GUYS WILL PROBABLY be fighting online for millennia about the best time to get protein during the day. To add to the chorus, a new study from the University of Illinois recently tackled the subject in a two-phase experiment on rats.

First, they gave two groups three meals a day with 16% of calories from protein—one fed animal-based protein from whey or eggs, another plant protein from soy and wheat—and found the animal group had increased muscle synthesis, while the veggie eaters gained 20% more body fat.

The second part focused only on whey protein—with one group getting a balanced amount of protein throughout the day, while the other got ramped-up protein as the day went on. The study showed that rats with the balanced protein had greater muscle mass than those on the unbalanced diet.