Staying at a healthy bodyweight is a concern that affects numerous individuals across the nation. With obesity affecting more and more people, thinking of ways to make dieting easier and sustainable for ourselves and others we know is a reoccurring theme. Many of the individuals that I have worked with over the years struggle with knowing exactly what the best types of diets are, and how to navigate different trends in eating patterns. Unfortunately, these leads to a lot of frustration and many individuals giving up on their health and fitness goals altogether. Today, we will look at a question that I get asked in regards to meal timing, and specifically eating at night. Are carbs at night really the enemy? Let’s take a look at the question of “Will eating carbs before bed make you fat?”
Will eating carbs before bed make you fat?
To start, let’s address what a carbohydrate is. We won’t focus on what a carbohydrate or carb is biochemically in this post. A carbohydrate is one of the three macronutrients your body needs a large amount of to function at its highest potential. Common sources of carbohydrates are bread, pasta, fruits, and many other prepackaged snacks and goods. Carbohydrates typically fill almost half of the energy we eat during the day. This is for good reason, as carbs are a great way to maintain awake and functioning at our highest capacities. Unfortunately, some individuals think that carbs are what causes you to get fat. In addition, these same individuals may often demonize eating these carbs at night as well. Do they have a point? Well… sort of.
Carbs After Dark
Eating carbs directly before bed in itself will not make you fat. What makes you gain fat is eating more calories than your body needs to sustain it’s weight, over a long period of time. So technically carbs can make you fat, if they are leading you to over eat on the total amount of calories that you need to eat per day.That’s all good, but what about eating carbohydrates specifically at night? Eating carbs at night biologically has no difference on your overall weight loss goals. It would be a good point to note, however, that we often do crave high carbohydrate and high fat foods during the night time. This can lead to a disaster on your overall weight management goals, as this can quickly add a large amount of calories to your daily intake very quickly. Remember, it isn’t the fact that these foods are more “fattening,” than others. It is simply because the food is easier to overeat because of how palatable or tasty it really is.
In the end, eating carbs at night will not increase the chances of yourself gaining excess body fat. What can happen, however, is that you over eat foods that are higher in carbs and fat, potentially leading to overeating on calories. This of course will lead to gaining fat over the long term. So when you are eating a bowl of cereal before bed, remember that it won’t make you fat directly. It could potentially lead to overeating on calories for the day, which can lead to a gain of fat.
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