Is eating carbs after 6pm bad?

Better Body Programme in London - The Better Body Guru

Your total daily calorie intake versus the amount of energy you expend on exercise and day to day living determines whether or not you’ll effectively lose weight.

Avoiding carbohydrates after 6 p.m. may help prevent you from overeating. However, eliminating carbs after 6 p.m. doesn’t guarantee you’ll lose weight.

Benefits of Cutting Down Carbohydrates

Eating carbohydrates after 6 p.m. before you go to bed may cause you to exceed your weight-loss calorie needs, especially if you're eating for reasons such as boredom, sadness or stress, rather than genuine hunger. Harvard Health Publications suggests that eating a large number of calories, such as from carb-rich comfort foods, at night is linked to depression, weight gain and obesity. If you're an emotional eater, cutting carbs entirely after 6 pm may help you lose weight.

Benefits of Carbohydrates at Night

You can still lose weight effectively if you’re eating carbs after 6 p.m. as long as your total daily calorie intake is less than your caloric expenditure. If you're physically active, eating carbs at night may lead to you having lots more energy for the following morning - very handy when you have a 6am workout!  

In 2014 a study was published in the “British Journal of Nutrition," saying physically active men who ate carbs - or protein - before bed burned extra calories the morning after eating the carbs. We must be sensible here though - if you do eat carbs after 6 pm, choose healthy carbs found in whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, plain low-fat yogurt, nuts, seeds and legumes.


Not good or bad, just better

Regardless of what time you eat them, certain carbs can hinder weight loss because they provide energy but contain next to nothing in terms of nutritional value. Examples include sodas, lemonade, sweet tea, sweetened juice drinks, baked goods, syrups, candy, doughnuts and white bread. While we don’t want to label foods into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ categories, these examples above should be consumed very occasionally and swapped for more nutritious alternatives. These foods which have a high carb count provide much less hunger satisfaction compared with protein-rich foods and healthier, high-fiber carbs.

Bottom Line

Whether or not you eat carbs after 6pm, ensuring you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning means you will lose weight - you must burn more calories than you eat on a daily basis. An extreme example is to lose 1/2 to 2 pounds weekly, burn 250 to 1,000 more calories than you eat daily. Since protein boosts hunger satisfaction more than carbs or fat, eat plenty of protein-rich lean meats, poultry or seafood, egg whites, low-fat dairy foods, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products. Everything in moderation!

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