This is the best time of day to eat carbs if you're looking to lose weight

Pass the pizza

August 06 2020

There are two very different types of people in this world: those with metabolisms so fast they could eat a whole truck full of tagliatelle without gaining weight, and those ( who bloat just by sniffing a bowl of spaghetti.

But according to new research, there is a way to chow down on carbs without putting on a pound: eat them in the evening.

On a recent episode of the BBC’S Trust Me I’m a Doctor, Dr Michael Mosley (who you probs know as the creator of the 5:2 diet) attempted to find out if the time of day we consume carbohydrates impacts the body’s ability to keep our blood sugar levels stable.

He asked a group of volunteers to eat a high carb brekkie including fixed serving sizes of veggies, bread and pasta and a low carb dinner for five days in a row. This was followed by five days of normal eating and then a final five days of low carb brekkies and high-carb dinners. (Worth noting: each participant ate a moderate amount of carbs for lunch throughout the study period.)

After starting the day with a high carb meal and ending it with a low carb option, the average blood glucose level was 15.9 units. But after the low carb brekkie and high carb dinner option, this dropped to 10.4 units. Put simply? The participants’ ability to process carbs throughout the day actually improved.

“If you eat lots of carbohydrates and sugars, particularly the sort without fibre that get quickly absorbed, they will rapidly push up your blood glucose (sugar) levels," he wrote in a follow-up article

When this glucose isn’t burned through physical activity, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to bring these levels down and store the excess sugar as fat. This suggests that having “no carbs in the evening” is no help for those wanting to slim down.

“It could be that what matters is not so much when you eat your carbs but the length of the carbs-free ‘fasting’ period that precedes your meal,” he added. “If you’ve had a big gap since your last carb-rich meal, your body will be more ready to deal with it. That happens naturally in the mornings because you’ve had the whole of the night, when you were asleep, in which to ‘fast.’ But our study suggests that if you go low-carb for most of the day that seems to have a similar effect.”

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