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Healthy Diet & Nutrition

The Powerhouse Snack

The healthiest night-time snack just may be cottage cheese.

It positively affects your muscle quality, metabolism and overall health. And there’s another bonus: You won’t gain any body fat from this protein-filled food.

Those conclusions, by researchers from Florida State University, were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Associate Professor of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences Michael Ormsbee and former FSU graduate student Samantha Leyh found that consuming 30 grams, or about one ounce, of protein 30 minutes before bed appears do your body good.

Study participants – highly active women in their early 20s – ate samples of cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. The researchers specifically wanted to see if this food might have an impact on metabolic rate and muscle recovery from exercise.

plain cottage cheeseThis is one of the first nutrition studies where highly active participants consumed a whole food as opposed to a protein shake or some form of supplement.

“Whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation.”

“Until now, we presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence,” Ormsbee said. “This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates that whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation, and it gives people options for pre-sleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles.”

Leyh, now a research dietitian with the Air Force, said the results serve as a foundation for future research on precise metabolic responses to whole food consumption.

Ormsbee said that his research team will start examining more pre-sleep food options and conduct longer-term studies to learn more about the food choices that can aid individuals in recovery from exercise, repair and regeneration of muscle and overall health.

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