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Jin Liu

How late is your last meal of the day?

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Jin Liu

Mine is about an hour before bedtime. I'm not a fan of going to sleep with a full stomach, but between getting home late and having to wake up early for work there's not much choice (been doing this since I moved much further away from work 5 months ago). Didn't pay much attention to it until recently when I took half a week off from work, and was able to eat early again (about 3 hr before sleep). I slept better, and I also noticed that my workout performance got a lot better too. I feel stronger and more energetic. Granted that week off was also a deload week. But either way it got me thinking about this late night dinner thing. Does anyone have similar experience? My next question is, if I want better sleep and better recovery, should I skip dinner and eat a big lunch instead? My only concern to that is I'd be too hungry to sleep at night... I'd really appreciate if anyone can share his/her experience.

(Hope it's not entirely off topic here. My apologies if it is, and please move it to a more appropriate location. Thanks!)

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Antonio Alías Montoya

If you want a better sleep and a better recovery then neither skipping dinner or going to sleep super full is a good idea. So what I d do in your case is eating a bit less for dinner, reduce little by little the amount of calories until you feel your stomach right for sleeping. In my case if I have trained hard and a eaten super healthy, then sometimes one hour is enough to go to bed, but as a general rule I go to sleep after 2 hours of eating. I would love to eat even earlier, like you say, 3 hours before sleeping but then I wake up in the middle of the night and need to eat something. Years ago when I didn t train i found better for myself eating dinner as early as possible, and it s still the best when i don t train. But if i train then the problem is that i wake up to soon and need to eat, it s really annoying. Just try to find a sweet spot, if u can t eat earlier, eat less and go bed feeling good if that doesnt affect your quality of sleep. 

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Everett Carroll

In addition to Antonio's great advice, I'd like to add that getting a meal containing high-quality protein within 1-2 hours of bedtime is becoming a pretty common recommendation for athletes. So, don't skip dinner altogether. I've found that I can have a whey protein shake within 30-minutes of bedtime and still fall asleep without a problem. Like Antonio said, find your sweet spot. 

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Jin Liu

Thanks for the reply, guys! My late night dinner portion is already kinda smaller than my usual dinner portion. But probably not small enough since I still feel my stomach at bedtime. I'll reduce it further then. 

@Everett Carroll It's interesting that they recommend having a high quality protein meal within 1-2 hr of bedtime for athletes. May I ask why? Is it to ensure high quality nutrients are present in the body during sleep for better recovery? And this will not have the same effect if the same quality meal is taken another time during the day? Thanks!!

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Everett Carroll

A big part of it is aiming for a net positive overnight muscle protein synthesis. As athletes, we want those amino acids to be present at regular intervals throughout the day for optimal recovery. 

Some listening for you: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-102-protein-pacing-with-professor-paul-arciero/id885246231?i=1000391225508&mt=2

Also, check out episode 98 and 67. There is mention of this is those episodes and some sweet citations in the show notes.

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Jin Liu
4 minutes ago, Everett Carroll said:

A big part of it is aiming for a net positive overnight muscle protein synthesis. As athletes, we want those amino acids to be present at regular intervals throughout the day for optimal recovery. 

Some listening for you: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-102-protein-pacing-with-professor-paul-arciero/id885246231?i=1000391225508&mt=2

Also, check out episode 98 and 67. There is mention of this is those episodes and some sweet citations in the show notes.

Awesome!!

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Jonas Winback

As Everrett already stated, it's a good idea to ingest some form of protein before bedtime, and more and more solid research is showing that.

Some research:

Trommelen J1, Kouw IWK1, Holwerda AM1, Snijders T1, Halson SL2, Rollo I3, Verdijk LB1, van Loon LJC4. Pre-sleep dietary protein-derived amino acids are incorporated in myofibrillar protein during post-exercise overnight recovery. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017 May 23:ajpendo.00273.2016. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00273.2016. [Epub ahead of print]1

Excerpt: "Protein ingestion prior to sleep improves whole-body protein net balance and provides amino acids that are incorporated into myofibrillar protein during sleep."

 Trommelen J, van Loon LJC. Pre-Sleep Protein Ingestion to Improve the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise Training. Nutrients. 2016;8(12):763. doi:10.3390/nu8120763.

Excerpt: "recent studies investigating the impact of pre-sleep protein ingestion suggest that at least 40 g of protein is required to display a robust increase in muscle protein synthesis rates throughout overnight sleep. Furthermore, prior exercise allows more of the pre-sleep protein-derived amino acids to be utilized for de novo muscle protein synthesis during sleep. In short, pre-sleep protein ingestion represents an effective dietary strategy to improve overnight muscle protein synthesis, thereby improving the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training."

Res PT1, Groen B, Pennings B, Beelen M, Wallis GA, Gijsen AP, Senden JM, VAN Loon LJ. Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Aug;44(8):1560-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824cc363.

Excerpt: "protein ingestion before sleep increased whole-body protein synthesis rates (311 ± 8 vs 246 ± 9 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) and improved net protein balance (61 ± 5 vs -11 ± 6 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) in the PRO vs the PLA experiment (P < 0.01). Mixed muscle protein synthesis rates were ∼22% higher in the PRO vs the PLA experiment, which reached borderline significance (0.059%·h ± 0.005%·h vs 0.048%·h ± 0.004%·h, P = 0.05)."

Bottom line: it's likely a good idea (certainly not a bad idea either way).

 

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Connie Martinez

Nice thread.

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Brian Knauss

I'm not a doctor, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but I've been playing around with an intermittent fasting diet lately.  First I started with a 12 hour "fast" from dinner until breakfast the next morning.  That has morphed slowly to a required coffee and rare breakfast, followed by focusing the bulk of my food from lunch until dinner (roughly noon until 8:30-9).  I've been introducing more fat into my diet during the same time (not keto), have not had any bloodwork done to check progress, so don't have objective numbers to show improvement based on the IF.  That being said, I subjectively feel more energetic, better focus, and overall happier.  This is compared to previously eating 3 big meals focused on protein and snacking throughout the day.

Long story short, I've personally have seen positive results by cutting down to 2 main meals within 8-9 hours most days.  Maybe this would be better for your work schedule.  More research would be needed to see if it nutritionally beneficial at the same time.

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Jin Liu

I’m doing IF as well! Eating window similar to yours. It’s been a year now. My weight is very stable, and I may have shredded some fat and gained some muscle (just based on appearance). Best of all, I’m better at reducing sugar intake. I still eat chocolate and cookies, but not nearly as bad as before. And I can resist the temptation now! Energy wise, however, nothing really improved. I do think I need to eat something light before some of my more demanding workout. Maybe it’s because my original diet isn’t too bad to begin with? Not sure..

Now that I started weightlifting, I think eventually i want to put on some weight...

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