New research from the University of Exeter suggests that mycoprotein, a protein-rich food source, can build muscle at a greater rate than milk protein when taken post-exercise.
In their investigation, scientists examined the digestion of protein in 20 healthy, trained young men at rest and following a session of intense resistance exercise.
Good protein digestion causes an increase of amino acids (building blocks of protein) in the blood stream which helps build muscle.
The young men were split into two groups. After exercising, they either took milk protein or mycoprotein. In the hours following their protein intake, researchers measured their muscle building rates by using stable isotope labelled "tracers".
Results found that although milk protein saw muscle building rates increase by up to 60 per cent, the group that consumed mycoprotein instead saw twice as much muscle growth.
"These results are very encouraging when we consider the desire of some individuals to choose non-animal derived sources of protein to support muscle mass maintenance or adaptations with training," says Dr Benjamin Wall, Associate Professor of Nutritional Physiology, University of Exeter.
"Our data show that mycoprotein can stimulate muscles to grow faster in the hours following exercise compared with a typical animal comparator protein (milk protein) -- we look forward to seeing whether these mechanistic findings translate to longer term training studies in various populations."
"We're excited to see this data being presented by the University of Exeter at ECSS. In a world where many people are trying to cut back on their meat consumption, either for environmental or health reasons, we're happy to be able to offer an alternative protein that can provide exceptional nutrition and muscle growth, all while being meat-free," adds Chief Scientific Adviser for Quorn Foods, Tim Finnigan.