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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Oct;65(10):1068-76. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glq123. Epub 2010 Jul 9.

Nitrogen balance in older individuals in energy balance depends on timing of protein intake.

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Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1582, USA.


To explore whether nitrogen retention can differ on an isonitrogenous diet by changing when protein is consumed, we performed a short-term study in older individuals (64.5 ± 2.0 years) performing daily exercise while in energy balance. Participants consumed an isonitrogenous-isocaloric diet with the timing of a protein or carbohydrate beverage after exercise (protein after exercise [PRO], carbohydrate after exercise [CHO]) versus earlier in the day. Three-day mean energy balance (PRO: 202 ± 36 kcal and CHO: 191 ± 44 kcal; p = .68) did not differ between trials, but 3-day mean nitrogen balance was significantly more positive in the PRO (1.2 ± 0.32 g N) trial than the CHO trial (0.8 ± 0.45 g N; p < .05). Older individuals were better able to maintain nitrogen balance by simply changing when a portion of an identical amount of daily protein was consumed.

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