Any fitness enthusiast, gym rat or person trying to live a relatively healthy lifestyle is aware of the fact that protein is something that is very necessary to build a healthier body. What many may not know is the proper use of protein timing and the correct protein form.
So, it’s about 9:00pm and you don’t feel like eating another meal- so what do you reach for? For many, it’ll be a protein shake. An essential supplement to have on hand is whey protein and reaching for a quick scoop or two of this in the evening may sound like an excellent idea, but is this the best form of protein to be taking in at night for the last feeding? Let’s take a little closer look.
The Pros Of Whey Protein Before Bed
- Fat Burning
Although a quick spike, taking in a serving of whey protein before bed does also raise your amino acid profile within the body. The body then has to raise core body temperature by raising your metabolism to process the incoming calories and thus aids in burning some fat. You must be careful with this though and not take in excess calories when the body is in recovery mode (see further down).
- Energy Boost
When your muscles are working all throughout the day and even harder during your workouts, your ATP (energy supply) is depleted. Whey protein then raises these ATP levels and refuels your energy that you will feel in the morning, waking up more refreshed and well rested.
Whey protein before bed still does play the biggest role in overall recovery. Although not taking casein which is the best alternative to an evening protein, whey still aids in recovery. Casein does feed the body for up to 7 hours, but recovery is enhanced during the night when your body is sleeping and perfectly relaxed.
The cost of buying whey protein powder is significantly cheaper than buying casein protein powder. Even whole foods replicate this rule – generally, a chicken breast is a little cheaper per serving than some cottage cheese.
The Cons Of Whey Protein Before Bed
Whey protein is generally taken after a workout when your glycogen levels are depleted and the muscle fibers have been torn to shreds. This is a perfect time for this fast-digesting and absorbing protein that will get into the bloodstream quickly and shuttle the nutrients to the appropriate cells.
When your body is at rest (for example, before bed), whey protein does not efficiently feed your body properly throughout the night because it soaks up the nutrients too quickly. Casein, in this case, is the ultimate choice for a slow feed to keep your body from falling into a catabolic state.
- Spike Insulin Levels
Just like eating a fast carb such as white rice or white potatoes over brown rice or sweet potatoes, a quick protein shake can also cause a jump in the insulin levels. Insulin (which is the hormone responsible for monitoring how much sugar is absorbed by your body) is directed to weight gain and primarily fat storage. Keeping your insulin levels steady is the key to maintaining and achieving greater fat loss- especially during the night. Whey protein although has its many weight loss benefits, it can be associated with weight gain when taken without care.
- Raises Blood Sugar
Since whey protein is primarily taken post-workout, it does have the reputation of having some simple sugars within its makeup, especially in the sweeter flavors like chocolate and strawberry. Raising your blood sugar right before when there is zero time to burn off any excess calories from the day is not the way to go. Blood sugar, like raising your insulin levels, is directly related to fat gain and storage of fat cells when not able to burn calories.
Whey protein is a must-have in your supplement stack but taking before bed is the worst time to take in this form of protein. It will give you a slight energy boost for the morning and could possibly promote some fat loss; the cons definitely outweigh the pros.
Overall fat gain is more likely to happen in the average fitness enthusiast and your energy will be so much greater when the body has been given a slower-digesting protein. Save some extra money this next paycheck and get some tubs of cottage cheese or grab a bag of some delicious Myprotein Casein and fuel your body correctly!