Why it’s actually okay to eat carbs after 7pm
1 Jul 2020
There appears to be some misconception about the caloric value of carbohydrates as the day gets later. How many times have you heard someone say (or even yourself!), “I can’t eat carbs after 7 because I’m trying to lose weight”?
You can kinda understand where this comes from. Carbs can feel a bit “heavy”, if you think of eating lots of bread, pasta, potatoes and things. They’re filling foods and packed with energy – that’s why we eat carbs before training! – so for some people, eating a carb-loaded meal might not feel great in the stomach or it might impact sleep quality, and so on. However, some people have the opposite experience eating carbs at night and end up sleeping like a dog after day care.
For some people, eating carbs in the form of sweet, sugary snacks late at night can lead to a binge. Before you know it, those two squares of Lindt have become the whole block. It might be easier for some people to avoid the carby sweet treats altogether late at night, and that’s understandable, too.
The fact is that carbs, regardless of when you eat them, contain no more and no less than 4 calories per gram. So, if you eat a bowl of pasta for lunch or a bowl of pasta for dinner, you’ll still be getting, for example: 1 cup serve = ~45g carbs = ~180 cals + calories from fats and protein + calories from added sauces and sides, you’ve got around 220 calories, give or take.
Carbs and calories don’t watch the clock. If you need to eat them, get them in! If they disrupt your sleep, try and switch your dinner for lunch, so your last meal can be smaller before bed. If you struggle to cut yourself off when there’s an open packet of chocolate lying around, work with your coach to implement some support or guidance measures.
If you’ve got a big day of fitnessing the following day, a stack of delicious carbs in the evening might be just what you need to fuel yourself for a long hike; perform better in your sport’s grand final; smash a PB in your CrossFit competition; whatever it may be.
But you don’t need to demonize carbohydrates because someone told you they’re anti-weight loss. Coz it just ain’t true and there’s more to the story.