Spreading our your protein intake is better for Muscle Protein Synthesis than taking fewer larger protein meals (Areta JL1, Burke LM, Ross ML, Camera DM, West DW, Broad EM, Jeacocke NA, Moore DR, Stellingwerff T, Phillips SM, Hawley JA, Coffey VG. Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis. J Physiol. 2013 May 1;591(9):2319-31. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.244897. Epub 2013 Mar 4.)
20 g of whey protein consumed every 3 h was superior to either PULSE or BOLUS feeding patterns for stimulating MPS throughout the day.
This study provides novel information on the effect of modulating the distribution of protein intake on anabolic responses in skeletal muscle and has the potential to maximize outcomes of resistance training for attaining peak muscle mass.
Providing 20 g of protein every 3 hours stimulates MPS more than providing the same amount of protein in less regular doses (40 g every 6 hours), or more regular doses (10 g every 1.5 hour).
A related study shows the importance of spreading out protein over a day rather than eating most of your protein at a single meal, say dinner (Mamerow MM, Mettler JA, English KL, Casperson SL, Arentson-Lantz E, Sheffield-Moore M, Layman DK, Paddon-Jones D. Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults. J Nutr. 2014 Jun;144(6):876-80.).
The consumption of a moderate amount of protein at each meal stimulated 24-h muscle protein synthesis more effectively than skewing protein intake toward the evening meal.