Many weight-watchers, body-builders, and athletes eat cottage cheese before bed. What is it with eating cottage cheese before bed? Does it help you lose weight? Is it healthy? There must be some reason behind eating this bedtime snack.
Let us learn more about cottage cheese and the reasons why it’s beneficial to eat them before heading to bed.
What is cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese is a fresh loose cheese curd with a mild and sweet taste. Unlike other types of cheese, it is not pressed, aged, or colored. Different types of cottage cheese vary in the level of fats in the milk and whether they come in small or large-curd preparations.
There are regular varieties of cottage cheese, as well as low-fat and no-fat varieties. There are also no-sodium kinds of cottage cheese in small, medium, and large curds.
Preparing cottage cheese
You can buy commercial cottage cheese in the supermarket or make them at home using milk, vinegar, salt, and heavy cream or half and half.
Cottage cheese can be eaten on its own or with your favorite toppings. You can top them with some fruits, such as blueberries, peach, or even grilled pineapple. You also put delicious nut or cereal toppings on them.
Nutrients in cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is very rich in protein. One cup of low-fat and no sodium cottage cheese contains a generous 28 grams of protein or 56 percent of the recommended daily intake for protein. It is also a rich source of calcium, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, and Phosphorus.
Cottage cheese is naturally high in saturated fats and sodium, but choosing low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese with no or less sodium will make cottage cheese a healthier snack that will help you lose weight.
Reasons to eat cottage cheese before bed
Cottage cheese is a great snack you can enjoy any time of the day, but eating them before bed has wonderful benefits that aid in weight loss and that keep you healthy.
Here are the benefits of cottage cheese and the reasons to eat them before bed:
1. Keeps you satiated and controls hunger in the morning
The type of protein mostly found in cottage cheese is casein. Casein is known to be digested by your body slower than other types of protein. This keeps you feeling satiated longer for the night. The feeling of satiety also helps control hunger in the morning, which then helps limit your calorie intake that aids in weight loss.
2. Boosts metabolism
Protein, especially casein, is a slow-digesting nutrient. Compared to other nutrients, it takes more calories to digest protein, thus boosting your metabolism and helping you lose weight faster.
When consumed before bed, cottage cheese, which is high in protein, will allow your body to continuously burn more calories and boost your metabolism even while you are sleeping.
3. Increases your resting energy expenditure (REE)
Aside from burning more calories while you are sleeping, eating cottage cheese before heading for bed also helps increase your resting energy expenditure or REE for the next day. REE is the amount of calories you burn even when exercise is done and when you are already resting.
A study published in 2014 found out that consuming casein protein before bedtime increases your REE for the next morning.
While you burn a lot of calories during your exercise, your resting energy expenditure actually accounts for 60-75 percent of the total calories you burn throughout the day. This makes REE a very important consideration when you are trying to lose weight.
4. Helps you sleep better
Cottage cheese is one of the foods that are rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is helpful in giving you a good night’s sleep. It helps prevent insomnia, depression, and anxiety, among its many benefits.
5. Promotes muscle growth
Cottage cheese promotes muscle growth in two ways. First is by its high protein content and low carbohydrate content that increases your growth hormone level. Second is by its rich calcium content that stimulates testosterone levels. Both factors have been studied to help increase muscle mass.
When you have built more muscles, your body also burns more calories at a faster rate. Muscle tissues are said to use up more calories than fat, helping you lose weight faster.
6. Promotes fat-loss
Dairy products like cottage cheese, which are high in protein and calcium, have also been studied to promote faster loss of fat. In a study involving obese subjects, three servings of dairy per day has been seen to significantly reduce body fats of the subjects. Their fat loss was even more pronounced when their calorie intake was lessened.
Cottage cheese is also a great source of leucine, one of the amino acids in protein. According to University of Illinois researchers, leucine can be the key factor in fat loss and muscle gain.
7. Provides other essential nutrients
Aside from all its weight loss benefits cottage cheese is also rich in other nutrients that make it a healthy bedtime snack. It is a great source of Vitamin B12 that promotes a healthy nervous system; Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin that aids in metabolism and in the proper functioning of vital organs; and Phosphorus that promotes kidney health, as well as stronger bones and teeth.
While consuming cottage cheese before bed has its advantages, there are things you need to consider to take advantage of its weight loss benefits. These include the following:
- Exercise regularly and practice having a balanced diet to effectively lose weight.
- Consider your total calorie intake for the day. If you have taken heavy meals for the day, snacking on cottage cheese more often could even lead to weight gain. Make sure that the calories you burn are more than the calories you take in.
- For a healthier bedtime snack, choose cottage cheese that is low or zero in fat, as well as one that is low or zero in sodium. This will help avoid the risks of developing heart diseases, stroke, and other life-threatening conditions.
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