We’ve all heard this one before: You shouldn’t eat carbs at night because they’ll make you gain weight. This is probably one of the most common myths I get asked about. And yes, you can rest easy, it is just that – a myth.
Your body doesn’t care whether you eat carbs at 6am or 6pm, it will only register what your overall energy balance is (energy in vs energy out) for the day/ week. You’ll only store food as fat (carbs or otherwise) if you’re in an overall calorie surplus, ie if you’re consuming more calories than you burn.
Personally I like to eat most of my carbs in the mornings because that’s when I need most of my energy. But if you have a sedentary job and/ or you train in the evenings you might want to have more carbs at dinner or pre-training.
The important factor here is your overall consumption (not just of carbs but of all calories across the day). If you track your macronutrient consumption throughout the day you won’t have any trouble knowing if you have sufficient calories left in your “bank” to eat more carbs at night.
If you don’t track those then there are a few other ways you can determine how many carbs you should be eating for your goals (I use several different methods with my clients).
The reason people often lose weight when they take out carbs at night is that they were previously eating calorie-dense foods like pasta, rice, bread and potatoes at night – none of which are “bad” but they ARE easy to overeat without realising it.
If weight loss is your goal and you’re not tracking macros, then another option is to remove or reduce a portion of carbs or fats at one meal (doesn’t have to be dinner!) and see if that has the desired outcome.
You don’t have to give up your favourite foods #carbsarelife, you just have to know how to fit them into your diet to still get results.
I have a super useful PDF I give clients to help work this out. If you want me to send it to you (for free!), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get it over to you.