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I have heard from multiple sources that "no carbs in the evening" is supposed to be a good way of decreasing the fat buildup and facilitating weight loss. Now while I am aware that none of these sources is a nutritionist, but they are also people that work out a lot and read health and training magazines.

So I wonder if there is any sound reasoning behind this statement, or if it is just an urban myth of some kind. I can imagine that unused carbs are probably processed into adipose tissue when the body is inert during sleep, so it kinda makes sense but I'd love to know more about it, since I normally have light breakfast and sometimes light lunch, train just before lunch or in the afternoon and finish it off with a proper meal for dinner. By proper meal I don't mean buckets full of food obviously but a sizable portion which usually includes some sort of carbs and proteins, and a sallad on a good day.

Does it make sense to shift the main carbs intake to the mornings considering that my workouts are almost exclusively during lunch or afternoon sessions? If so what alternatives are there for evening meals, since pasta, bread and many vegetables as well as most fruits are out of the question?


Here's some reference information:

from LiveStrong article - "How to Eat Protein in the Evening for Maximum Weight Loss"

Consume all of your carbohydrates and simple sugars earlier in the day. If you work out in the morning, you can eat half of them before your workout and the other half after. This nutrient timing strategy, referred as carb stacking, is recommended by "X-treme Lean" authors Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman. For example, you might eat all of your carbs for the day before 3 p.m. The faster you want to lose weight and the slower your metabolism, the earlier you should cut out carbs to let your body burn its stored fat for energy.

and another bit of info from DailyMail- "Should I cut out carbs after 6pm?"

Not eating carbohydrates after 5pm is an idea patented in the diet book 'Starch Curfew' by Joanna Hall - a sports scientist and the diet and fitness expert on ITV 1's This Morning program.

and finally from Bodybuilding.com - "5 Forgotten fat loss tips"

Tip 2: Avoid Carbohydrates After 6:00 PM

Experience has taught me that eating carbohydrates after 6:00 PM will increase my potential for fat storage. Many people I have trained have also experienced a similar effect. After our final meal of the day, which no doubt would, or at least should, comprise around 45 percent complex carbohydrates, especially if we had trained prior to it, there is little point in eating more of this macronutrient until the following morning.

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Why the close vote? –  posdef Aug 7 '12 at 9:41
    
The close votes are because this is off topic for the site. If you would like it to remain open, you need to relate it to training or working out in some fashion. Plus, this is vague enough it is likely to just stir unproductive debate. –  JohnP Aug 7 '12 at 15:13
    
@JohnP last I checked nutrition/diet questions with regards to health and fitness were on topic here. I admit that the question might not be well-phrased, and I will try to improve that. It's just good practice and common sense to write a couple of lines when you see something wrong with a question... –  posdef Aug 7 '12 at 16:57
    
I did that. I was the second close vote, not the first, and I provided my explanation why with my vote. –  JohnP Aug 7 '12 at 18:14
    
They're on topic if they relate to "exercise". Nutrition always relates to health and fitness. –  user3085 Aug 7 '12 at 18:59
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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Scientific evidence seems to suggest that nutrition timing is NOT as important as most think. Most of the "common knowledge" surrounding this is based on statistics that show correlations. With plenty of ulterior causations to choose from (e.g. those snacking at night are more likely to get fat because they are eating more food overall), there is no point changing behaviour based on this. There is NO real evidence that if eating a controlled diet, nutrition timing does much at all. Our bodies adapt to whatever we throw at it.

Its the daily macronutrient totals that are important.

You will find this article very interesting.

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1  
+1 great article. I particularly like the following bit: "Contrary to what many people seem to believe, blood sugar is extremely well-regulated and maintained within a tight range in healthy people. It does not swing wildly up and down like a chimpanzee on meth" –  posdef Aug 13 '12 at 6:50
    
Haha yeah there are some funny parts :). –  Mike S Aug 13 '12 at 6:51
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