Not only is it important for you to pick the right carbs to eat, but it’s also vital to eat them at the right time.
For example, if you’re on a weight-loss mission, you can have your carbs for breakfast but not later in the day.
This is because they will give you an energy boost first thing in the morning and make you feel fuller for longer, reducing your desire to snack. You will have enough time to burn them off through the rest of the day.
Science backs this up.
After all, our bodies’ circadian rhythm, or “internal time-keeping system,” plays a huge role in metabolic and hormonal changes over 24-hour cycles and research suggests carbs are burned more efficiently in the morning than at night.
Another important time to eat carbs is after a work out. This is because they help replace lost fuel in muscles.
Carbs, fat and protein all provide energy, but exercising muscles rely on carbohydrates as their main source of fuel. A diet low in carbs can lead to a lack of energy during exercise, early fatigue and delayed recovery. Fat and protein are harder to turn into energy than carbs, which means you may feel low on energy during your exercise session.
Choosing sensible carbs – such as a banana – after an intense exercise session is a great way to refuel your energy stores while avoiding fat storage.
The golden rules of eating carbs
To make life a little easier, here are our top tips for including carbs in your diet:
- Choose wisely. Stick to the good carbs such as bananas, oats, beans and lentils, potatoes, wholewheat pasta, barley, brown rice, peas, rye and polenta.
- Eat carbs in the morning or after exercise. Eating carbs late at night will not help you lose weight and could make you feel sluggish instead of full of energy.
- Balance your plate. Carbs should take up no more than a quarter of your plate. The rest should be filled with lean meats, low-fat dairy products, good fats and fruit and veggies.
- Be portion savvy. Just because you are eating carbs does not mean you should go overboard. One banana, 125g cannellini beans or one small baked potato is a correct portion size.