Carbohydrates After Dinner | What’s the Science behind weight gain?
So its been shown that when it comes down to fat loss and basic body metabolism, the key to losing fat tissue in the shortest amount of time is to alter your diet. Any decrease in calories or macronutrient (protein, fats and carbs) will result in fat loss over a period of weeks. However, for the fastest result in fat loss, its been shown that with the reduction of carbohydrates from ones diet, the average person will lose over 2x more fat in the same period as a similar individual who only decreased fat intake.
Fat Causes Weight Gain, Right?
People often see fat as the reason for why we gain weight, and that in order to lose fat, we have to decrease fat intake from our diets. However, fats are not stored as fat, and instead are stored as energy.
Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are used as energy as well, but an excess of carbohydrates will end up being stored in the body as fatty tissue since carbs resides in the fat cells themselves.
What Should You Do About Carbohydrates?
So what’s the deal with carbohydrates after dinner? It’s actually a myth that if you consume carbohydrates after dinner, those carbs will be stored entirely as fat and will not get used. However, the time of day in which you consume any nutrient does not play a significant role in fat loss. Instead, its total consumption of such nutrients in a day over a prolonged period of time that will have an impact on weight gain or weight loss.
The body doesn’t know the difference between eating at 7am or 7pm, instead, our body just knows that we ate food and that food contains a specific amount of macro and micronutrients that our body will use up as much as possible, and any excess of nutrients our body will either excrete via waste or store as energy, aka fatty tissue.
Will Eating Carbohydrates After Dinner Have an Impact on my Body?
No. In fact, the entire reason as to why people claim to cut carbs after dinner or late at night, is to help make sure you do not over consume on your total daily carbohydrate intake. By focusing your carbohydrate intake on a shorter period of time or duration during the day, say from 7am-7pm, means you have only 12 hours of a feeding window for carbs to be consumed.
This works for fat loss simply because it makes you shift your meals and how much you eat into a shorter window. By eating more frequently in a short period of time, you will remain fuller for longer, which results in less of a chance of you binge eating or over consuming food, which can result in weight remaining stagnant or increasing.
What If I Want To Cut Out Carbohydrates After Dinner?
It is important to realize, that if you do decide to cut carbohydrates out after dinner for fat loss or weight loss, to make sure to consume carbohydrates the following morning for breakfast. If you eat dinner at 8pm and that was your last carbohydrate meal until morning, 7am or later, your body will be in a fasted and carb depleted state for 11+ hours. Try eating oats as your healthy morning carbohydrate source to provide slow releasing energy all day.
As a result of this prolonged period of starvation, it is important to eat breakfast and a higher amount of healthy carbs in the morning to replenish what has been missing. If you fail to replenish those nutrients you are deprived of, your body functions will begin to slow down and daily activities will become harder and you will end up feeling more tired from simple activities.
So although carbohydrates after dinner does not play a role in fat loss regarding the time in which you consume your carbs, it does make it easier to avoid consuming an excess amount of carbs when you limit your feeding window to a shorter period during your day. It is also a good idea that if you do stop consuming carbs after dinner, to make sure you still reach your recommended daily intake of carbs for the day overall in order to maintain the highest level of energy during the day.
Take Home Message
Too few carbs for a period of time is difficult to maintain and will end up resulting in the person binge eating. If you feel that you will lose weight faster by not consuming carbs after dinner, the best way to avoid binging is to switch your dinner to consume around 40% of your daily carbohydrate intake or more. This will keep you fuller and satisfied much longer and will ensure that you will not end up binging and over consuming carbohydrates later on after dinner for a cheat snack or quick visit to the fridge at midnight or whenever.