Eating Carbohydrates at Dinner Will Help Me Lose Weight and Sleep Better??
JUNE 22, 2017 by OLIVIA NEELY, RDN, LD
When was the last time you enjoyed oatmeal without fruit, nuts, syrup, or (hopefully not) out of an instant ready-to-eat bag? Well… it’s time to re-think your oatmeal.
Oatmeal doesn’t just have to be sweet. It can be so deliciously savory and enjoyed at any meal of the day, not just breakfast.
Especially if you want to lose weight and sleep better. Yes, I said it. You can have carbohydrates at your dinner meal. I want you to! Say goodbye to the old adage of “never have any form of carbohydrate past lunchtime or it stores as fat while you sleep.”
In fact, if you’re dealing with poor sleep, weight loss resistance or adrenal fatigue (read my article here to learn more about this) then you might want to think about getting most of your carbohydrates at dinner.
The Truth About “Bad” Carbohydrates
Let me set a few things straight right from the beginning…
- Carbohydrates are not the devil, especially if you’re choosing the right ones.
- Most of these should be coming from plant sources (think vegetables and fruits here, people)
- Breakfast DOES NOT have to be pancakes, waffles, French toast or a huge yogurt and fruit parfait. Hate to break it to you, but these are all carbohydrate (sugar) bombs!
Carbs: Insulin, Serotonin, Melatonin and Tryptophan
If you’re eating a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, it can throw off the rest of your day in the following ways:
- Carbs increase your blood sugar which in turn creates an increase of insulin. This sets you up on the blood sugar roller coaster and leaves you craving a pick-me-up even before lunch time.
- High insulin spikes inflammation leading to weight gain around the mid-section.
- Having a carb-bomb for breakfast also affects your sleep at night because you aren’t getting the right precursors to make essential sleep hormones.
- Tryptophan (an amino acid found in protein, not carbs) is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is our “feel-good hormone” and makes us feel happy and motivated. Serotonin then turns into melatonin, which helps us sleep at night!
IN CONCLUSION: without obtaining amino acids through protein foods in the morning, our body can’t make hormones to make us happy during the day or hormones to help us sleep at night.
The Best Time to Eat Carbs
By simply shifting the number of carbohydrates you eat from the earlier part of the day to the later, also known as carb backloading, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll have an easier time losing weight.
So, instead of reaching for that oatmeal topped with fruit and syrup for breakfast, try something crazy and heat up some leftover from dinner the night before. How much easier can it get than to throw that leftover grilled chicken and broccoli in the microwave and add some sliced avocado with sea salt?
Turn that sweet oatmeal into a savory dinner by sautéing up some pancetta or bacon, add oats and chicken broth (use bone broth for bonus points). Top with some spoonfuls of nutty and herby pesto, an egg or two, and some arugula.