Diet Myth #1: Carbs at Night, Good or Bad?

Hey guys! After helping my brother and sister-in-law come up with a “diet” plan to help shed a few pounds pre bikini season, I was inspired to start a new series on diet myths that the media has taught us. The first one will be on everyone’s favorite topic… CARBS 🙂

Who doesn’t love a good ole’ carbohydrate filled meal? I mean come on, I’m pretty sure if everyone could live off of one macro-element and not gain a pound it would be carbs. That is probably why there is so much controversy over whether or not the timing/amount of eating them is so widely discussed.

Now I’m no dietician, but I have done a lot of research and self-experimentation and from my view-point the theory that eating a large carbohydrate meal after a certain time will make you gain weight is BOGUS.

There is no data to back this claim and in fact, there is more data to refute it than there is to support it. Here are a few of the main reasons I believe that eating carbs is actually BENEFICIAL and why I personally save a good majority of my carbs for my pre-bedtime snack:

  • Cortisol levels are naturally highest in the morning and take a dip later during the day
  • Insulin levels spike after a high-carbohydrate meal
  • Cortisol enhances the fat-storing effects of Insulin
    • –> Meaning, fat-storage after eating a high-carb meal is less likely to occur when Cortisol levels are at their lowest, which is generally in the evening before bed.
  • Carbs make you sleepy, which makes it ideal for a pre-bedtime snack.
  • When you wake up you are in a “fasted” state, meaning your body is likely using your fat storage for energy until you give it fuel. By eating a breakfast comprised of Protein + Fat you pro-long the bodies fat-burning stage by not giving your body a quick digesting fuel source (carbs).
This website put it perfectly:
Let me see if this sounds familiar to anyone out there: Have you ever had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and felt hungry less than hour later? Or chowed down on a big bagel but it didn’t hold you over for long?
When fat loss is the goal and we start the day with carbohydrates (think: granola and fruit, bagel, cereal, pancakes, etc) we set ourselves up to prevent fat burning and trigger extreme hunger, constant cravings and low energy.

 

Now does this mean eat your body weight in carbs before bed? No. Total overall calories in vs. calories out is what ultimately dictates whether or not you gain or lose weight. So… It’s up to you. If depriving yourself of bread during the day is going to make you miserable, don’t do it! Personally, I enjoy an egg white omelette with my fave Trader Joes Reduced-Guilt Guacamole for my breakfast every day and don’t feel deprived of carbs at all. However, pre-bed time I HAVEEEE to have some type of carby snack in order to go to bed sleepy and satisfied. Thus, I like to save my carbs during the day so that I don’t feel guilty eating my favorite snackies.

 

Now, for those of you wondering about how many carbs, protein, and fats you should be eating for your lifestyle and goals, check out this website to help give you a baseline to start at: https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator
Sources:
I hope this helps!
XO,
Abby
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