Differences in postprandial protein handling after beef compared with milk ingestion during postexercise recovery: a randomized controlled trial

N.A. Burd, S.H. Gorissen, S. van Vliet, T. Snijders, L.J. van Loon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

80 Citations (Web of Science)


BACKGROUND: Protein consumed after resistance exercise increases postexercise muscle protein synthesis rates. To date, dairy protein has been studied extensively, with little known about the capacity of other protein-dense foods to augment postexercise muscle protein synthesis rates. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to compare protein digestion and absorption kinetics, postprandial amino acid availability, anabolic signaling, and the subsequent myofibrillar protein synthetic response after the ingestion of milk compared with beef during recovery from resistance-type exercise. DESIGN: In crossover trials, 12 healthy young men performed a single bout of resistance exercise. Immediately after cessation of exercise, participants ingested 30 g protein by consuming isonitrogenous amounts of intrinsically l-[1-(13)C]phenylalanine-labeled beef or milk. Blood and muscle biopsy samples were collected at rest and after exercise during primed continuous infusions of l-[ring-(2)H5]phenylalanine and l-[ring-3,5-(2)H2]tyrosine to assess protein digestion and absorption kinetics, plasma amino acid availability, anabolic signaling, and subsequent myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in vivo in young men. RESULTS: Beef protein-derived phenylalanine appeared more rapidly in circulation compared with milk ingestion (P < 0.001). The availability of phenylalanine during the 5-h postexercise period tended to be higher after beef (64% +/- 3%) ingestion than after milk ingestion (57% +/- 3%; P = 0.08). Both beef and milk ingestion were followed by an increase in the phosphorylation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 and 70-kDa S6 protein kinase 1 during postexercise recovery. Milk ingestion increased myofibrillar protein synthesis rates to a greater extent than did beef ingestion during the 0- to 2-h postexercise phase (P = 0.013). However, the increase in myofibrillar protein synthesis rates did not differ between milk and beef ingestion during the entire 0- to 5-h postexercise phase (P = 0.114). CONCLUSIONS: Both milk and beef ingestion augment the postexercise myofibrillar protein synthetic response in young men, with a stronger stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis during the early postprandial stage after milk ingestion. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01578590.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-836
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • leucine
  • hypertrophy
  • muscle mass
  • weightlifting
  • sports nutrition
  • REST

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