After 9pm? After 6pm? After lunch? When should you really stop eating carbohydrates if you're trying to drop body fat or control your weight? If you look long enough you'll find suggestions ranging from lunch onwards - if you're confused about when to 'cut off the carbs' I'm not surprised. Despite all the different recommendations out there and how confusing it may appear it's actually a very easy question to answer.
The losing or gaining of body fat is largely determined by the difference between total energy intake and total energy expenditure, not the timing. Put simply, if your total energy intake is less than your total energy expenditure you will lose body fat. This can be achieved by reducing total energy intake through dietary changes or increasing energy expenditure with exercise, or (preferably) both. The importance should be taken off when to stop eating carbs, and placed on how much & what type.
In short summary, there is NO fat burning benefit of a 'carb curfew' but here are some practical suggestions for better carbohydrate eating.
- Eat small servings of carbohydrate spread evenly across the day, don't eat large portions in one sitting.
- Choose the least processed carbohydrate sources - this means more vegetables, fruits & beans and less breads & cereals.
- Avoid (or at least minimise) low nutritional value carbohydrate sources such as highly processed grain foods, cakes, biscuits, etc (you get the idea).
David Eggins | Personal Trainer at Drive Fitness in Brisbane