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Eating this snack right before bed may help with weight loss and metabolism, study says

Do you have a go-to midnight snack? Consider having a quick bite before bed, because one dairy product may help you maintain your overall health, according to a new report. 

» RELATED: Eat these these common dairy products to avoid heart attacks, study suggests

Researchers from Florida State University recently conducted a small study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, to explore how eating whole food proteins such as cottage cheese before bed can affect metabolism.

To do so, they examined active young women in their early 20s. They gave the subjects cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime and measured their metabolic rate and muscle recovery. 

After analyzing the results, they found that eating 30 grams of the protein about 30 minutes before bed had a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism and overall health. There was also no gain in body fat. 

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The scientists noted this was one of the first nutrition studies that required participants to eat whole foods instead of a protein shake or supplement.  

“Until now, we presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence,” coauthor Michael Ormsbee said in a statement. “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 presleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles.”

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The analysts also added that this small study will help them conduct future research on metabolic responses and whole foods. 

“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,” co-author Samantha Leyh said. “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 generalize for all whole foods as we have only utilized cottage cheese, this research will hopefully open the door to future studies doing just that.”

The team now hopes to continue their investigations to better understand how presleep food choices can aid individuals in recovery from exercise and overall health. 

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