Can This Common Diet Food Really Build Muscle?

No matter how hard we work out, if we aren’t eating right, the results won’t show. For those of us who aren’t into expensive protein shakes or supplements, let’s look at the best foods to eat when trying to build muscle. Researchers suggest that cottage cheese could actually be just the protein-rich muscle food to include in our diets. However, long considered a “diet food”, could this possible be true?

First and foremost, when trying to build muscle, it’s important that we eat right. A health and fitness website, Fit Mixer, explains that “your muscles only grow and get stronger when they are resting and recovering. What you do in the weight room will break down your muscles and give them the chance to get stronger and grow bigger, but what you do with your nutrition is what really separates you from the pack.”


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Cottage cheese, which is a fresh cheese curd, may not look that appetizing, but research claims that it may be a powerful source for muscle-building. Eaten by itself or combined with fruit, cottage cheese offers us a lot of benefits.

cottage cheese benefits feat image

Men’s Fitness, explains that cottage cheese is an ideal food for building muscle because of “two different components […] casein […and] live cultures.”  Among its other nutrients, the casein and live cultures in cottage cheese provides our bodies with essential muscle-building proteins. Men’s Fitness states that “when you eat casein your blood amino acid levels rise slowly and stay elevated for longer than if you would have eaten whey (the other dairy protein).” Casein is a slow-digesting protein, meaning that it prevents muscles from being used as an energy source, therefore, helps in muscle growth. As a matter of fact you can buy casein protein in its purest form at your local health food store.

Fit Mixer then adds that “cottage cheese makes an incredible late night muscle building snack because it is a slow digesting form of quality protein, just what your body needs to recover and grow.” Even though we know eating late at night could be detrimental to our weight loss plans, cottage cheese is one snack that may actually be beneficial to consume late at night.

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An informational website, Live Strong, explains that in addition to cottage cheese’s high content of casein, it is also packed with protein. Live Strong states that “cottage cheese contains 15 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup — a very high proportion for such a small serving […and it…] it gives your body a quick boost of protein that can be delivered to your muscles during your workout, ensuring a more effective session.” Whether you eat cottage cheese before bed or before a work out, it seems this snack may just help you to reach your fitness goals.

Verdict: Fact. Cottage cheese is a great addition to your diet when trying to gain muscle. Packed with nutrients, cottage cheese is a power snack when it comes to muscle gain. Try mixing cottage cheese with fruit, spreading it on an English muffin, or enjoy it plain. You can also check out the video at the top of the page for a great breakfast idea containing the ingredient. You can also consider eating it before bed in order to maximize its benefits.

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Are you a fan of cottage cheese? What other protein sources do you enjoy?

Image via iStock


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