carbs at night...good or bad?

I dont know where i got the idea, but i have the notion that eating carbs at night ie after 8 or so has a negative effect on body composition, is there any truth to this?

Yes… may have the tendency to keep your body awake i do not know why??
And also causes an insulin spike which serves no purpose while you sleep.

It may help you fall asleep…to big of a spike will result in the last sleep of your life…small meals should not make bedtime carbs that evil.

could you explain in a little more detail ?

it totally depends how soon you eat the carbs before bedtime.carbs will not keep you awake only if youmeat them at the right time.eating a bar of chocolate 10mins before BT should be ok but get to sleep soon or else you’ll be counting those sheep all night.therefore depends on the time period involved!!!

Depends what you eat through the rest of the day and when you train. If train later in the day (5pm) and consume P&F till then, P&C for your last 2 meals will be fine. You may be pleasantly surprised how well it works :smiley:

Carbs before bed, good for sleep bad for body fat. Unless you can tolerate carbs. If you’re looking to lower body fat levels stay away.

The effects are minimal. Try to eat more fats and protein at night because you don’t need carbs to sleep. Eat most of your carbs earlier in the day.

I agree with John CS.

Some of you guys are forgetting the training!!

If an athlete trains late in the evening, carbs are absolutely neccesary for glycogen replenishment.

Not unless its chronic, its all about caloric intake. For example, if one night you had to work late and didn’t eat anything all day and then came home from work around 11pm. You’re tired and hungry, so you decice to eat pasta and then soon after you go to sleep, it will not make you gain weight.

On the other hand, this may sound contradicting, most people that starve themselves, voluntarily or not, tend to over-eat at that one sitting (ie, bulimics) and may calorically intake more than the daily requirement and thus if this persists on a long-term basis then yes, you will gain weight. Some bulimics have eaten up to 10,000 kcal in that one sitting!

There’s also the idea that after you consume all those calories and then sleep, you are not active enough, as you are throughout the day, to burn it and thus gain some weight. I would agree with this if it chronically persists (and would have to be a really long time and also depends on the amount of calories taken in) but if it happend occassionally, I would have to say no.

I’ll provide a brief explanation. Seratonin is found in complex CHO and Tryptophan is a precursor to Seratonin. Tryptophan is naturally found in the body and we all know that Tryptophan may have a tendency to make one sleepy (ie. Turkey dinner). Seratonin is needed to activate Tryptophan and thus if you eat CHO, which has Seratonin, you will activate Trypt.

This is why people tend to feel sleepy after dinner and why students shouldn’t eat CHO before an exam!

Tryptophan - also critical for GH production

I think what type of carbs and how much you are eating/drinking has to be taken into account.

However, I agree alot will depend on when you trained.

If you training in the evenings and have just had an intense workout, then you will need some high GI carbs to help recovery.

However, if you trained in the morning, having carbs at night may not be the best, but, everyone is individual and it is finding what works best for you.

The carbs at night time will keep the bodys supply of glykogen at a higher level though, not a completly bad thing if someone is training in the morning but as you said everyone is a individual.

Please clarify this statement.


Carbs do not ‘contain’ serotonin.

Rather, the insulin spike clears BCAA out of the bloodstream, altering the tryptophan/BCAA ration (tryptophan uptake is not sensitive to insulin). Since BCAA and tryptophan compete for uptake into the brain, less BCAA means that more tryptophan gets across the blood brian barrier which pushes serotonin production and tends to make people sleepy.


i’m not sure what research showed that eating carbs past 3pm, 6pm or whatever pm was “BAD” for people trying to lose b.f. as I’ve seen over and over in fitness magazines. Towards the evening I just try to make sure that my clients consume mostly veggies in portioned amounts.

I have found that whenever my clients are prone to skipping breakfast, having them eat a small serving of a starchy carb just before going to bed tends to make them more hungry as soon as they get up and this gets them back into the mode of eating a small meal to start their day.

I don’t keep them doing this but it usually helps in the initial stages of trying to convert them to smaller meals all throughout the day.

Lyle, good to see your replies. I used to be on the old weightsnet2 list. I’ve always enjoyed your contributions. Peace


I don’t think this was ever researched, it was one of those empirical ‘discoveries’. When folks removed starchy carbs at night, they lost weight/fat faster.

What I think happens is that, by disallowing a certain food group (in this case starchy carbs which can have quite a few calories and which people often overconsume at night b/c they are home and bored and in front of the television) beyond a certain time, folks end up eating less total calories during the day. End result is weight/fat loss but it’s nothing magical beyond tricking them into eating less.

I think a similar thing happened with the whole milk thing with bodybuilders (you often read that you have to take milk out of the diet to get ripped): bodybuilders in the 50’s would often bulk up on a gallon or more of full fat milk (read: tons of calories). When they took the milk out, they lost fat and concluded that mlik makes you fat (or keeps you from getting lean or what have you). But it was a false conclusion (and look at the current research showing that dairy products increase fat loss on a diet) because of the confusion over calories.

my opinion anyhow.