Its late at night and cravings strike… God forbid you snack on some carbs this late in the evening because that stuff is just ALL going to get turned straight into fat!
Don’t get too surprised when I say this, but that is NOT the truth. Carbs are not the enemy, eating late will not kill you and make you fat but hear me out a bit.
The answers are all explained in the science, so sit back, relax and lets here what the truth behind the science says!
First off, lets discuss what is going on when you are asleep.
Most believe that your metabolism slows down due to the fact that you are lying down and resting. This makes sense as you would be resting, you would be buning less calories than if you were up and moving around like during the day.
However, research has found that sleep energy expenditure actually significantly INCREASES in the latter half of your sleep (Norton, Biolayne). Overall, your sleeping metabolic rate (SMR) is no less than your resting metabolic rate (RMR) during the day (Norton, Biolayne). (Resting Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy you expend during the day at rest to support your body's basic functions such as breathing, circulation. (Bodybuilding, 2016).
In fact, studies have shown that exercise can INCREASE your sleep metabolic rate leading to GREATER fat oxidation during sleep (Norton, Biolayne). Therefore sleeping metabolic rate was proven to actually surpass resting metabolic rate in active individuals as well! And if you are an active individual then consuming carbs before bed may be even MORE advantageous for you!
Now lets see what your hormones had to say about consuming carbs late at night...
A study was published in the Obesity Journey and carried out by researchers who created 2 groups. An experimental group who consumed most of their daily carbohydrate intake at dinner and a control group, who consumed their carbs dispersed throughout the day (Ferruggia, 2015).
The results concluded that the experimental group that consumed majority of carbs in the evening showed greater losses in:
Total body weight, body fat & waist circumference. In addition to higher leptin levels, a fat burning hormone that down regulates during dieting. Keeping this hormone elevated helps fat burning and keeps your metabolism running fast (Sofer, Eliraz, 2011).
Additionally it was found that consuming carbs at night also showed more stable insulin levels! Keeping insulin in check is another important variable to have controlled to keep burning fat.
THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY to take away on whether or not eating a bolus of carb at night will cause you to put on excess fat or not comes down to, YOUR TOTAL CALORIC INTAKE.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the numbers, CALORES IN VS. CALORIES OUT.
If your goal is to lose weight, and your macronutrient and caloric goal is adjusted and set accordingly, then it does NOT MATTER what time you choose to eat throughout the day, as long as the numbers add up correctly!
Yes there are more optimal times of the day where carbohydrates may be of more benefit to you and your fitness goals (ex. Pre workout, intra workout, post workout) but I will get into that in another post. :)
Pay attention to your total caloric consumption at the end of the day. If your macronutrient goals are at an optimal place for your body and physique goals then you will NOT see any unwanted changes in your body composition!
A little tip I recommend, if you are one to get hungry in the evenings is to save a good portion of your macronutrients for that time.
This way you can eat that big meal that is 100% accounted for in your day, you experience no guilt & you might even find you experience improvements in the quality of your sleep!
Eliminate the guilt, eat for your goals and as always if you have any questions, I'm here & happy to help! xo
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Or shoot me a message in my contact forum ! :)