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No carbs after 6pm?

Is this a good approach for fat loss?

For a number of decades a popular dieting strategy used by many has involved eating all your dietary carbohydrates before 6pm. This is followed by consumption of a very small amount of carbs, through green vegetables, protein and some fat after 6pm until you go to bed. The theory behind this is:

  • You need carbs for energy.
  • You are more active earlier in the day therefore you’ll burn carbs off for fuel.
  • You are generally less active in the evening so require minimal carbohydrates at this time.
  • If we consume high carb meals at night they will be stored as fat.

I would like to flip this theory completely on its head and suggest it is outdated and flawed as an effective fat loss and healthy dietary strategy, here’s why…

The problem with carbs at breakfast time

Waking up after an 8 – 10 hour fast we are presented with a strong fat burning opportunity, at this point in the day it is favorable to have higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline to wake us up and give us energy for the morning. Having a good hit of adrenaline in the morning will burn some serious fat! At this point we want minimal insulin floating around, as fat cannot be burnt in the presence of insulin.

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The big problem with the ‘eat all your carbs before 6pm’ model, is that if you consume carbs, for example porridge, for breakfast you are going to:

  • Blunt your cortisol levels
  • Squash your fat searing adrenaline.
  • Create a huge spike in your insulin levels!

The result…..

  • Diminished energy.
  • Brain fog.
  • Halt in fat burning!

The same thing will happen from eating carbs for the rest of the day, you become reliant on them to stabilize blood sugar because you’ve got on the carb/blood sugar roller-coaster from breakfast.

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The problem with a ‘no carb’ night time.

Going to bed after not eating any carbs in the evening can cause cortisol and adrenaline to rise during the night, this is exactly what we don’t want. These stress hormones can cause irritability, anxiety, restlessness and will wake us up and disrupt sleep. Poor sleep has been proven to cause insulin resistance, an increase in ghrelin and a reduction in leptin, all this leads to fat gain!

The solution

Start the day:
With a no carb breakfast, I recommend either red meat, eggs or fish.

Why?
This will maximize morning energy and fat burning. Remember that energy levels are dictated by your hormone and neurotransmitter profile. By eating no carbs in the morning and at lunch this will keep you in a fat burning state throughout the day, while you’re moving around!

End the day:
With an evening meal of lean meat and clean carbs. I prefer turkey breast and sweet potato or venison and brown rice.

Why:
This will replenish muscle glycogen stores lost throughout the day but more importantly it will increase serotonin, which will then be converted to melatonin (the sleep hormone). This will make you feel relaxed, suitably calm and give you a good nights sleep, all contributing towards a healthy, lean, happy person.

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Endocrine System

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