Spread your protein intake through the day

eggs_panMost 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.

And if your goal is weight loss, higher protein breakfasts and snacks will help you feel fuller for longer.

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
Salmon fillet 20g
Three eggs 20 g
200g Cottage cheese 20g
100g Tofu 20g
100g / 3oz Ricotta 11g
1 handful almonds 6g
100g / 3oz hummus 8g