A new review of studies indicates that, if you've started strength training, consuming protein supplements with meals may be more effective at promoting weight control than consuming them between meals.
It’s well established that consuming protein supplements – in ready-to-drink, powdered, and solid form – close to resistance exercise promotes muscle building during the post-exercise recovery period.
Protein supplements are marketed for muscle building, weight gain and weight loss.
However, for each outcome, the recommended timing of protein intake varies. Protein supplements designed to support weight/muscle gain or weight maintenance are recommended to consume between meals.
Protein supplements consumed with meals or as meal replacements are often recommended for weight loss. Consuming protein supplements between meals may not help people eat less food and calories later on.
On the other hand, adults who participate in a resistance training program and consume protein supplements twice daily with their meals may compensate for the protein supplement by eating less food later on.
That means the timing of protein supplementation may be important, depending on your body weight and body composition goals.
Consume protein supplements with meals to increase muscle, reduce fat
In the newly published review of the evidence, the researchers investigated whether the existing research studies support consuming protein supplements between meals versus with meals, to change body composition in adults who initiate strength training.
Researchers here assessed 34 randomized controlled trials with 59 different interventions. Of the intervention groups designated to take protein supplements with meals versus between meals, 56% vs. 72% increased their body mass, 94% vs. 90% increased their lean mass, 87% vs. 59% reduced their fat mass, and 100% vs. 84% increased the ratio of lean to fat mass over time, respectively.
With-meal consumption of protein was defined as taking a protein supplement immediately after a meal, with a meal, or as a high-protein meal replacement. Between-meal ingestion of protein was defined as taking a protein supplement very near a workout or during another non-mealtime.
The results from this review provide new information for people who use protein supplements to promote muscle gain or improve body composition by reducing body fat. Consuming protein supplements with meals, rather than between meals, may be more effective to improve resistance training-induced changes in body composition by reducing body fat.
Source: Nutrition Reviews, June 2018.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.