One of the questions I often get asked is “When should I eat carbs if I am trying to lose weight?” Unfortunately, with all of the news, media, advice from friends etc. most people are not eating carbohydrates at the most opportune times to assist them in their weightless goals. So if you are looking to shed excess fat, feel and look better please read on.
If you are looking to lose fat overall it is best to keep carbohydrate intake very low for the majority of people. Unfortunately, carbohydrates or should I say processed foods, flour, sugar and corn syrup (among other syrups) will not only prevent you from losing weight but will make you fatter. The truth is that the aforementioned types of carbohydrates will not only make you fat but are responsible for a host of negative health issues such as, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, inflammation, neurological disorders, cancer and digestive issues just to name a few. So are carbohydrates the spawn of Satan himself? Not necessarily. In my next post I will discuss which types of carbohydrates are best to eat and which types to avoid or eat sparingly.
The best time to eat carbohydrates is immediately or within about 2 hours post workout. Why? because at this time the glycogen stores in your body are low or depleted and spiking blood sugar raises insulin. Raising insulin at this time is a good thing. Normally if you are not active and you spike insulin you will store most of the carbohydrates ingested as fat. However, when you spike your blood sugar and raise insulin levels post workout your body will shuttle the glucose in your blood stream into your liver and muscle cells replenishing the depleted stores. This also, lowers cortisol and aids in recovery. Especially if you consume protein or branched chain amino acids with your carbs. Two factors that assist in muscle growth and the body’s ability to burn fat.
Many people are still under the perception that they should eat carbs in the morning. It seems logical because you will just burn them during the day right? Wrong. Yes if you are immediately going to exercise it is fine. However, if you are not going to exercise right away then you will spike your blood sugar and raise insulin early in the day. This leads to a crash a few hours later leaving you feeling hungry and craving more sugar/carbs for the rest of the day. This rising and falling of blood sugar and insulin throughout the day increases cortisol, and leads insulin resistance and storing fat.
So when is the second best time to eat carbs? If you have/want to eat carbs again during the day then eat them in the evening. This will actually increase serotonin and the tired feeling the carbs bring on will help you fall asleep.
Now this doesn’t mean siting on your couch watching T.V. chowing down on a bag of Doritos and a pint of ice cream. It means eating a serving of 1-2 cupped handfuls size of a complex carbohydrate such as, sweet potato, wild, brown, yellow, etc. rice, and even a small white potato with a source of protein and low to moderate fat with dinner can have a positive effect.
So to sum it up.
To your health.