[dropcap]D[/dropcap]o you love carbohydrates? Well, let me set the record straight. Complex carbohydrates are a necessary part of our nutritional efforts, but many of us swarm to the junk that has given this essential nutrient a bad name...the simple carbohydrates. It is now banned from you FOREVER!
Calm down…I'm just kidding. But eating at night is one of the routines we all have come to abuse. We either eat it because we're bored or for comfort.
Back in college my roommate and I ate at a Chinese buffet almost every night. After, we would down a pint of ice cream for dessert. Me being a peanut butter fanatic, my choice was the Reese's flavor. Talk about an overload on simple carbohydrates.
As professionals we can't spend hours in the gym burning off the Chinese buffet and ice cream we had the night before. We also can't sleep in until 10am because the carbohydrates had us up all night.
Here are 4.5 reasons why eating carbohydrates at night will make you hate yourself the next day:
Eating at night may feel good, but carbohydrates have become an addiction. Most people don't reach into their cabinet and grab brown rice, or go into the fridge and make a salad. No, they go for the addicting simple carbohydrates…the sugar.
Instead they should reach for the
pint of ice cream complex carbohydrates, if any at all.
Carbohydrates are really no different from cocaine. WHAT? Thats correct, simple carbohydrates can be just as addicting as cocaine, alcohol or other addictive substances.
It is the function of chemicals in your stomach that travel to part of the brain that produces dopamine. This hormone effects the brains pleasure and reward centers, and when activated, the addictive, stuffing your face full of carbohydrates begin.
Tip: A good snack before bed is casein protein. Don't drink to much or you'll be up peeing all night.
2. Ruins Breakfast
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you didn't know, now you do. It's what begins our day, just as going to bed ends it.
If you're used to eating at night, your body doesn't get used to the fasting activities sleeping encourages. Your body hasn't had enough time to prepare for sleep. It's still digesting. You can easily wake up in the morning full, ruining your breakfast which will then effect your entire day.
Tip: Try to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed.
3. Energy Spike
Carbohydrates are one of our bodies direct sources for energy. Besides the 4 cups of coffee you had this morning.
Most athletes will load up on carbohydrates prior to an event. They will use these carbohydrates as energy when intense exercise begins. Once consumed, carbohydrates are stored in our muscles as glycogen that can then be used as energy throughout the day. As we exercise we begin to use the glycogen from the carbohydrates.
I know, your thinking to yourself why would I want to consume these before bed? And your absolutely correct. Simple carbohydrates (fruit) are best consumed in the morning and pre workout. Not before bed!
This leads to the next point.
4. Effects Sleep
The average adult is best rested when they get between 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night. The world as a whole has developed a sleep deficit and can partially be blamed on their diet. Not just from eating carbohydrates right before bed, but their diet as a whole.
Eating at night has become a terrible problem. One, we consume addicting carbohydrates instead of protein and two because what we eat keeps us up, tossing and turning.
There's nothing worse than a dessert high in sugar, such as a pint of ice cream. Have you seen kids on sugar? They go nuts!
The abused, addictive simple carbohydrates are bad before bed. Protein and veggies aren't.
1/2: Reduces Self Control
Controlling your mind to limit eating at night will only build self control, but the opposite it true if you end up stuffing your face full of simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are most abused when people are relaxed or bored in there home. Either way, it's at night and your at home. Train your brain to be strong to overcome the urge. It will only get easier as the days go by. Eating protein will help curve your appetite and make you feel full. However, once you reach for the junk, your tolerance and self control will only be reduced.
I hear you saying to your self, but Nate, I am SO hungry. The good news is, as you begin to consume more meals during the day and to eat nutritiously, you'll become more satisfied. But, this can be nonsense for most.
If you just cant kick the urge, drink a protein shake (casein protein preferred). Or you can eat some nuts, have some cottage cheese or eat a small portion of popcorn. Eating at night you want to remember protein first, veggies second (or first for vegetarians) and healthy fats third. Then start training your body to fuel itself on complex carbohydrates.
What is your "eating at night" habit and how do you overcome the urge?