The truth about eating carbs at night
Are you craving carbs at night? Or just dying for a late night snack before hitting the sack? And what’s going to happen to your diet if you do? All our lives we’ve been advised not to eat anything full of carbohydrates after 6 pm.
Why? Well, apparently, all those carbs will sit in our stomach and turn to fat while we sleep. Shock and horror! We don’t want that!
No, we don’t, and if we’re clever about it, it won’t happen either. If you eat a couple of burgers or a pizza shortly before bed, you’re probably asking for trouble.
But not if you find the right balance of healthy carbs, proteins and fats. In fact, a sensible carb intake at dinner time can help to make you feel full for longer and reduce the chances of a really late night snacking binge.
And there’s another thing to remember.
Inactivity does not equate to weight gain
We have this misconception about carbs. Yes, there are times during the day when eating carbs is more likely to lead to a little weight gain if we’re idle afterwards. We eat lunch and go back to work at a desk or we eat dinner and go straight to bed. Yet, if we eat carbs and then exercise, we feel better about ourselves knowing we’ll burn them off.
But remember, your metabolism doesn’t wear a watch; it has no idea what time it is and isn’t going to start automatically turning every carb you eat after 6pm into fat.
Nor will it do so if you eat the right carbs throughout the day.
What’s the secret to eating carbs at night?
Consumption of carbs at night is best avoided. It can likely result in a blood sugar spike that can play havoc with your weight.
The secret is balance – a mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. By eating a good blend of all three, your blood sugar reaction will be a lot less likely to have a nasty spike.
In fact, it should stay fairly balanced which translates to efficient energy use and better sleep.
Avoiding processed foods also helps. Find out what are the top 10 processed foods we need to avoid in our blog!
Can eating carbs at night compromise our diet?
For most of us, when we eat or, more specifically, the timing of each meal, is less important than what we eat. In other words, if you’re not a high performance, professional athlete or competitive bodybuilder with a strict diet planned out almost to the minute, you’re fine.
However, if you are following a diet of sorts – and we all should follow a balanced diet – you need to look for that balance and make sure you stay as active as you can.
What kinds of carbs are okay at night?
In a nutshell, complex carbs. Why complex carbohydrates? Because they digest slower, thus making you feel full for longer.
Good examples of complex carbohydrates are sweet potatoes, wholemeal bread, oatmeal, bran, brown rice and small servings of pasta.
Generally speaking, complex carbs like these will leave you feeling sated and keep you that way until morning. So what do you mix them with? Well, you need to add your proteins – lean chicken or fish are the best bets.