T Nation

Carbs in the Evening?


I just wanted to get peoples opinion on consuming carbs in the evening.

Lets say someone is trying to lean out. They keep their carb intake to around 100 grams a day.

How much would it hurt if a large chunk of that carb intake was in the evening.

The reason I ask is during the day I am on the go and mind is not focused on food. In the evenings however I have down time and find myself craving carbs. If I was to get carbs from vegetables and nuts only during the day but in the evening after or around dinner had a higher carb intake of say brown rice, oatmeal, ezekiel bread, etc. would this really hurt lowering body fat.

I know you should consume carbs earlier in the day since you are more active and utilizing what you are consuming but I wondered if the same caloric intake, grams of protein, carbs, fat, etc. stayed the same the only difference being carbs were consumed more in the evening time what affect it would have. Could results still be obtained?

Thanks for everyones thoughts on the matter.


It's called "carb back-loading"


also, look up "pulse feast" here on T-Nation.


My whole post is gone. Google Martin Berkhan and Lean gains. Then read the article:

"Is late night eating better for fat loss and health". If it's not on the front page, it's in the June 2011 archives if you scroll down on the right hand side of the page. This also adresses late night eating.

I wonder how long superfasts links will be up.


Nice article. I can vouche for eating copious amounts of carbs post workout and not gaining fat. I just finished eating almost 1700 calories, of which 812 (203 grams) were carbs. I'm somewhere between 10 and 15% bf right now so it's not like I'm so lean I can go to town with carbs whenever I want.


Think you answered your own question..Of course carbs in the evening will hinder your fat loss, especially if you more active in the earlier parts of the day.


Explain? It's called backloading..Do you think your body magically shuts everything down and just immediately stores those carbs as fat when you sleep that night if you didn't utilize them? OR (more logical) It doesn't do what I described above and those carbs are utilized during the following day?

Think about it..


I've had success with carb (and calorie in general) backloading, but staying quite clean with my carb sources (rice, tubers etc.) in 3 months my scale weight has not changed at all but strength and muscle mass have increased. It has been a slow process in regards to body composition however strength has increased considerably, whether this is due to backloading or some of the supps I've introduced, I'm not sure...strength gain is my main goal.


Thanks for the articles guys and for the replys. It is something to think about. I think I may experiment with a diet plan like this. Thanks!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but "back loading" isn't really introducing us to anything new... is it?

It's basically sticking to the paradigm that you can consume carbs without gaining fat until your glycogen stores are full, then the excess helps build fat.

If you consume carbs at a level such that you're always a little glycogen depleted, it shouldn't matter when you consume them... you basically 1) want enough muscle glycogen (consume enough carb) to let you go at resistance/anaerobic training at full power and 2) you want to make sure you don't exceed glycogen storage capacity.

Right? That's it... isn't it?


Basically..yes. But If say for me..I follow IF style of eating..I eat approx. 300g of carbs on Monday and about 2400kcal where last meal is approx. 11:30pm. Then I fast the following day along with cardio...and break that fast at 8:30pm..eat approx. 1500kcal and carbs around 50g from trace amounts..end feeding again by 11:30pm. Next day fast again...and train fasted at around 4:30pm heavy weight training for 60mins..I then eat approx 350-400g of carbs in one sitting with copious amounts of protein and little fat..I do not believe I'll put on any bodyfat. Even if I go right to sleep, right now.


The idea (with backloading specifically) is that you're better off eating carbs at night, because fat cell insulin sensitivity is low whereas, assuming regular weight training, muscle insulin sensitivity will be relatively high. It's also suggested that an insulin spike early in the day effectively turns off fat loss when it should be in full swing.

Intermittent fasting plays more on the idea of the fasting period promoting insulin sensitivity in the feasting period. I don't know that IF promotes any particular eating schedule over another.

The combination of the two is great, IMO.


How about the morning after a weight training day?
(with no activities/cardio in the morning)

Is fat cell insulin sensitivity still high?


