Carbs. Oh, carbs. Such a big topic this macronutrient is. Ask any fitness enthusiasts and most will say that late-night carbohydrates is a no-no because you are not active at night therefore you will store it as fat. That’s what I USED to say too. Well, before I took into consideration what does ‘real science’ have to say about it?
When I first got involved in fitness I believed whatever my idol did. If I looked up to a fitness figure I did everything they did. How they ate, what times they ate, what they said, and what they believed to be true. I mean, based on how they looked they had to have the magic formula right? I did everything they did without any regard to if it were scientifically true or not. Even worse, if it was optimal for me and my goals.
Honestly, It wasn’t until I got tired of believing what he said she sad. What I wanted to know was what does science have to say? What was really true or not and actually backed up by research. I remember doing my own research extensively by reading various scientific studies on carbohydrates and it’s effects on the body. The one thing that stood out to me the most in a research study I read was that it didn’t matter what time I ate the carbs; what mattered was if I ate more total energy (calories) than my body needed then I would gain body fat. I was shocked! What does this mean? Even if I ate my carbs at night, that wouldn’t cause me to gain body fat. What did cause body fat gain was eating more calories than my body needed.
I decided it was time to actually try it. There was nothing to lose. If I found it didn’t work for me then I would go back to what I’ve always done. To my surprise I felt fine, I felt better because I ate when I wanted and even more so I maintained my weight no problem. I’ve been doing this for years now. The time I eat my carbs is far from any of my worries. Sometimes I get home late from a movie (11pm ish) and if I hadn’t eaten dinner yet then I will eat; yes carbs included (big bowl of whole grain cereal with a side of eggs-yummy!) . Because the body DOES NOT KNOW TIME. The body only knows if you are giving it more energy (calories) than it needs on a daily bases. If you feed it more than it needs you will gain fat, if you feed it less than it needs you will lose fat. If you feed it just enough you will maintain.
I hope this helps your carb-phobia 😉 Remember do what works for you but always know that science always wins over any fitness guru.
- Van Cauter E, Shapiro ET, Tillil H, Polonsky KS. Circadian modulation of glucose and insulin responses to meals: Relationship to cortisol rhythm. Am J Physiol. 1992 Apr;262(4 Pt 1):E467-75
- Sofer S, Eliraz A, Kaplan S, Voet H, Fink G, Kima T, Madar Z. Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct;19(10):2006-14.