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Carbs at Night: Is it Okay to Have Carbs For Dinner?

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There is a set pattern that a fitness enthusiast follows a total number of eight meals per day to be consumed, 400 gram of protein, cardio sessions, lifting heavy weights to bulk up and light ones to tone up and get rid of the flab. Dieting also features in some of those weight loss strategies wherein carbohydrates, especially eating carbs at night is dubbed as a strict no-no. We are, therefore, confronted with a question: Should one avoid eating carbohydrates at night in order for their weight loss plans to succeed or is it all unsupported conjecture and a myth?For the most part, it is a myth! This myth has been doing the rounds for some years now and it is to be noted that it is not backed by science. Eating carbs at night cannot make you fat. Let us look at why.

Where did this “No Carbs at Night” thing come from?

First and foremost, it is essential to know why limiting carbs at night is advised to begin with. Most “doctors” believe that your metabolism slows down as soon as you go to sleep, which is why the carbohydrates will have a better chance at being accumulated as fat compared to if they were consumed in the day, where they have a greater chance of being burned. As much right and reasonable as it sounds, the rationale is flawed.

As the researches suggest, energy expenditure reduces during the first half of sleep approximately by 35 percent. However, these researchers did show that during the latter half of sleep, the energy expended considerably increased associated with Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. So, there are crests and troughs in Sleeping Metabolic Rate (SMR), but what about the wholesome impact? Interestingly, at the very least it does not appear that the average overall energy expenditure during sleep is any different than Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) during the day. Moreover, it appears that exercise increases sleeping metabolic rate significantly, leading to greater fat oxidation during sleep. This seems to be in line with research that demonstrated that obese individuals had lower sleeping metabolic rates than their resting metabolic rates, whereas lean individuals had sleeping metabolic rates significantly higher than their RMR. So unless you are obese, your metabolism does not slow down during sleep, it actually increases! Now that’s a revelation that debunks your myth.

Thus, the idea that you should avoid carbs at night because your metabolism slows down and you won’t “burn them off” is absolutely thwarted.

Eating Carbohydrates at Night also Have Great Hormonal Benefits.

In one study, researchers had one group of people eat 80% of their carbohydrates at dinner, and another group eat their carbohydrates during the day. The night-time carb eaters showed a greater loss in:

  • total weight
  • body fat
  • waist circumference

The night-time carb eaters also had higher leptin levels, which signifies a healthy and fast metabolism.
Eating carbs at night will not make you fat. It will actually make you leaner, stronger and better rested.

A diet can only be viewed in context, not by the timing of a meal or a single item eaten in a day. The paramount factor is the calories you eat within a day. So as long as you are eating enough, and eating well you will burn fat and build muscle.

The Other Side of the Story

They say there is no smoke without fire. Clearly, a myth cannot go about becoming a popular belief unless there is an inch of truth associated with it. Though we have no scientific evidence that can prove the primacy of not eating carbs at night, eating too much of them is sure harmful. It is important to keep the following points in mind:

1. You Must Balance your Total Calorie Intake

Just replacing the carbs you eat now with dietary fat during the day and then adding a bunch more carbs at night will lead to weight gain. It is important to remember that ultimately, it won’t matter when you eat your carbohydrates if you are taking calories in abundance.

2. The Quality of Carbohydrate Matters

Your insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control will be much better and healthier if you eat Renegade Diet approved carbs instead of candy. Adhere to sweet potatoes, white potatoes, jasmine rice, quinoa, and oatmeal. After all, the fundamental rules of proper nutrition still hold true.

It’s all a Case of Metabolic Myths

It will be better to think along the lines that a metabolic fallacy has percolated the fitness arena one that opines your metabolism slows down while you sleep. In theory, it makes complete sense. Since you’re moving less, lying down, and resting, you are bound to burn fewer calories. But if you had a hard workout during the day, everything changes. One study noted that when subjects performed a moderate intensity exercise program, their resting heart rate and resting metabolic rate both increased during the night, while they slept. Researchers stated this may be partially due to the increased stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.

Now, your sympathetic nervous system helps you burn the amount of fat that there is in your body. So, this lends well to a higher rate of fat oxidation during the night, proving that your metabolism may not be slowed down while you’re asleep.

Healthy Carbohydrate Options for Night

  • Barley
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Legumes
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Cold potato salad
  • Triticale
  • Black beans
  • Brown rice


Eating carbohydrate-rich food at night is not healthy for your body is a myth but its not completely wrong either. Two things are key, first, consuming carbs in moderation and second, timing. Depending on the type of carbohydrate and your body needs, you can enjoy your chapatis and veggies at night. Including a post-dinner walking, a routine is a great way of making sure the energy derived from carbs at night is not stored in your body as fat.

Read Next: 15 Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight On A Low-Carb Diet

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