T Nation

Fat Gain From Before Bedtime Protein Drinks?

Has any one else noticed an increase in bodyfat from adding in a pre-bedtime protein drink? I had rarely eaten anything between dinner and bedtime until reading the numerous recommendations in Tmag articles to take in some protein prior to sleep. I began drinking a protein shake (about 30g) prior to bed about 6 months ago and noticed an increase in bodyfat, particularly around the mid-section. The amount of extra calories shouldn’t have made that much difference and even increasing my activity level didn’t seem to help. About a month ago I dropped the night time protein shake and the added fat is beginning to disappear. Am I unique or does the time of day that you take in calories have this effect on anyone else?

I can’t really answer your quest. but I have one for you: have you noticed a change in quality of sleep (either better or worse) since you started having protein before bed? Thanks.

What type of protein drink was it…did it have added carbs? Or was it pure protein (no carbs)? That would help to know…

Always try to eat for the forth coming 2 to 3 hour period. Unless you intend to work out in your sleep the extra calories will not be used in that time and will likely go to fat.

Buster, I am a strong proponent and practitioner of a bedtime protein drink. I have been using an MRP like GROW with a tablespoon of peanut butter/Udo’s for quite some time. I personally do very well with the snack about an hour before I hit it, and actually I think it helps me keep fat in check. You may want to take a look at your nutrition log for the day…if you’re already getting enough calories prior to this drink, then it’s going to be stored as fat no matter what. Remember that the liquid concoction may cause a smooth or filled feeling/look prior to hitting the sack.


I do agree with Rob that you need to plan your meals for your activity levels for the following 2-3 hours. However, you continue to burn calories at a rate slightly lower than your BMR while sleeping, so a protein/MRP with a reasonable amount of calories will not only keep muscle catabolism in check but also be burnt at a relatively slower than normal rate. Like I said, I have a shake before hitting it and morning can’t come soon enough as I’m starving for that first meal of the day.

Maclar and T. my pre-sleep protein drink consisted of about 30g of straight protein (1/2 casein and 1/2 whey) and a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. My total daily calories didn’t change, just the timing of them. That’s why the fat gain and subsequent loss seemed odd.

I dont know whats wrong man. I include some type of bed time protein almost every night whether it is a shake or a whole food meal with carbs and I belive it has mad a big difference in my bodybuilding efforts and keeping my body fat in check.

I’m with you guys; I have some protein and fat minutes before hitting the sack, have done so faithfully for a couple of years, and my bodyfat has lowered (lots of other factors in play there, of course), but the point is, I feel as if I recover more (most of my workouts are at 6:00 p.m. so this is my third post-workout meal) and don’t wake up so shaky hungry.

I usually have some fat free cottage cheese with a scoop of Grow! and some flax or Udo's oil, just mixed together in a bowl so it's pudding-like. Sometimes I have a liquid shake, just depends upon what's handy and how I feel.

As a former fattie (long time ago), it took me a long time to begin taking this pre-bed food in, even after I knew I should. Believe me, if I can do it, you can, and I believe you'll benefit from it (assuming you're training your ass off).