program, the Florida State University Graduate School Dissertation Research Grant, Dymatize Nutrition Sport Performance Institute and FreislandCampina.

Florida State University

Related Science Articles:

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.
AAAS and March for Science partner to uphold science
AAAS, the world's largest general scientific organization, announced Thursday that it will partner with the March for Science, a nonpartisan set of activities that aim to promote science education and the use of scientific evidence to inform policy.
Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.
More Science News and Science Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...