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Will Eating Carbs At Night Make You Fat?

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No it does not. Our body is designed to care less about timing and more about our overall food intake. Carb-breaking insulin release is not time-dependent. The ideal combination of low cortisol + high insulin is present if you have carbs at night. This prevents the body from going into fat-storage mode. Don't believe myths but find what works best for your body type.

Will eating carbohydrates at night make you gain weight?

NO.

I get this question weekly and have ever since I can remember! Any expert who tells you not to eat carbohydrates past a certain hour, let’s say 3 or 4 pm for example, has no idea what they’re talking about, to put it bluntly. Our bodies are amazing. They’re adaptable and they’re smart!

Truth Behind The Myth Stripped

Our bodies care about our overall intake in a day, a week, a month rather than very specific timings such as “post-midnight.” There are so many factors that contribute to weight loss. Yes, managing carbohydrates may be beneficial for some body types and goals, but it doesn’t mean that:

  1. You have to do it.
  2. You can’t eat those carbs at night.
  3. They’ll be stored as fat because you’re just “going to sleep” and can’t use them, etc.

Studies have shown that time of day doesn’t influence how much or at what rate insulin is released into the body. So an evening meal loaded with carbs has the same effect if was eaten in the morning.

Another reason why eating carbs at night may actually be better is the balance of cortisol, a stress hormone, and insulin. Cortisol is naturally at its highest in the morning and takes a dip during the day. But, when insulin is elevated (i.e. let’s say you have a high carbohydrate meal, insulin comes out to “grab” the glucose/sugar), fat or weight loss is halted.

Cortisol enhances the fat-storing effects of insulin, leading to weight gain. So if you have carbohydrates with your evening meal, you have low cortisol + high insulin, leading to more fat burn instead of fat storage.

Also, studies have shown that our resting metabolic rate at night falls and rises contrary to ‘broscience’. What matters more than anything is your entire intake over the course of a day and week, not just 1 meal.

I have clients who have successfully had fat loss and leaned out eating carbs at night; from all different backgrounds, ages, lifestyles, goals, and metabolisms on different plans. Some do really well with very high carbohydrate diets and some will gain weight just by looking at a bagel! I happily and healthfully eat and enjoy carbs at night to this day. This is the beauty of finding what works for you, balancing your macronutrients and letting go of the dogmas. Let’s hand over the micromanaging to someone else and give yourself permission to enjoy eating healthy carbohydrates at night.

Emma Olliff
Star Expert

Emma is a qualified Nutritional Therapist (DipNT CNM) and is registered with BANT (British Association for Nutritional Therapy) and CMA (Complimentary Medical Association). She is passionate about helping her clients achieve optimum health through diet and lifestyle.

Emma Olliff
Star Expert

Emma is a qualified Nutritional Therapist (DipNT CNM) and is registered with BANT (British Association for Nutritional Therapy) and CMA (Complimentary Medical Association). She is passionate about helping her clients achieve optimum health through diet and lifestyle.