So we’ve all heard about that craving for carbs at night. You’ve done dinner, you’ve done gym and you even managed to catch Home Alone on repeat for the thousandth time. It’s time for bed and then all of a sudden your brain whispers to you: “Wouldn’t a four cheeses gnocchi be good right about now, my cherub little friend?”
There’s long been a myth about eating carbohydrates at night and its list of detrimental effects on the body. It’s a myth that has been so prevalent that people who are trying to lose weight will actively avoid it because they believe in its validity. Well not fitness coach Graeme Tomlinson who says that this ideal has never been proven in any nutritional or scientific journal.
“Its concept was probably born out of the fact that our metabolism slows down as we may move less in evenings. And obviously sleep,” he explained on his latest Instagram post. Tomlinson then went on to detail this myth in a graphical format that anyone should be able to understand.
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In the post Tomlinson highlighted a study by the obesity journal which did research on a group consuming carbohydrates. The difference they discovered between those who ate carbs at night compared to those who ate carbs throughout the day were surprising.
“A test group that ate most daily carbohydrates at dinner, compared to those who spread them out during the day, actually showed greater losses in total body weight, body fat and waist circumference,” says Tomlinson. “This study is a small sample, but proof that this fallacy is mythical.”
Tomlinson went on to cite another study which supports his belief that eating carbohydrates at night doesn’t make a difference to your fitness goals. The Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease Journal found that eating carbs at night “may prevent midday hunger, better support weight loss and improve metabolic outcomes over conventional weight loss diets”. The study’s conclusion was based on macronutrient distribution throughout the day and its impact on hunger controlling hormones such as ghrelin, leptin and adiponectin.
Tomlinson noted that subjects of this study who consumed more carbs at night reported greater satiety (feeling of fullness).
“These are just two studies of course. Important considerations: Body composition is determined by total energy in vs. energy out, regardless of food/nutrient type or time of day consumed. By eliminating carbs at night to lose fat, you are simply over-complicating a way to reduce overall calorie intake. Our metabolism does not operate on a chronological timer, instead it operates when it is required to do so.”
In other words if the sun’s gone down and you’re craving carbs, eat it – so long that it fits your personal health goals and cravings.