Many people may have advised you to avoid carbs at night at all costs especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
This belief has been around for quite some time now, and a lot of people live by it.
You’ve been taught that eating carbs close to bedtime will immediately turn them into fat, as opposed to consuming them earlier.
After a tiresome day, a cup of mashed potato seems well deserved – and you can enjoy it without feeling guilty.
You can eat carbs at night, but before you dive in, there are a few points to consider.
Will Eating Carbs at Night Make You Fat?
The concept behind eating carbs late in the day can stem a couple of misunderstandings. There are different times in the day where carbs are used as energy or stored as fat.
For instance, you decide to go on a workout after eating your lunch. You can have enough energy to keep you going during and after your workout by eating carbs.
On the other hand, you may think that when you don’t immediately exercise after consuming carbs, then those get stored up and turned to fat faster. Well, not entirely.
When you take in carbs, the body releases insulin, a hormone that helps reduce blood sugar levels by managing the use and storage of glucose.
During your workout session, your body releases less insulin as it tries to produce more glucose for your hard-working muscles. When you are fast asleep, your energy stores are what fuels the brain.
The function of insulin and the course of carbohydrate metabolism can be quite complex.
All you have to remember is that eating carbohydrates whether in the morning or evening will have little to no difference.
Why Eating Carbs at Night is Good
Evening consumption doesn’t necessarily promote weight gain; it’s excess consumption that does.
Your daily caloric intake depends on how active your lifestyle is and how much weight you’re trying to lose, or if the latter is actually your goal at all.
Your workout schedule should also be considered when you should have carbs. For instance, if you have an office job and spend all day in your chair, chances are your workout happens at night.
You absolutely then need to consume carbohydrates at night to help your body recover adequately and restore glycogen stores.
Even if there are days where you skip working out, as long as you eat the recommended amount of carbs, the time of when you consume them matters little.
To put it simply, your body doesn’t really know the time, and it wouldn’t just react like, “So you’re eating late tonight, I’m going to go ahead and turn these into fat right away!”
Having a tiny amount of complex carbohydrates at night with dinner can aid you in feeling fuller without having to dread craving for a midnight snack.
How many times have you found yourself hungry only two hours after having your dinner? Probably more than once.
Losing weight and staying healthy in general is hugely about maintaining a balanced and more importantly, realistic mean and exercise plan.
The Types of Carbs to Eat for Weight Loss
Before you think of doubling your pizza consumption, you should first know the type of carbs you should be having.
The best type of carbs is complex carbs. These are good for everyday consumption and are digested slower than simple carbs and keeps you from feeling hungry longer.
If you eat a small amount at night, it will keep you nourished until breakfast. Simple carbs tend to be unhealthy, being found in processed and sugary drinks.
Generally, natural fiber-rich carbohydrates are healthy, while those processed and stripped of fiber are not. A whole, single ingredient food regardless of its carb content is perhaps a healthy option for the majority.
Having said that, we can categorize good and bad carbs, but they are never restricted within their category. In nutrition, foods are hardly black and white.
- Whole Fruits: Apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, common figs, pineapples, prunes, raisins
- Whole Grains: Barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa
- Vegetables: All of them! Artichoke, aubergine, asparagus, legumes, broccoflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, endive, fiddleheads, frisee, fennel, greens, herbs and spices, lettuce, mushrooms, nettles, New Zealand spinach, okra, onions, parsley, peppers, radicchio, rhubarb, root vegetables, salsify, skirret, sweetcorn, topinambur, squashes, tatsoi, tomato, watercress
- Nuts: Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
- Tubers: Carrots, cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnip, taro, yams
- Seeds: Chia seed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed, sesame seed
- Candies and chocolates: if you will, go with dark chocolate
- Fruit juices: even the fruit juices that promise to be all-natural and healthy can have the same metabolic effects as a soda
- Sugary drinks: you name it, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, VitaminWater – these are among the unhealthiest you can give your body
Cakes, cookies, and pastries
- Potato chips and French fries: while whole potatoes are healthy, their fried versions are not
- Ice cream: naturally high in sugar
Most of these foods are fine to be consumed in moderation, but it’s best to avoid them if you can.
How to Avoid Eating Carbs at Night
So many of us try to keep our hands off more food at night, but fail to do so because it is only natural to feel the want to satisfy ourselves after a long day.
A lovely, filling meal seems like the perfect way to end the night.
Also, we tend to rewards ourselves with food throughout the day, thinking that maybe just having a salad for dinner can make up for it.
Unfortunately, the hunger for a more satisfying meal wins most of the time.
With this, you will find it easier to reel your carbohydrates throughout the day rather than consuming a massive amount in one go at night.
By doing so, you won’t feel as hungry as you were before and you’ll feel fuller even just by having a light dinner. The key is to plan and distribute your meals that suit your lifestyle.
Regulating your food distribution is an essential factor in successfully managing your carbs and overall health.