Equal Amounts of Protein at Each Meal Promotes Healthy Muscles, Study


Every meal of the day should contain adequate and equivalent amounts of protein in order to maintain healthy muscles, according to a University of Texas study.

Researchers said that Americans receive uneven amounts of protein throughout the day. They consume proteins in small amounts during breakfast and lunch, while they consume larger portions of it at dinner. An average American diet constitutes a carb-heavy breakfast, a sandwich or salad at lunch, and an overly large serving of meat and protein for dinner.

For the study, the researchers observed healthy adults who consumed similar diets that included an overall intake of 90 grams of protein throughout the day. One of the diets offered 30 grams of protein at every meal, while the other supplied 10 grams at breakfast, 15 grams at lunch and 65 grams at dinner

Lean beef was the primary source of protein in both diets. The recommended daily amount of protein is about 60 grams.

Researchers found that muscle protein synthesis rates were 25 percent higher in participants who were associated with diet that provided similar amounts of protein throughout the day than those whose meals had an uneven distribution of proteins.

"So, we're not taking enough protein on board for efficient muscle building and repair during the day, and at night we're often taking in more than we can use. We run the risk of having this excess oxidized and ending up as glucose or fat," said Doug Paddon-Jones, study leader and muscle metabolism expert, in a press release.

The findings promote healthy aging and helps in the maintenance of muscle size and strength. Muscle weakness causes fatigue and reduced activity tolerance among others, according to National Institutes of Health.

Researchers said that huge amounts of protein are not required to maximize muscle synthesis, Americans will benefit from equal distribution of their daily protein consumption.

"For breakfast, consider replacing some carbohydrate - particularly the simple sugars - with high-quality protein," Paddon-Jones said. "Throw in an egg, a glass of milk, yogurt or add a handful of nuts to get closer to 30 grams of protein; do something similar to get to 30 for lunch, and then moderate the amount of protein for dinner.

The finding is published in the Journal of Nutrition.

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