Eating cheese at night is mostly known for giving us nightmares, but apparently it can now help us lose weight, too.
According to metro.co.uk, new research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, has found that eating cottage cheese before going to sleep can help shed the pounds, as the low calorie food boosts metabolism, muscles and overall health – even while you are in bed, according to scientists.
The popular theory is a regular late night snack increases the risk of obesity because the body stores it as fat.
But that isn’t the case with protein rich products like cottage cheese, explained nutritionist Professor Michael Ormsbee.
His team found consuming two tablespoons of the cheese just half an hour prior to bedtime was actually good for wellbeing, and it offers as an alternative to healthy drinks or powders.
Even for those who have sworn off eating at night, there is no gain in body fat, said Professor Ormsbee.
It is one of the first studies where participants ate a whole food as opposed to a protein shake or supplement.
Professor Ormsbee, of Florida State University, said: ‘Until now, we presumed whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence.
‘This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation, and it gives people options for pre-sleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles.’
Cottage cheese is believed to be ideal before bed because it is abundant in a protein called casein, which releases slowly into the body.
This ensures a steady supply of amino acids through the night. When you eat protein, it’s broken down into amino acids.
These are then used to help your body with various processes such as building muscle and regulating immune function.
In the study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, 10 active young women in their 20s were given 30 grams of cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.
They ate it two hours after having dinner at the sleep laboratory where the experiments were carried out.
Upon waking between 5 and 8am their resting energy expenditure – the amount of energy burned while asleep – was measured.
This showed it was just as efficient as when they were given a casein shake to drink before going to bed.
Specifically Professor Ormsbee and his graduate student Samantha Leyh said the cottage cheese had improved their metabolic rate and muscle recovery equally as well.