Lab rats aren’t the same as gym rats or even less active people, but their response to different types of protein at different times of day provides an interesting perspective on how muscle protein synthesis can be optimized for muscle building. This 11-week study was published in The Journal of Nutrition.
All rodents were trained to eat 3 meals a day with 16% of the calories coming from protein, 54% from carbohydrates and 30% from fat. Rats got their protein from whey, soy, egg white or wheat gluten. Some had protein evenly distributed across all 3 meals while others had an uneven distribution pattern with more than half the protein coming at dinner time.
Whey and egg increased muscle protein synthesis at breakfast while wheat and soy did not, and subjects who got wheat protein ended up with 20% more body fat compared to rats in other groups. Muscle protein synthesis was 30% to 45% greater when protein was evenly distributed across all 3 daily meals.