Cheese causes weight gain, right? Late night snacking also causes weight gain, right? Well, new research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found eating cottage cheese before hopping into bed can actually help shed the weight.
Researchers from Florida State University examined 10 active young women in their 20s, who were given 30 grams (or two tablespoons) of cottage cheese two hours after having dinner and 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.
Upon waking between 5 and 8am, their resting energy expenditure – the amount of energy burned while asleep – was measured.
The team found that when participants were given a casein shake just before sleeping, their metabolism was equally as efficient as when consuming cottage cheese.
“Until now, we presumed whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence,” explained nutritionist Professor Michael Ormsbee, from Florida State University.
“This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates 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.”
Ormsbee explains this process is likely to occur as cottage cheese is naturally abundant in casein, which is released slowly into the body and ensures a steady supply of amino acids throughout the night.
These are then used to help your body with various processes such as building muscle and regulating immune function.
“While protein supplements absolutely have their place, it is important to begin pooling data for foods and understanding the role they can play in these situations,” adds Samantha Leyh, who was part of the research but is now a research dietitian with the US Air Force.
“Like the additive and synergistic effects of vitamins and minerals when consumed in whole food form such as fruits or veggies, perhaps whole food sources may follow suit.
“While we can’t generalise for all whole foods as we have only utilised cottage cheese, this research will hopefully open the door to future studies doing just that.”
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