The best time of day to have protein depending on your body goals

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Looking to lose some weight or hitting the gym to try and build muscle? We all know that diet has an essential part to play in any body transformation, with protein factoring in as an important aspect of a balanced diet, but when should you get your protein fix to maximise results?

Dietitian and author Susie Burrell weighs in on when to eat protein for the best chance of achieving your body goals.

When to eat protein if you are trying to build muscle

In a recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers discussed the fact that if athletes eat protein soon after working out, they are more likely to consume enough protein over the course of a day to build their muscles, which supports the belief that if you have a protein hit – whether that be in the form of a shake or a protein-rich meal – soon after exercising, you are more likely to build muscle.

Susie Burrell recommends that, for those wanting to build muscle, the best time of day to eat protein is both before and after a work out.

“For those wanting to gain lean muscle tissue, consuming extra calories is as important – as is preparing for a workout with 20-30g of protein 1-2 hours before training,” Susie explained, “then recovering within an hour of the session with another 20-30g.”

When to eat protein if you are trying to lose weight

While there are few studies out there to support claims that a certain part of the day is better for consuming protein if you want to lose weight than another, there is plenty of evidence out there to suggest that eating late at night – whatever the food group – isn’t going to do you any good.

For Susie, the benefit of eating protein when trying to lose weight is that it keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Rather than eating protein at one time of day, Susie suggests incorporating protein into meals throughout the day,

“As a nutrient protein plays several key roles in appetite regulation and muscle recovery,” Susie explains. “As a general rule of thumb consuming protein at regular intervals throughout the day will help to control hunger and regulate blood glucose levels.”