Who is willing to step up the diet and commit to doing NO CARBS after 5:00PM (or after last workout)!? Of course, when I mean NO CARBS, I really mean LOW CARBS. Even green vegetables are carbs, but we can make better lower calorie selections at night.
Why should we eat lower carbs at night?
Food is fuel and carbs are a great fuel source for activity. Unless you work a night shift, you don’t need a lot of fuel before you sleep. You DO need carbs to help fuel you through the day or get you through resistance training or tough workout. But, you don’t really need carbs for fat-burning activities.
What are some fat-burning activities? We burn the highest percentage of fat when we sleep. We also burn a higher percentage of fat when we do moderate activity like a light jog, steady run or power walk. That’s why you can do those things on a mostly empty stomach so you can tap into your own stored fat for fuel. However, if you need to be powerful, explosive, strong and alert, you need carbs to help power you through it all.
When do you need protein?
2 of the best times to get a boost of protein is right after a workout (within 30-40 minutes following your sweat-fest), and before you go to bed because we do a lot of muscle repair while we sleep. So, that’s why we do more carbs and less protein in the morning and more protein and less carbs at night – because protein isn’t that great of a energy fuel source, but it’s awesome fore repair.
Fats should stay pretty even through out the day for smooth energy and to help slow digestion (and keep us feeling full longer). That’s why dieters are tired and hangry when they are on a low-fat diet. lol Fat helps you stay full and gives you more energy for a happy dieter.
If you use food as fuel and think before you eat, you are simply giving our body the fuel it needs as it needs it – which means purposeful eating and fewer unused calories being stored as fat.
What are good carbs and bad carbs?
Most food is all good in moderation to a certain degree. There are just higher calorie carbs and lower calorie carbs. There are carbs that have more fiber in them and are healthier, and there are carbs that have a lower glycemic index (they don’t cause your blood sugar to go wacky).
Instead of saying good carbs, bad carbs, maybe I should say “good carbs and even better carbs”. Obviously cake would fall under the bad carbs, but when I talk about good carbs vs bad carbs, I’m really referring to all good food, just good choices and better choices, depending on your activity.
For instance, potatoes and rice may be considered “bad carbs” to some people but it’s not bad if you are eating it when you need it and plan to use it up. You can use these fuels to your advantage if you time them right. One of our local doctors (Dr. Deepti) prefers us not to have rice at all for example, but she understands we use it as fuel and said “as LONG as you use it all up and get rid of it!” We agree!
Some carbs turn to sugar really quickly and can really mess up our blood sugar levels – plus, they can be stored as fat very quickly too. While I’m not saying go eat a candy bar before your workout, it is important to use your higher calorie carbs wisely, using them as fuel to be more productive, have better workouts and more energy when you need the energy. You just want to make sure you are burning them off, even when you are eating healthy carbs like sweet potatoes.
There is SO much more to say about carbs, but that’s a blog for another day! lol Let’s just keep things simple! Let’s just work to eat our high-cal carbs during the day and before workouts, and reduce high-calorie carbs at night and see how we feel – and see how it affects the scale.
Here is a easy list I found on lowcarbediem.com of low-carb items to help you if you decide to take the No Carb Night challenge.
Say no to high-cal fruit, bread, chips, popcorn, crackers, rice, potato, rice cakes, sweets, flavored yogurt, high-cal condiments, high-cal drinks and anything with high fructose corn syrup in it (start looking – it will AMAZE you what it’s in – from bread and crackers to pickles and cottage cheese!).
High Carbs Examples
Potato (1/2 baked) 29.0
Rice (1/2c) 21.0
Banana (1 small) 23.0
Popcorn 25.0 (bag of 100-calorie popcorn)
Beans (1/2c) 19.4
Corn (1/2c) 14.4g
Sweet Potato (mashed to fit 1/4c) 14.5
Low Fat Wheat Thins (8 crackers) 11.0
Bread (1 slice) 15.0
Light Yogurt (1 small container) 15.0
Rice Cake (1) 7.0g
Beer 4.2 (Mic Ultra) – 7.0 (ales, IPAs, etc) – up to 9-10.0 (stouts), 12.0 (malts)
Say yes to low-cal veggies, meat, avocado, low-cal fruit, boiled egg whites, cottage cheese, sugar-free yogurt, sugar-free jello, cucumbers in apple cider vinegar, cheese, nuts, jerky, dill pickles. CLICK HERE to get a printable low-carb grocery list.
The following list is a list of fruits and veggies that are considered lower in carbs – look for the ones LOWEST in carbs.
Vegetable | Net Carbs – Serving Size: 1/4 cup,
Asparagus (6) 2.4
Beans, green 2.9
Bok Choy 0.7
Brussels Sprouts 7.6
Collard Greens 3.0
Garlic (1 clove) 1.0
Peppers, Green 3.4
Peppers, Red 3.3
Pickle (1 medium) 2.0
Squash, yellow 1.4
Fruit | Net Carbs, Serving Size: 1/4 cup, unless otherwise indicated.
Apricot (1 whole) 3.1
Avocado (1 whole) 0.5
Carambola/Starfruit (1 whole) 3.0
Grapefruit (1 whole) 9.0
Lemon (1 whole) 3.8
Orange (1 whole) 12.9
Passionfruit (1 whole) 2.0
Peach (1 whole) 8.9
Plum (1 whole) 7.6
Berries | Net Carbs
Acai Berry (1 oz) 5.0
Huckleberry (3.5 oz) 8.0
Loganberry (3.5 oz) 8.0
Pokeberry shoots 1.0
Salmonberry (3.5 oz) 8.0