The idea of avoiding carbs at night, much like many other weight loss diets (low carb, low fat etc), serves merely as a simple calorie reduction tool. Now this isn’t necessarily bad but it certainly isn’t a must for fat loss and you may be missing out on some benefits that carbs bring to the table (no pun intended).
According to The National Diet and Nutrition survey of UK adults, the average daily carbohydrate consumption was 252g for men and 198g for women. The reduction or avoidance of carbs at night serves as a simple way to reduce this, and with every gram of carbohydrates providing 4 calories, taking carbs out of your evening meal is a quick and easy way to reducing your calorie intake by as much as 200kcal a day.
So now you can see why this simple strategy has been a favourite among dieters for years. However, hopefully you can see that a simple adjusting throughout the day can mean that you can, like me, enjoy carbs at night without the ridiculous fear that some people have of waking up with a couple of extra chins. Carbs + sleep doesn’t equal fat gain. Sorry to burst this bubble!
Benefits of carbs at night
So now we have got rid of the belief that carbs at night will make you fat, lets look at the benefits they can bring.
A recent study showed that when following a calorie-controlled diet and eating the majority of your carbs at night it resulted in greater fat loss, greater feeling of satiety and greater insulin sensitivity. (1) Sounds good to me!
Carbohydrates also stimulate the production of serotonin, our feel good hormone, so you will be happier. Serotonin is the precursor to melotonin, our sleep hormone, so you will sleep better. Sleep has a whole host of benefits when it comes to fat loss so any way you can optimise sleep, especially for the hard working professional, is a good thing in my book.
So, if after reading this you still feel the need to avoid carbs at night that’s fine. You have got to do what works for you. However, hopefully, you can see the benefits carbs can bring to your evening meal as they will not only aid fat loss they will also make you happier! That’s a win-win in anyone’s book.
References: 1 – Sofer, S., Eliraz, A., Kaplan, S., Voet, H., Fink, G., Kima, T., Madar, Z. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct; 19(10): 2006-14