Is meal spacing really that important? Is meal spacing really that important?

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Thread: Is meal spacing really that important?

  1. #1
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    Default Is meal spacing really that important?

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    From a lot of what I've read, it seems like if you're not giving at least 3 hours between consuming quantities of protein, any additional protein you ingest before that 3 hour span passes won't go toward your muscles. Is this the case? I ask because having to space the meals at least 3 hours every day is getting to be a limiting constraint.

  2. #2
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    I've been wondering about this kind of thing as well. Like, what would happen if you ate like 15g protein every hour all day (16 hours worth). Each amount sub threshold for triggering MPS, and spaced too close together anyway. But surely all the protein still goes towards muscle growth somehow right? So does muscle growth happen without MPS? Or is MPS still happening somehow, or what? I've looked to try and find an explanation for what might happen in this situation, but couldn't finish anything. Just for the sake of trying to understand MPS fjrt2, I'd be really interested if anyone could explain what might be happening in these circumstances...

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    In regards to the OP's question, I've read that cottage cheese (casein content) can extend the protein synthesis up to as much as 5 hrs. as opposed to 3 on average. Is there truth to this? I haven't ever been able to find source verification. If true that might help the Commander?

  4. #4
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    This is theoretically true. The thought is that protein consumed more frequently in smaller boluses is better utilized to synthesize muscle proteins. However, this does not mean that the rest of it is "not utilized." There are more proteins in the human body than muscle proteins. Now this is based on studies measuring acute variables. Chronic changes in body composition don't appear to depend as much on this.

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    So in other words, they only test entirely untrained people whose response to training is extremely marked and noticeable?

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    I think the OP is referring to implications of the research that has come out of Don Layman's lab at U of Illinois Urbana-Champagne. That might seem like a reach, but there are people from Layman's lab who have a pretty big Social Media presence and so its been brought to a wider audience than most pubmed entries reach.

    The work shows pretty convincing evidence that the pathways that produce MPS in skeletal muscle can become decoupled from amino acid availability - 1) activation of the pathway can reach a max amplitude even in the face of further increasing Leucine availability, and 2) the signalling pathway goes through a refractory period in which intracellular EAA concentration has to fall to critical levels before the pathway can be restimulated.

    If you take it in isolation, you might interpret this to mean that IF the pathway is maxed out at 30g of quality protein (in the ball park with their figures), then a meal of 40g of said protein will not result in any greater benefit. Furthermore, eating a second meal before the pathway is ready to be turned on again will not only waste the protein from that meal but delay the start of the next bout of MPS thus robbing you of gains. The problem is you cannot look at these things in isolation as we don't know what counterbalancing is happening with other pathways. The fact there are plenty of Bros who go big eating more than 30g of protein more frequently than every 3 hours suggests the fact that the pathways controlling MPS become refractory dont practically impeed muscle growth over the long term.

  7. #7
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    Is meal spacing a factor for older trainees, assuming that their digestive process takes longer than younger trainees? As a 56 year old man, it sometimes feels like I am "piling on" more food on top of undigested food, if the spacing is 3 hours.

    I do understand that spacing out meals more towards every 5 hours would require more food at each meal in order to meet daily calorie and macro goals.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LimieJosh View Post
    I think the OP is referring to implications of the research that has come out of Don Layman's lab at U of Illinois Urbana-Champagne. That might seem like a reach, but there are people from Layman's lab who have a pretty big Social Media presence and so its been brought to a wider audience than most pubmed entries reach.

    The work shows pretty convincing evidence that the pathways that produce MPS in skeletal muscle can become decoupled from amino acid availability - 1) activation of the pathway can reach a max amplitude even in the face of further increasing Leucine availability, and 2) the signalling pathway goes through a refractory period in which intracellular EAA concentration has to fall to critical levels before the pathway can be restimulated.

    If you take it in isolation, you might interpret this to mean that IF the pathway is maxed out at 30g of quality protein (in the ball park with their figures), then a meal of 40g of said protein will not result in any greater benefit. Furthermore, eating a second meal before the pathway is ready to be turned on again will not only waste the protein from that meal but delay the start of the next bout of MPS thus robbing you of gains. The problem is you cannot look at these things in isolation as we don't know what counterbalancing is happening with other pathways. The fact there are plenty of Bros who go big eating more than 30g of protein more frequently than every 3 hours suggests the fact that the pathways controlling MPS become refractory dont practically impeed muscle growth over the long term.
    But has any of this been correlated with chronic changes in muscle mass? So far the answer is No.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlocity2 View Post
    Is meal spacing a factor for older trainees, assuming that their digestive process takes longer than younger trainees? As a 56 year old man, it sometimes feels like I am "piling on" more food on top of undigested food, if the spacing is 3 hours.

    I do understand that spacing out meals more towards every 5 hours would require more food at each meal in order to meet daily calorie and macro goals.
    From a digestive standpoint yes this would make sense. Many older adults have achlorohydria so they cannot effectively denature proteins like a younger person. So a great quantity is recommended and higher frequency of intake.

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