“Oh so you wanna lose body fat?
Rule Number 1
Don’t eat carbs after 6pm”
We’ve all heard it before
Heck, I use to recommend it to all my clients 6 years ago when I was a spring chicken in the fitness industry
It sounds logical and kinda makes sense too
Eating carbs at night will lead to those carbs being stored as body fat as carbs are energy and we don’t need energy to sleep right?
So I get it when people question me or look at me weird when I recommend to new members, current clients or even in random conversation to eat carbohydrates at night
I’ll get into my reasoning for this in a second, but first let me explain how the no carbs after 6pm phenomenon works
You see the thing with our society is we have a massive imbalance in our nutrition
We eat way to many carbohydrates, not enough protein and don’t do the right types of exercise.
The average person I speak to has a regular day of eating that looks like this:
Breakfast: toast, cereal or nothing
Morning tea: fruit, cereal bar or a coffee
Lunch: Sandwich or a wrap
Afternoon: Nothing, fruit, cereal bar, small sandwich
Dinner: rice, pasta, pizza, plus meat and veg (so they say)
All “healthy” stuff right
Side note – healthy doesn’t mean anything when it comes to fat loss. But more on this another blog post…
Our night time meal is most often the biggest meal of the day for most people and usually involves a heap of carbs and even a little dessert
Now if I got this particular person to stop eating carbs at night and simply just eat protein…
What would happen?
They would be eating less carbohydrates and less total calories
They would lose weight OR body fat (there is a big difference between losing weight and losing body fat)
But why would they actually lose weight?
Was it because of the magic of eating no carbs at night
Was it the fact that they were now in a caloric deficit?
I’d be going with number 2 there
You see: calories are THE most important factor for altering our body weight and body composition
Put very simply:
Caloric deficit = weight loss
Caloric surplus = weight gain
Caloric baseline = weight maintenance
Extreme calorie deficit = yoyo dieting and fat mass regain along with terrible health implications and a slowed metabolism (avoid this by avoiding quick fix diets)
“So Dylan… Why would you recommend eating carbs at night?”
It is a recommendation based on personal preference
Ideally you would be eating the majority of your carbohydrates around your workout to assist in workout performance and recovery (resistance training and lifting weights is considered a workout to me)
But for those of you who have ever dieted before understand that it is hard.
There are times when you will be hungry, extremely hungry.
But that is a perfectly normal part of fat loss
Nothing is worse than going to be being extremely hungry.
It absolutely sucks and will likely lead to late night binge eating on anything in site
So why not just eat save up some of your carbohydrates from the day and eat them at night so you go to bed with a full tummy?
There is no magic behind eating and not eating carbohydrates at night
In fact there is no magic behind eating anything at any particular time of the day. There is personal preference and there is reasoning for my personal preference.
Don’ be afraid to eat carbs at night
There is one more issue that can arise…
You need to understand how many grams of carbohydrates to eat per day and be consistent with this by tracking your macronutrient intake
But I already know this isn’t for everyone
So I use this quick rule for eating when not tracking or following a plan:
Eat 4-6 meals per day
Eat a protein source in every meal
Eat carbs in 50% of the meals
Eat healthy fats in the other 50% of the meals
Intense resistance training 3-5 times per week
Be consistent and monitor what your body does and make changes from there.
Although these are very broad recommendations
So don’t be afraid to eat carbs at night
They won’t make you fat
Eating in excess or in an extreme caloric restriction will though
PS – Eating carbs at night also assists with sleep as it raises serotonin production leading to improved sleep which will lead to greater fat loss!
So maybe there is some magic behind it all 😉