Are Carbs After Dark Harmful to Fat Loss?

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Eating After Dark: Myth or Menace

Many people believe that you have to consume your carbs throughout the day and that you can’t have them after dark because you’ll be eating before you go to bed and your metabolism is going to slow down. So the thought is that you can’t eat carbs at night because it is more likely to be stored as fat. And while this makes sense, it is more complicated that.

When you go to sleep at night, what slows down is your energy expenditure and it slows down about 35% during the initial sleeping period. However, as you drift into REM sleep, your sleeping metabolic rate (SMR) actually increases and, unless you’re obese, it is actually higher than your resting metabolic rate. Although this is different than what your energy expenditure would be if you were working out, your body is still working.

⚡ Related: Learn How Sleep Can Affect Your Fat Loss

Insulin and Caloric Intake

There are studies that show that at night, insulin sensitivity can actually decrease, especially when compared to breakfast. When you eat breakfast in the morning, after having fasted all night, your insulin sensitivity increases as your body is going to try and use what you just ate quicker. When compared to the rest of your meals throughout the day, it really isn’t much different.

When eating at night, what matters is whether or not you are consuming more than your caloric needs for the day. If you haven’t consumed your caloric intake during the day, then consuming it at night isn’t going to make a difference. What matters is that you have more calories going out than you have calories going in, not the time of day you consume them.

If you are trying to lose weight, you are going to want to burn more calories than you are taking in. Where you get into trouble is when you have met our caloric needs throughout the day and then continue to snack at night. This is going to put you over your caloric needs and you will be taking in more calories than you are burning during. This is where you are going to begin to gain weight. On the other hand, if you have not met your caloric needs throughout the day, for whatever reason, and you snack at night, you can still continue to take in fewer calories than you are burning and still continue to lose weight.

⚡ Related: Learn How to Time Your Carbs For Effective Weight Loss

What Really Makes the Difference

What matters is a number of carbs you consume, not when you consume them. If you are on a Custom Meal Plan and you are supposed to be eating 150 grams of carbs for the day, it does not matter when you consume those carbs, as long as you are consuming 150 grams and not 300 grams.

Figuring out what your macros are and how much you need to be consuming every day, especially when carb cycling, can be a challenge. This is why we offer Custom Meal Plans, where we can help you plan your meals according to your body and your goals.

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