Ask True Nutrition #2: Overnight Nutrition

Most beginning bodybuilders and endurance athletes understand the importance of increasing their protein intake immediately following their workout, but many fail to consider the vital role that protein and other key dietary supplements can play in overnight nutrition. Today’s question involves just that:

Which protein powder would you recommend that I use for overnight nutrition?

Timing is everything when it comes to properly refueling your muscles. Different protein powders digest at different rates based on a number of key factors. Whey protein is the one of the most commonly used protein powders on the market since it exhibits an extremely fast digestion rate over most other forms of protein. While this works perfectly post-workout, when your body is looking to absorb nutrients as quickly as possible following intense exercise, this rapid rate of digestion is not so ideal overnight.

Sleep is an essential part of our daily recovery, but as we sleep, our body is in a constant state of recovery and repair, wherein muscle tissues may begin to break down in order to supply the body with more energy in the absence of an additional source of nutrition. This is easily combated, however, through the use of slow-acting proteins and fats.

Casein normally makes up over 80% of the protein found in milk. Where casein differs from whey is in its ability to congeal and form a gel-like consistency during digestion. As a result, the protein materials are broken down and released at a much slower rate than they would be in the digestion of whey protein. Casein is therefore considered to be an invaluable resource in our overnight nutrition, since it will continue to feed our cells and fight off the catabolism of muscle tissues over a period of up to 4-6 hours. The most popular casein materials that True Nutrition currently offers tend to be the Micellar Casein, which consists of 100% casein, and the Complete Milk and Dairy Isolate, which replicates the natural protein content found in milk at a ratio of 80% casein and 20% whey. The benefit of using a milk protein isolate, such as the Complete Milk and Dairy Isolate, over a standard casein is that you are being provided with a combination of both fast- and slow-digesting proteins to provide a steady release of amino acids and other vital nutrients over an extended period of time.

Caseins do pose a number of issues for certain individuals, however. As a milk protein, caseins are naturally high in lactose, which may irritate individuals with an intolerance to milk and dairy ingredients. Vegetarians and vegans who look to avoid all forms of animal-based proteins will also be unable to use these materials. This is where fats can play an important role in our overnight nutrition.

Most plant-based protein powders will have a digestion rate that falls somewhere between that of casein and that of whey. As such, they may not provide the same long-lasting effects that one would find in a standard casein. By combining a pea protein, rice protein, or soy protein, with a healthy source of fat in the form of olive oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, or flax seed oil, we can effectively slow the rate of release on any of these powders. Whey and egg proteins can similarly be mixed with healthy fats much to the same extent.

Our best recommendations would then fall between two main categories, depending on personal preferences and lifestyles:


Plant-Based Proteins (to be combined with a healthy fat source):

And don’t forget, True Nutrition also offers a variety of other helpful aids that may serve to improve sleep patterns, increase recovery, or increase testosterone overnight*:

Remember, timing is everything! Be sure to keep your muscles happy by supplying them with a constant source of energy in order to properly build and maintain muscle mass while you sleep! Ask us how slow-digesting proteins, fats, and sleep aids can help with your current diet and exercise plan today!

*DISCLAIMER: The above description is provided for information only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician or the appropriately licensed professional before engaging in a program of exercise or nutritional supplementation. No information in this site has been reviewed by the FDA. No product is intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease.