January 12, 2018
As little as 9 grams of dairy protein may be enough to kick-start the muscle-building process, according to research in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
For the study, a group of healthy men chugged either a milk-based drink with 9 grams of protein or a carbohydrate-only beverage equal in calories after a lower body strength training session. While the carb-only placebo did little to bolster the muscle-building process post-workout, the 9 grams of dairy protein sufficiently ramped things up.
“In response to loading muscles with training stress, the mTOR protein in our muscles is activated, which is a key to stimulating protein synthesis,” says Sumbal. “And mTOR is highly sensitive to the amino acids found in dairy.”
Go for a 1/2-cup serving of ricotta, which offers about 14 grams of milk protein. It’s also a good source of whey protein, meaning it’s high in the essential amino acid leucine, which is especially effective at signaling mTOR to spark new muscle growth, says Sumbal. An added bonus: British researchers found that pairing whey protein with carbs after a workout can help make your bones stronger, too.
Post-workout boost: Stir together 1/2 cup park-skim ricotta cheese and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl. Top with 1/3 cup granola and 1/2 cup berries.