Do carbs at night make you gain weight? We tackle this issue here. When an individual starts their fitness journey into the unknown, they encounter information that has been passed down for generations that just don’t seem to die. Some that I have heard: Creatine is a steroid, muscle turns to fat if you stop weight lifting, crunches and sit ups are the only abs exercises, etc. One that has not made any effort to disappear is eating carbohydrates at night gain weight.
Let’s start with the claim behind this theory. So it goes a person does not exert a lot of energy while sleeping, which in turn makes it harder to burn calories at night—slower metabolism means slower fat loss… Right? To put it bluntly, it needs to be hit bluntly and die, because it’s a bad myth. The problem with claims to certain fad diets working is that there is usually very little to back it up in the beginning before it flares out to extreme proportions where it doesn’t even matter anymore like acai berries for weight loss, or the Atkins diet. Scientist’s research shows that a person’s metabolism decreases around 35% of the first sleep cycle. The same study shows that the REM cycle of sleep a person’s metabolism increases substantially. That’s why if you don’t get enough sleep you gain weight. Hint hint. Overall, the metabolisms energy is about the same as it would be during the day.
Importantly done with recent studies, for the body of an athlete to recover quickly, carbs help the process tremendously in giving the body the proper energy to repair itself. In fact, a 6-month study showed that people who ate a lot of carbs at night versus low carbs lost 27% body fat versus the low carb at night diet. This isn’t just a couple of pounds, but a whopping 27% average. If I tried to explain this process simpler to why carbs are helpful at night: The body takes abuse during the day from stress, muscle tension, environmental changes, etc. Sleep is our way to negate some of these things in our body’s natural defense to recover from the influences, which would explain why the energy of the body is substantially higher in later forms of the sleep cycle. Carbs are an important tool to help fuel this procedure.
In conclusion, eat your carbs all hours of the day. Not only will they help you keep unnecessary weight off on a normal diet, but help with the recovery process of the body. I will say that low carb diets will temporarily make an individual lose weight, hence why body builders do it for contest prep, but it leaves the individual susceptible to lower energy levels, lower testosterone, and more likely to get sick. As I said, temporary, as it is something that you shouldn’t do as an everyday thing, because it will revert back once a normal dosage of carbs are introduced again, as well as feeling “good”.