IMO depends entirely on when you train - if you train at say 6pm, finish at 7, go home and have dinner with loads of clean carbs then no - you'll just be replacing lost muscle glycogen. If however, you train earlier on in the day, lets say 2pm, and have a load of carbs afterwards and then continue to consume carbs through the night once all your muscle glycogen's been replaced any additional carbs will start to go towards liver glycogen and we all know what happens then!


Google "how we get fat" and "Lyle Mcdonald". How we get fat is a very interesting article. No need to fear carbs. I don't think most of us here are eating enough of them to worry.

1) Carbs are rarely converted to fat and stored as such
2) When you eat more carbs you burn more carbs and less fat; eat less carbs and you burn less carbs and more fat
3) Protein is basically never going to be converted to fat and stored as such
4) When you eat more protein, you burn more protein (and by extension, less carbs and less fat); eat less protein and you burn less protein (and by extension, more carbs and more fat)
5) Ingested dietary fat is primarily stored, eating more of it doesnâ??t impact on fat oxidation to a significant degree

Carbohydrates are rarely converted to fat (a process called de novo lipogenesis) under normal dietary conditions. There are exceptions when this occurs. One is with massive chronic overfeeding of carbs. Iâ??m talking 700-900 grams of carbs per day for multiple days. Under those conditions, carbs max out glycogen stores, are in excess of total daily energy requirements and you see the conversion of carbohydrate to fat for storage. But this is not a normal dietary situation for most people.

-> Excess dietary fat is directly stored as fat
-> Excess dietary carbs increases carb oxidation, impairing fat oxidation; more of your daily fat intake is stored as fat
-> Excess dietary protein increases protein oxidation, impairing fat oxidation; more of your daily fat intake is stored as fat

All three situations make you fat, just through different mechanisms. Fat is directly stored and carbs and protein cause you to store the fat youâ??re eating by decreasing fat oxidation.


This is what I took from Martin and Lyle...which is why I've always tended to keep dietary fat intake as low as I can..30g sub..usually around 20g on days that I'm eating high carb/high protein..say 250g-350g of carbs and around 150+g of protein.


Facko, Yeah. It was a real eye opener to me when I first read that article. Before then, this site had me running scared from carbs. Now my energy is up, I'm losing fat and eating pretty much any carb source I want after I work out. Yes, Gasp! even ice-cream. Tonight, after training, I'll be eating those two big chocolate chip cookies I picked up at our lunch seminar.

Really, as long as your focusing on getting 1.1 to 1.5 grams of protein per lb wt and overall calories, it doesn't much matter what else you eat. That combined with IF is very freeing. Makes me laugh about the OCD posts around here.


You said "That combined with IF is very freeing"...what is IF?

Also thanks for the Lyle thread it did give me some things to think about. I may try your approach and see how it goes.


Do you keep dietary fat lower on days that you are eating a lot of carbs? I'm always curious if it's cool for me to eat like a peanut butter sandwich on high carb days..because I know I can rack up an easy 20-30gs of fat just in the peanut butter alone..


IF is intermittent fasting. There are a few different approaches to this..I personally follow the LeanGains approach. It is an eating style in which you eat on a 16/8 schedule..in other words..16 hours without food and an 8 hour feeding window..


It's a circadian rhythm thing. In the morning, overall insulin sensitivity is naturally going to be high. Hence the typical recommendation to eat carbs at breakfast. But you're dealing with muscle AND fat insulin sensitivity being high. You want muscles to be sensitive but not fat, so the solution is wait till later.

Backloading refers to the time of day, not the post-workout period. Post-workout is a different story...you've got about 2 hours hours where insulin isn't necessary for your muscles to soak up glucose. The post-workout insulin response is already blunted, and if you throw some caffeine on top of that, you can take advantage of post-workout carbs without bothering too much with insulin.

The important point is that weight training changes the rules. Sedentary people should not be eating carbs at night.