BIG Nutrition: Protein-pacing is gaining momentum!


BIG Nutrition: Protein-pacing is gaining momentum!

Since 2014, three studies published looking at Protein-pacing, Resistance, Interval, Stretching, and Endurance (PRISE) have found support for the approach. The RISE concept is familiar to CrossFit athletes, so let’s take a look at protein-pacing. Nutrition Challenge participants are getting their first experience with protein-pacing because it is the added nutrition challenge this week.


  • Means distributing protein eaten more evenly throughout the day rather than eating the same amount of protein in 1-2 meals (e.g., lunch and dinner) as is common practice in American eating.
  • Appears to benefit to overweight/obese men and women through improved body composition (less fat and more lean body weight).
  • Appears to also benefit women who are trained or untrained improving athletic performance.
  • Can be food or by consuming whey supplementation. Both showed an advantage over not pacing protein throughout the day.

The PRISE research is gaining attention because of its success with regard to improved physical performance, cardiometabolic health, and body composition:

The PRISE 1 study found that protein pacing (using whey protein supplementation) “reduces visceral adipose tissue mass and improves insulin resistance.”

The PRISE 2 study found that protein pacing (using food or whey protein supplementation) helps improve physical performance and cardiometabolic health in obese men and women.

Testing the PRISE concept, yet again, in the PRISE 3 study, this group found that protein pacing and caloric restriction benefits body composition in obese men and women compared to a heart healthy diet short-term (12-weeks) and longer-term (52 weeks).

Because there is not a large body of research related to protein-pacing, further research is needed to verify the findings. However, from a practical standpoint, distributing protein eaten more evenly throughout the day rather than consuming it in 1-2 meals is something that can be easily done today!

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

Questions about how to pace your protein intake each day? Contact me at [email protected]