• Ciaran O’Connell

No carbs after 6 - the myth

At some point in all of our lives we’ve probably been told you shouldn’t have carbs in the evening, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

I have no idea where this originated but I can categorically tell you it’s a load of rubbish.

There are 2 ways it may have been formed however.

The first being that when you consume carbs late at night, they probably come in the form of something like crisps and sweet treats. These particular carbs are very calorie dense because they are combined with fat. The combination makes for an eye watering amount of calories and creates the ‘moreish’ taste that sees you start a bag 1 minute, and in a second it’s empty.

We all know that consuming too many calories (more than you exert) will cause weight gain and fat gain.

Adding these extra carb ‘treats’ is going to increase the likelihood of going over on calories, and therefore bad for anyone trying to lose weight.

The second way this myth may have formed is through a spike in energy levels seen from the absorption of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are made up of glycogen, our bodies preferred fuel source, and therefore consuming it helps to fuel the body.

You may have heard of the phrase ‘complex and simple carbs’. This is fairly relative to the amount of sugar within the carbohydrate. For snacks like chocolate and sweet treats, the sugar level is high. This can pose issues with sleep if the body and brain have gotten a ‘sugar high’ from their food.

Sleep issues correlate well with weight gain, so it is important to have regular good quality sleep.

While these 2 arguments have their place for the myth, they’re not justifiable enough to make a concrete argument for no carbs in the evening.

I for one would recommend having starchy carbs in the evening if you’re wanting to sleep well.

The reason for this is because of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone we produce, and it creates a calming relaxed sense in the body.

Ever felt tired and lethargic after a big bowl of pasta, rice, or a roast dinner? That’s most likely because of the release of serotonin from consuming carbohydrates.

This release of serotonin is why I recommend having relatively low carb meals in the day time (unless training), and saving the larger amount of your carbs for the evening meal. That way you avoid the tired sluggish feel in the day when you need to be most awake and ready to go, and instead can use the natural release of serotonin after your evening meal to help aid the wind down towards a good nights rest.

Try having carbs in the evening and see how it works for you.

Remember, you can eat what you want, when you want, if you’re trying to lose weight as long as you’re in a calorie deficit. But when it comes to manipulating hormones to aid you in areas of your life, what you eat and when can play a huge role.

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