British dairy protein specialist Volac has thrown its weight behind the results of a recent University of Texas study that suggest spreading protein intake evenly across breakfast, lunch and dinner could improve muscle protein synthesis by 25%.
The findings, documented in the report Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults, suggest that the quantity of protein consumed over a 24 hour period is not the only determinant of protein's ability to sustain muscle mass.
The researchers claimed instead that the even distribution of protein across the three main meals is the key to sustaining muscle.
Suzane Leser, head of nutrition at Volac, believes that this finding could enable consumers to "better...enjoy the benefits of protein for muscle health" and open up the market for high-protein products, such as its Upbeat brand dairy drink range.
“Many of the health benefits of protein are well-understood now, particularly around weight management and muscle growth, but most consumers are unsure how to routinely get their protein or don’t have enough convenient options available on-the-go,” Leser told DairyReporter.com.
“This broadens mainstream opportunities for products carrying claims such as ‘source of’ or ‘high in’ protein, creating a strong growth potential for protein fortified products.”
“These research findings are also an opportunity to raise awareness that dairy is naturally a good source of high quality protein, and dairy proteins can be used to fortify a range of foods and beverages," she said.
Muscle protein synthesis
The University of Texas researchers, led by Professor Doug Paddon-Jones and Professor Donald Layman, "examined the effects of protein distribution on 24 hour skeletal muscle protein synthesis in healthy adult men and women."
Two groups of volunteers were fed diets containing around 100g of protein.
Group one ate a "skew" diet that reflected a typical protein spread - lower levels at breakfast and lunch, and the majority at dinner. Meanwhile, the second set of volunteers consumed a "even" diet, which involved equal 30g amounts of protein each meal.
By measuring the changes in muscle protein synthesis in response to the diets, the team found that those on the "even" diet had a muscle protein synthesis rate 25% greater than those on the "skew" diet.
Based on their findings, the researchers also suggested that protein intake for optimal health should be higher than the current recommended daily allowances (RDA), which in the US stand at 46g for women and 56g for men, and in the European Union (EU) at 0.8g/kg.
The University of Texas’ Paddon-Jones and Layman will present their findings, which were initially published in the Journal of Nutrition, at the International Whey Conference (IWC) in Rotterdam between September 7 and 9 2014.
Source: The Journal of Nutrition doi:10.3945/jn.113.185280
Title: Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults
Authors: Madonna Mamerow, Joni Mettler, Kirk English, Shanon Casperson, Emily Arentson-Lantz, Melinda Sheffield-Moore, Donald Layman, Douglas Paddon-Jones.