If you’re one of those people wondering when to eat carbs for weight loss, then this article is for you. As you no doubt know, carbs are a widely debated topic in the world of weight loss. With the popularity of low carb diets like keto, many people consider carbs as bad for weight loss.
Related reading: What Diet is Best for Weight Loss?
So, in this article, let’s find out the exact definition of carbs and understand when to eat carbs for weight loss.
What are Carbs?
Carbs are among the three macronutrients, along with proteins and fats. They are our body’s most preferred source of fuel. When consumed, they get broken down into glucose, a type of sugar that our body can easily use for energy.
It’s important to understand that carbohydrates are a broad category, and not all carbs are the same. Each type of carb plays an important role in our diet, especially in our body’s ability to lose weight.
Related reading: How Carbohydrates Contribute To Weight Gain
According to Dana Lis, director of performance nutrition at the University of California at Davis,
“Simple carbs are the easier-to-digest, more processed carbohydrates, and complex carbohydrates are more fibrous and harder to break down. Fiber is critical for general health: it slows down the absorption of sugar, can steady blood-sugar levels, and it’s super important for gut health.”
To further understand the role of carbs in our body, let us identify the two main types of dietary carbs:
- Simple carbs – these are the type of carbs that contain one or two sugar molecules. Some of the most common examples of foods rich in simple carbs are fruits, sugar, fruit juice, honey, and milk.
- Complex carbs – these are carbs that have three or more sugar molecules. Examples are brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, and quinoa.
Generally speaking, complex carbs are healthier since they are rich in nutrients and fiber and take longer to digest, so they are a more filling option.
Related reading: Fiber on Keto – Why Is It So Important?
However, in some instances, simple carbs can be a better source of fuel, especially if you are about to work out and need a burst of energy. That’s because your body can break down the simple carbs more easily and absorb them quickly.
When To Eat Carbs For Weight Loss
Some of the most successful diets for weight loss are low carb diets like keto. These diets require followers to minimize carbs to achieve weight loss. Because of this, carbohydrates have developed a bad reputation.
Related reading: Is Keto the Best Diet for Quick Weight Loss?
Many people see them as a hindrance to achieving weight loss. But then again, carbs are not really bad, and they are an essential part of our diet. The key is to eat them in moderation.
Our body processes foods differently at different times, which is why many people are interested to know when to eat carbs for weight loss. Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer to when to eat carbs for weight loss. What is more important is the type of carbs that you eat and the amount of carbs that you take.
Related reading: How To Cut Out Carbs Without Going Full Keto
In one study, it’s been found that eating targeted carbs for one meal, such as during dinner instead of every single meal of the day could make a person feel fuller, which may help with weight loss.
Another study showed that our body would be better at burning carbs if we consume carbs in the morning instead of later in the day. This study aligns with some other studies that suggest weight gain could occur if we eat more calories in the evening. Therefore, eating larger carb-rich meals early in the day could maximize weight loss.
It’s worth noting, however, that there are inconsistencies in the studies mentioned above, and further research is needed to determine when to eat carbs for weight loss.
Many health experts suggest that when it comes to eating carbs, it does not matter what type of carbs you take and how you expend the energy from carbs. It’s more about the amount of carbs that you consume. If you really want to achieve weight loss, restricting carbs is the best way to go.
Why Low Carb Diets Work for Weight Loss
Depending on the level of low carb diet that you follow, there are many reasons why this diet can help you to lose weight. The diet is intended to cause your body to burn stored fats for energy instead of carbs. In doing so, your body will be able to lose weight faster.
Related reading: Are Slow Carbs Better Than Low Carbs for Weight Loss?
For instance, on a keto diet, you will be limited to less than 50 grams of carbs per day and often 20 grams to start with. When you restrict carbs, which is your body’s main source of fuel, your body will turn to fats for energy.
Related reading: Low Carb or Keto For Weight Loss – Which is Best?
It will break down stored fats and produce ketones, and this is what your body will use for energy. Once your body starts converting fats to ketones, you will start losing weight.
Cutting carbs may not be the only reason why people lose weight when following a low-carb diet. When you follow a low carb diet, you will increase your fat and protein intake in exchange for carbs.
Related reading: Best Protein for Weight Loss
Some studies suggest that the extra protein and fat can help you to feel full longer. As a result, you’ll end up eating less, which further helps with weight loss.
Related reading: How Much Weight Can You Lose on Keto?
It’s not clear when to eat carbs for weight loss. Others claim that eating carbs in the morning may help your body to burn carbs faster, which may lead to weight loss. But there’s not enough evidence to prove this.
If you are really serious about losing weight, you should lower your carb consumption instead. There are many scientific studies that can prove that low carb diets like keto can be effective for weight loss.
So, instead of knowing when to eat carbs for weight loss, you could start learning more about the low carb diet. But before you switch to any type of diet, you must first consult your doctor, especially if you are suffering from certain medical conditions.