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Quorn protein builds muscle better than milk protein - study published in the AJCN

22 May 2020

22 May 2020: Data published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates mycoprotein is a more effective source of protein to support post-exercise muscle building compared to milk protein.

A study from the University of Exeter has found that mycoprotein, the protein-rich food source that is unique to Quorn™ products, stimulates post-exercise muscle building to a greater extent than milk protein.

The results, published in the respected American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that while those who ingested milk protein increased their muscle growth rates by an average of 60%, those who had mycoprotein increased their muscle growth rates by more than double this – showing that mycoprotein, the main ingredient in all Quorn products, may be a more effective source of protein to promote muscle growth.

The study evaluated the digestion of protein, which allows amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to increase in the bloodstream and then become available for muscle protein building. This process was measured in 20 healthy, trained young men at rest and following a bout of strenuous resistance exercise. The young men performed the exercise and were then given either milk protein or mycoprotein. Their muscle building rates were then measured using ‘tracers’ in the hours following protein consumption. Animal proteins like milk are an excellent source for muscle growth, so they provide a useful comparison for testing other protein sources.

“These results are very encouraging when we consider the desire of some individuals to choose non-animal derived sources of protein to support muscle mass maintenance or adaptations with training. 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” said Benjamin Wall, Associate Professor of Nutritional Physiology, University of Exeter.

Tim Finnigan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Quorn Foods, said “We’re excited to see this data being published by the University of Exeter in the AJCN. In a world where many people are trying to cut back on their meat consumption, either for environmental or health reasons, we’re happy to be able to offer an alternative protein that can provide exceptional nutrition and muscle growth, all while being meat-free”.

A recent YouGov report analysing the dietary habits of the UK population shows that 14% of people now identify as Flexitarian.1

These results show that Quorn can be used as a good source of protein in a flexible diet, to suit each individual needs and goals.

The British Nutrition Foundation already recommends mycoprotein as a good source of dietary protein, both for everyday life and for sport and exercise. However, in the UK roughly a third of total protein consumption comes from meat products – and increasing meat intake may have serious consequences for public health and for the environment. Quorn’s mycoprotein represents a good “alternative” source of protein.

For more information about Quorn Food’s research into the impact of mycoprotein on health, please visit our nutrition website,
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For more information please contact or 0208 206 5151

About Quorn:
Quorn™ Foods is a global market leader in healthy, sustainable protein. Headquartered in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, the company offers a wide range of great-tasting products to appeal to the rapidly expanding group of people wanting to reduce their meat consumption. The company employs around 800 people and exports to 20 countries around the world, including Australia, South Africa and the USA. Quorn™ is one of the UK’s top 50 FMCG brands. Quorn™ Foods Ltd is the reporting group which includes a main trading company, Marlow Foods Ltd. Quorn™ Foods Ltd encompasses all international operations of Quorn™ and Cauldron™.

About the University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university that combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 21,000 students and is in the top one per cent of universities worldwide. Exeter is also ranked 10th in the Guardian University Guide 2020 and 14th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the University ranked 16th nationally, with 98% of its research rated as being of international quality, while in 2017, Exeter was awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessment. Exeter was named The Times and The Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2015-16, in recognition of excellence in performance, education and research. Exeter was The Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13.

The University launched its flagship Global Systems Institute in 2018, a world-class, interdisciplinary community of researchers, students, citizens and partners that will solve global challenges through transformative research and education. This follows recent investments of more than £350 million worth of new facilities across its campuses in recent years; including the Living Systems Institute in 2016 in Exeter, and the Environment and Sustainability Institute on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, together with new student services hubs, and new facilities for Biosciences, the Business School and Renewable Energy.

1 YouGov. Is the future of food flexitarian? White Paper 2019.