Read any magazine or listen to someone in a friendship circle and they will swear that ditching the carbs before night-fall was the one guaranteed secret to their weight loss! So will not eating carbs after 6pm work for you?
Let’s briefly attack the science behind what happens when you ditch carbs in the evening. The main thing, is that you simply reduce calories. Think, who spends their evening in front of the TV gorging on avocados and lean meat? No, didn’t think so! Instead, when we snack in the evening it is on carbohydrate-based sugary snacks. The healthiest will choose fruits. The less healthy will pick biscuits, sweets, ice cream, chocolates and even alcohol. These are heavy in calories and very palatable treats. The result being: you exceed your calorie intake for the day and go into a calorie surplus – you gain weight.
Now ditching carbs, inadvertently means that you ditch the sweets and treats at a time when you are most susceptible to them – post-dinner and relaxed. So its not the carbohydrates that were causing the weight gain, it’s the fact that you were eating too many carbohydrates late at night sending you into a calorie surplus.
Eating carbohydrates late into the day won’t automatically convert to fat! Your window to burn these excess carbs before they settle into the fat cells is still open into the next day. Plus the carbohydrates will be used during the night for things such as functioning of the brain – so they don’t immediately go to waste. The truth is, that a lack of carbohydrates late into the evening can reduce the levels of serotonin which makes for a poorer night’s sleep. The result of this could be that the next day – when mildly sleep-deprived, you seek solace in carbohydrate-laden food. A calorie-surplus could then still result!
The bottom line is that carbohydrates are not the enemy. Nor are fats or proteins. It’s eating too much of any one food group which is the problem. That’s why carb curfews can work. They take out the period of time when you are most likely to eat the bad foods which means you simply can’t overeat.
If you are a late-night snacking fiend – try it. But carbs aren’t the enemy, it’s your sneaky, snacking fingers which are!
If you wish to explore a little more about nutrition and some top tips for fat loss – including further discussion about low carb consumption, download our free ‘Nutrition in a nutshell’ eBook.