Most of us eat more protein at dinner than any other meal, but if you’re exercising regularly, trying to improve muscle mass or lose weight, research suggests its better to spread your intake through the day.
In a recent US study researchers took a group of healthy adults and compared the effects of eating protein mostly at dinner, or spaced between breakfast, lunch and dinner (~30 grams per meal). Both groups had the same intake overall, about ~90 g a day.
Results showed muscle protein synthesis was ~ 25% higher in the group eating protein across three meals compared with the evening meal group.
Eating protein in a evenly spaced pattern after exercise is also better for muscle recovery and synthesis than eating a large amount in one go, probably because there’s a limit on how much stimulates maximum rates of recovery.
Aim for 20-30 grams of protein at each meal -a scoop of whey in a breakfast smoothie, a piece of chicken, fish or veggie alternative at lunch and dinner, and a pot of high protein yoghurt will do nicely.
|1 scoop whey protein||20-25 g|
|1 pint milk||20 g|
|200 g / cup Greek strained yoghurt||20 g|
|Tin of tuna||25 g|
|Chicken breast||30 g|
|Lentils (100g / half cup dry)||30g|
|Three eggs||20 g|
|200g Cottage cheese||20g|
|100g / 3oz Ricotta||11g|
|1 handful almonds||6g|
|100g / 3oz hummus||8g|