Acute Effects of Cheddar Cheese Consumption on Circulating Amino Acids and Human Skeletal Muscle

Mar 1, 2021  •  By Naomi M.M.P. de Hart
Cheddar Study

Cheddar cheese is a protein-dense whole food and high in leucine content. However, no information is known about the acute blood amino acid kinetics and protein anabolic effects in skeletal muscle in healthy adults. Therefore, we conducted a crossover study in which men and women (n = 24; ~27 years, ~23 kg/m2) consumed cheese (20 g protein) or an isonitrogenous amount of milk. Blood and skeletal muscle biopsies were taken before and during the post absorptive period following ingestion. We evaluated circulating essential and non-essential amino acids, insulin, and free fatty acids and examined skeletal muscle anabolism by mTORC1 cellular localization, intracellular signaling, and ribosomal profiling. We found that cheese ingestion had a slower yet more sustained branched-chain amino acid circulation appearance over the postprandial period peaking at ~120 min. Cheese also modestly stimulated mTORC1 signaling and increased membrane localization. Using ribosomal profiling we found that, though both milk and cheese stimulated a muscle anabolic program associated with mTORC1 signaling that was more evident with milk, mTORC1 signaling persisted with cheese while also inducing a lower insulinogenic response. We conclude that Cheddar cheese induced a sustained blood amino acid and moderate muscle mTORC1 response yet had a lower glycemic profile compared to milk.

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