Photo Courtesy: Paweł Rękas
Will eating carbohydrates at night make you gain weight?
I love stripping away the fluff around nutrition and healthy living myths, dogmas, and practices from reading your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the conversation and share in the comments why/if you went along with this myth!”
Will eating carbohydrates at night, make me gain weight?
NO. I get this question weekly and have ever since I can remember! Any “guru” who tells you not to eat carbohydrates past a certain hour, let’s say 3 or 4pm for example, has no idea what they’re talking about to put it bluntly. Our bodies are amazing. They’re adaptable and they’re smart!
Our bodies also care more about the overall intake in a day, a week, a month versus very specific timing such as eating carbs at night. Meal timing is a completely different topic that I could speak about. There are so many factors that contribute to weight loss. Yes managing carbohydrates may be beneficial for some body types and goals, but it doesn’t mean that
Studies have shown that time of day doesn’t influence how much or at what rate insulin is released with evening meals comprised of carbohydrates compared to morning meals. Another reason why eating carbs at night may actually be better is all about the balance of cortisol, a stress hormone, and insulin. Cortisol is naturally highest in the morning and takes a dip during the day- this is completely natural. But, when insulin is elevated (i.e. let’s say you have a high carbohydrate meal, insulin comes out to “grab” the glucose/sugar), than fat loss/weight loss is halted. Cortisol enhances the fat-storing effects of insulin, so if you have carbohydrates with your evening meal, i.e. when your cortisol levels are naturally dropping, you don’t run into the problem with both low cortisol + high insulin and you have an advantage to tap into fat loss/weight loss. This whole process is in a nutshell, there’s far more specifics that can go into this and practices I share with clients to help their fat loss goals, but hormones are pretty cool huh? Also, studies have shown that our resting metabolic rate at night falls and rises contrary to “broscience” that our metabolisms slow and crashes during the night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). What matters more than anything is your entire intake over the course of a day and week, not just 1 meal.
I have clients who have successfully had fat loss and leaned out eating carbs at night; from all different backgrounds, ages, lifestyles, goals, and metabolisms on different plans. Some do really well with very high carbohydrate diets and some will gain weight just by looking at a bagel! I happily and healthfully eat and enjoy carbs at night to this day. This is the beauty of finding what works for you, balancing your macronutrients, and letting go of the dogmas. Let’s hand over the micromanaging to someone else and give yourself permission to enjoy eating healthy carbohydrates at night. This myth is totally busted. #happy hormones
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YOUR TURN: Have you ever followed this myth? Do you have friends you know tell you this myth? Leave a comment and let’s chat!
OPTIMISE, YOU DESERVE IT! I work 1-1 with women just like you all over the world to help optimize their health, reach goals, feel and look amazing! Contact me if you would like to find out more about how we can work together and take the first step to make this your healthiest and happiest year yet. (p.s. I regularly include carbohydrates and desserts in my meal plans, oh my!)
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!