Having protein at night, right before bed, may not be a bad idea. Although you could eat some protein-rich food (eggs, grilled chicken), many people will wind up just grabbing a shake because it’s quick and doesn’t take long to make. After all, besides using protein shakes as a supplement to our daily diet, they’re also very convenient. Whether you decide to have some solid food, or just down a protein shake right before you pass out, there’s an important tip to keep in mind about the type of protein you should aim for. If you’re having solid food, this is not nearly as important because the solid food itself will take longer to digest, but if you’re making a protein shake adding some fats to slow down digestion is your best bet.
This is a great tip both for those dieting down, and those trying to put on size, as protein is imperative to retain muscle as much as it is to build it. For those watching their calories, some cottage cheese alongside the protein shake is a great way to keep the calories low but get the same benefits of slowing down protein digestion overnight. For those bulking up, mixing that shake with some fats will also give you that extra calorie boost (outside of slowing digestion).
Milk is usually the most common way to do this, many people mix protein shakes with milk unaware of the benefits of doing so. Regular whey shakes (standard protein you can buy) digests very quickly. So when you’re about to head to bed and you down a shake, it’ll run through you like water. That’s why it is highly recommended that post-workout your protein shake be mixed either with water or some type of juice/gatorade (simple sugars that also digest very fast). This way protein reaches your muscles as quickly as possibly after a taxing workout.
When it comes to having some protein at night in the form of a shake, mixing it with milk will allow that fast digesting whey to be slowed down, and absorbed much slower overnight as you sleep and rest. Milk contains both whey and casein, the latter being a slow-digesting type of protein. Therefore, mixing your shake with milk will not only add some more grams of protein for overnight recovery but also allow your body to absorb it over a longer period. That’s exactly what is necessary when you’re having protein at night, as your body will be without food for a long period of time.
Having your protein at night with a healthy fat source will also allow for slower digestion. Fats are slow digesting, so even if your protein shake is mixed with water, taken together with fats it’ll digest much slower than on its own. Good suggestions are a cup of almonds or peanut butter (whether straight from the jar, or blended with the shake). Good luck!
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