Quorn vegan protein may be better than milk for building muscle

A meat substitute called Quorn was found to aid muscle building better than milk protein, according to a new study. The research looked at the product's meat-free 'mycoprotein' ingredient, which is sourced from a microfungus called Fusarium venenatum that grows in soil. According to scientists with the University of Exeter, this protein may be ideal for stimulating muscle growth after exercise.

READ: Replacing red meat with plant-based protein lowers heart disease risk

Mycoprotein is unique to Quorn; it originates from the soil but is grown using a fermentation process. The company positions its vegetarian-friendly product as a sustainable alternative to meat, one that uses twenty times less water than is needed to raise cattle and six times lower quantities than what is needed for chicken.

The Exeter study involved 20 participants described as young, healthy, and trained young men who were instructed to exercise, then were fed either mycoprotein or the more commonly used milk protein. Scientists measured the participants' muscle building rates during this process and found that the men who consumed mycoprotein experienced much higher rates of muscle growth.

The men who were given milk protein experienced muscle building rates up to 60-percent greater than baseline, whereas the group given mycoprotein experienced at least double that rate, according to the study. Talking about the results was University of Exeter professor Dr. Benjamin Wall, who said:

Our data show that mycoprotein can stimulate muscles to grow faster in the hours following exercise compared with a typical animal comparator protein (milk protein) – we look forward to seeing whether these mechanistic findings translate to longer-term training studies in various populations.