For years now, you’ve been told that it is best to eat bigger meals during the day and to avoid doing so at night. The reason behind it seems pretty logical, you go around working during the morning until late afternoon and as such, you’re able to burn up any of the calories that you’ve consumed. Ever heard of the so-called after 6:00 pm diet that restricts dieters from eating after the clock strikes six? That, along with countless other weight loss programs all advocate the same thing—don’t eat carbohydrates after dark.
But does this really hold true? Well, recent studies have shown that things may not be as it seems. So if you’re among the advocates of this approach, this new information might just blow your mind.
Researchers are now saying that it might be best for your body to consume the majority of your carbs and calories between dinner and a late night snack, as suggested in many of the New You in 22 Reviews of Jonny Bowden’s program that you may have read online.
Here are four of the reasons as to why:
It’s in your instincts: Okay, so ancient men spent their time tracking, hunting as well as gathering food. At night, they relaxed and feasted on whatever they caught during the day. So, why go against your instincts? Why not spend your days “gathering” or “hunting” which comes in the form of your work or exercise routines and then use the evening to refuel by eating the majority of your body’s needed calorie intake? In doing so, you’re preparing your body for the following day. Refueling, recovering and getting enough rest.
Of course there’s a lingering question and that would be: “Will eating all those fatty foods late at night make you fat?” Not quite. A study conducted which compared this “feast-style” eating pattern to the average dietary approach showed that those who used the prior did experience greater weight loss as well as far more significant reductions to their abdominal circumference when compared to those who made use of the latter.
A closer look at the numbers: Still unconvinced? Let’s see if these specifics aid you to better see the logic in this kind of eating pattern. Think about it, if we were to consume five or even six small meals as well as snacks each day instead of the usual three full meals, our dinners would still end up heftier than our breakfast or lunch. If we add a late night snack to that equation (as we should) in order to prevent the muscle wasting hour (also known as fasting) between dinner and breakfast, then it becomes clearer to see how we might be able to get half of our calorie needs after six pm.
This becomes more apparent if you do training after work or after you’ve eaten your dinner. Your post-workout recovery meal, regardless of whether it be a simple smoothie or shake, would still push your daily calorie total towards the evening.
What about the carb count then? For this, back loading would be the best option. In saving your natural starches (potatoes, yams and brown rice) for later in the evening and choosing to eat lighter and fiber-rich fruits throughout the day, you would be able to maximize your fat burning hormones which are in full strength whilst you remain active throughout the day. This would allow you a longer period of time wherein your body burns fats more effectively.
Psychology: Going back to instincts and man’s tendency to stockpile energy for when famine comes. This attitude made sense back then but it certainly doesn’t fit now. As such, we would need to structure our diets in such a way that it would satisfy our natural urges to feast—but without overindulging. This “hunger” tends to creep up on us during the evenings so instead of eating a lot during lunch, something that can leave you feeling lethargic and without any ability to focus, choose to do so during dinner. Carbo-load then hit the sack some two hours later. You will sleep well and might even cure your insomnia.
Practicality: Make your diet fit your lifestyle. The vast majority of us are not athletes. In fact, we’re part-timers at most. Throughout the day, you will spend most of your time seated and working on your desk without much time to really eat. Emphasize lighter meals which are good for on the go. You’ll feel more energetic this way too since eating too much can make you feel sleepy as time goes on. Isn’t that more appropriate for when you’re actually at home and preparing to get some rest? Think about it.