Many people are familiar with the notion that avoiding carbs at night can help ensure they’re not ultimately stored as fat. But is that perception the truth, a half-truth or a complete fabrication? As popular as the “no carbs at night” approach may be, it’s not entirely accurate. In fact, the Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences notes that consuming carbohydrates at night can help improve sleep by corralling the hormone cortisol, which the body produces in response to stress. If that hormone is not controlled at night, individuals may experience difficulty falling asleep.
A good night’s rest ensures the body has ample time to repair itself and recover. Without that recovery time, individuals may be more vulnerable to injuries that can compromise their efforts to get healthier. The institute also notes that carbohydrates serve as energy sources that help the body build muscle and burn fat, so avoiding carbs entirely could make it hard for individuals to achieve their health and fitness goals.
Despite the many ways carbs help the body, the notion that it’s best to avoid them at night is not entirely inaccurate. However, rather than avoiding carbs at night, the institute recommends individuals avoid excessive consumption of carbs. Excessive consumption of any food can compromise efforts to eat healthier, and carbs are no exception to that rule. But loading up on carbs at night can make the scale an uninviting place in the morning. That’s because carbs have a tendency to retain water, which the institute indicates can lead to an increase in body weight.
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