You know the conventional advice - Eat your carbs in the morning for "energy" and then don't eat any carbs after 3pm, 6pm or whatever time you've been told. Well, I'm telling you this is a shit idea and you should pretty much be doing the opposite.
Instead its much better to have no carbs in the morning and if you deserve carbs (your reasonably lean and you train hard) have them in the evening. This produces better fat burning and recovery from training especially if you train at night.
In the morning your fat burning and muscle preserving hormones - growth hormone, cortisol and testosterone are at their daily high. Also the fat storage hormone insulin is at its lowest from the overnight fast, and your body is lower in glycogen as it was used for energy during the night.
All of these factors put your body in the perfect environment for burning fat for energy but as soon as you eat some carbohydrates you stuff all that up. Insulin shoots up, growth hormone drops and the fat burning effects of cortisol are stopped.
So why on earth would you eat toast, cereal, fruit, juice or muesli and mess that up and ruin this fat burning opportunity?
It doesn't just ruin fat burning its also the reason most people have poor concentration and energy from mid morning onwards. The Hi Gi harbs most have for breakfast not only raise blood sugar causing it to crash a few hours later but also raise serotonin the feel good relaxing brain neurotransmitter. This is not what you want for energy and motivation for the day ahead.
And don't think for a second because your not having your morning carbs you'll get low blood sugar, pass out and die. Our body is very good at keeping energy and blood sugar stable. This is how we evolved. Thousands of years ago man had no food in the morning. He had to go out and hunt for it during the day on an empty stomach. Then bring back the days hunt in the afternoon or evening and eat the biggest meal at night. During the day they actually ate very little.
And now today we do the exact opposite if you follow conventional advice - Biggest meal first and smallest meal at the end of the day.
If you train in the evening not having carbs earlier in the day also increases fat burning for your workout as well. Bonus! Then after your workout you would have your first dose of carbs for the day, and another the meal after that. This allows for greater recovery and you dont have to worry about them going to fat as they will be absorbed by your depleted muscles.
At night we want low cortisol and more serotonin to help us relax and go to sleep, the opposite of in the morning. Having carbs at night helps us do this. Have you ever had trouble sleeping going low carb or having no carbs later in the day? This is the reason why.
When you look at the bodies circadian rhythm, hormones and physiology and actually think about it. It is stupid to be having your carbs in the morning and ditching them at night. But people still keep recommending it and doing it every day. Try switching it around as I've described and you will stay leaner, recover better, have more energy in the morning and sleep better at night.
Just to top it off if your still not convinced there was a nice study done on eating majority of carbs at night. 78 overweight people were given calorie restricted diets with the same amount of calories, carbs fats and proteins. The only difference was half had 80% of their carbs at night and the other half had their carbs spread throughout the day.
The Results were a blowout
The carbs at night group lost more weight and body fat, were less hungry and had better blood sugar, insulin and cholesterol levels compared to the group with carbs spread throughout the day.
Remember both groups ate the same amount of calories and carbs, all they changed was the time they ate them. Considering this the results are pretty amazing
As for the amounts of carbs that's best for you. As usual when talking about nutrition, it depends on the individual, their bodyfat, training etc.
If you like shoot me a question in the comments and ill do my best to help you out
Or if you want to know the ins and outs of this carb timing strategy. Check out John Keifers book "Carb Back Loading".
- Sofer S, Eliraz A, Kaplan S, Voet H, Fink G, Kima T, Madar Z. Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct;19(10):2006-14.