Hello everyone. Today’s article is a guest post from freelance writer Alvina Lopez.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the advice to avoid late-night snacks (particularly those full of carbohydrates) before bed, but I’ve found that many people don’t seem to understand why. Many people also don’t hold as much scrutiny over the carbs they eat at dinner when perhaps they should.
There Is No Golden Rule Here
I must first insert a disclaimer here that a lot the advice I’m giving in this article is meant for the general, average person. The average person usually comes home from work somewhat tired, eats a big plate of something with potatoes or pasta, and sits on the couch for the rest of the night before going to bed about three or four hours after eating.
If you are much more active before going to sleep or you go to sleep much, much later than you have dinner, maybe eating carbs wouldn’t have as much of an effect on your body and health. So please keep that in mind while reading.
Metabolism Science of the Evening
The speed of your metabolism (aka, metabolic rate) is largely determined by how active you are; well, genetics also has a lot to do with it but physical activity is one of the variables you can healthily control to effect your metabolic rate. How much you eat also affects your metabolic rate, but I’ll get into that later.
When you wake up, your metabolism is dead slow until you eat breakfast! I could write a whole other post about why breakfast is important, but that bold text would be the main thrust. Eating breakfast speeds up your metabolic rate which is important for running on all cylinders in the morning and maintaining a smooth metabolic rate throughout the day. Skipping breakfast stalls your metabolism until lunch, causing it to skyrocket and setting it up for a big crash mid-day.
By the time you have dinner (whether you’ve had breakfast or not), your metabolic rate is starting to slow down. You’ve been (hopefully) expending nutritional resources throughout the day, your body is starting to get tired, and your metabolism knows this.
Why Carbs Aren’t the Best Choice for the Evening
There are a combination of reasons why late-night carb diets often lead to fat and weight gain. One of them has to do with your metabolic rate being slow. When you eat anything while your metabolism is slow and you are going to be inactive for a long period of time, it will most likely be stored as fat.
What makes carbohydrates an even worse choice for a late-night snack is because your insulin levels become less sensitive towards the end of the day, making it easier for your body to turn carbs to fat. Even for dinner, opting for a less carb-heavy meal is never a bad decision.
What Are Good Evening Diet Options?
Sticking to lean protein (chicken, turkey, eggs) and lots of fibrous veggies (mushrooms, brussels sprouts, broccoli, romaine lettuce) make for great dinner. Loading up on fruit is a good idea as well (although some fruit has carbs, they are healthier carbs than your everyday bread and snacks). Where you would normally add starchy pasta, try adding more lettuce (or whichever vegetable of your choice).
Remember, Carbs Are Not the Enemy
I’m trying my best not to sound like I want you to rule out carbs from your diet. They are great to have in the morning, lunch, and afternoon. Towards the evening, however, they are just too likely to convert to fat than healthier protein, fruit, and vegetable options.
About the Author:
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: [email protected]