Food-First Approach to Enhance the Regulation of Post-exercise Skeletal Muscle Protein Synthesis and Remodeling
Protein recommendations are provided on a daily basis as defined by the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) at 0.80 g protein/kg/day. However, meal-based, as opposed to daily, dietary protein recommendations are likely more informative given the role of the daily protein distribution pattern in modulating the post-exercise muscle protein synthetic response. Current protein meal recommendations to plateau post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rates are based on the ingestion of isolated protein sources, and not protein-rich whole foods. It is generally more common to eat whole food sources of dietary protein within a normal eating pattern to meet dietary protein requirements. Yet, there is a need to define how dietary protein action on muscle protein synthesis rates can be modulated by other nutrients within a food matrix to achieve protein requirements for optimal muscle adaptations. Recent developments suggest that the identification of an “optimal” protein source should likely consider the characteristics of the protein and the food matrix in which it is consumed. This review aims to discuss recent concepts related to protein quality, and the potential interactive effects of the food matrix, to achieve optimal protein requirements and elicit a robust postprandial muscle protein synthetic response with an emphasis on the post-exercise recovery window.