Does Eating Carbs At Night Affect Fat Loss?

Have you ever been lied to?

I know I have.

And I HATE liars.

One of the lies you’ve likely been told before, is that you shouldn’t eat carbs in the evening past 6pm.

It probably goes something like this…

If all you’re doing is sitting at home on the couch watching TV, and you plan on being inactive the rest of the night, you won’t need the carbs for energy, and thus they will just be stored as fat.

You’re better off consuming your carbs earlier in the day, so you have time to burn them off and use them for energy. This way they won’t be stored as fat.

On the surface, this logic kind of make sense, right?

WRONG.

This is completely ignoring the context of nutrition and metabolism as the bigger overall picture.

 

What You Need To Know

Fat loss is driven by a caloric deficit, in which you take in less calories than you burn.

And as long as that deficit is consistently in place, the timing in which you chose to consume your carbs is negligible.

Your body’s ability to gain or lose weight is mainly about what you eat and how muchNOT when you eat.

Your body is always in a state of storing, and burning energy. And it will use its required amount of energy throughout the course of a day regardless of the time it is being consumed.

The only time carbs actually contribute to fat gain is in the context of a calorie surplus. This means that if you eat too many carbs to the point where it causes you to take in more calories than you are burning, then you will gain fat.

Many people often eat at night out of boredom or other emotions, instead of hunger, and they end up consuming more calories than they need for the day.

This of course, can cause fat gain, but it isn’t because of the fact you’ve eaten carbs in the evening, it’s because you’ve consumed too many calories.

As long as you stay within your caloric range, you could have your largest serving of carbohydrates directly before bedtime, and it would not have any negative affect on fat loss.

The truth is, there is really no negative whatsoever to eating carbs, or any macro for that matter, at night.

The main factor will always be your overall intake as a whole before anything else.

Bread.

I actually prefer the majority of my carbs in the evening for 3 reasons:

1. They improve sleep quality (when eaten later in the evening)

Carbs trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts mood, relaxation and quality of sleep.

2. They help fuel training performance the next day.

Think of your muscle’s fuel stores (glycogen stores) like a gas tank in your car – when they are low, you want to replenish them with more fuel (via carbohydrate intake) to make sure you don’t run out of gas.

If you train in the morning, you probably don’t have have the time, or the desire to eat a big meal directly beforehand. So it’s especially important to make sure you’re fueled up the night before. Because when it comes time to train the next morning, you want the tank to be full, so you can tap into the stored energy and maximize your performance in the gym.

3. They make for more enjoyable meals in the evening.

Whether you are hanging out with family or friends, dining out with your significant other, or attending some other social function, food is often a significant part of the experience.

And typically, a lot of these events take place in the evening.

If you structure a larger portion of your allotted calories and carbohydrates for the day in the evening, you can enjoy much more awesome meals in these situations.

 

The Bottom Line

As long as your overall energy balance is being properly managed, consuming your carbs at night will have absolutely no negative effect on fat loss.

To start, figure out your daily nutritional requirements for fat loss – protein, carb, and fat intake.


Read: How To Set Up A Diet For Fat Loss


Then simply focus on hitting your nutritional targets each day, staying within your caloric range.

As long as you do this consistently, you can enjoy your carbs whenever you like, and eat all the carbs you want at night (provided you stay within your nutritional goals)

The only reason to cut them out after a certain time is if it helps you adhere to your nutritional goals easier (ie. helps you remain within your calorie and macronutrient targets).

 

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