Does every health expert agree that it is a good idea to avoid carbs at dinner? Do carbs for dinner have pros and cons? Debate about the merits of eating carbs at dinner continues to be a hot topic among those who are trying to make healthier lifestyle choices. But just what is the truth behind the issue? Read on to find out more about the various perspectives on this subject.
“Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Carbohydrates provide a major source of fuel for the body, especially when we workout. If you eat carbohydrates at night, it depends on what types of carbs you eat and your own personal routine,” says fitness coach Shivoham.
Should you eat carbs for dinner? Here are the pros and cons of eating carbs for dinner:
3 benefits of eating carbohydrates for dinner
1. Provides a lot of energy for the day
Eating a combination of both carbohydrates and proteins at dinner time help your body grow and heal. They also help you sleep better with whole grains and vegetables that provide nourishment throughout the night. “Growth hormones are released while sleeping, which helps your body to grow and heal. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables are rich in magnesium, calcium and fibre, which promote sound sleep and regulate blood sugar levels by the slow release of glucose. This prevents insulin spike or hypoglycaemia and provides nourishment to the body throughout the night,” states Gurmeet Arora, founder of Flax.
2. Aids sleeping
Eating carbohydrates for dinner can help to regulate the production of sleep-inducing melatonin. When we eat a high-carbohydrate dinner, our body produces insulin and glucose to handle it. This increase in insulin triggers an increase in the secretion of melatonin. If we eat carbohydrates for dinner then it can lead to better quality sleep which leads to less daytime fatigue and improve concentration the following day. Eating carbohydrates for dinner is also helpful because it keeps blood sugar levels from dipping when we go to bed.
Eating carbohydrates that raise blood sugar four hours before bed can support a good night’s sleep.
3. To give your gut a healthy boost
Dietary carbohydrates are necessary to promote good bacteria growth in the gut, which aids in healthy digestion. Adding polished rice, cracked wheat or hulled barley and seasonal vegetables to your meal ensures sufficient fibre. “It is beneficial to add carbohydrates from whole grains such as unpolished rice, cracked wheat or hulled barley and seasonal vegetables for dinner. This ensures sufficient fibre that supports gut health and helps in avoiding constipation next morning,” says nutritionist Lovneet Batra.
Can lead to weight gain
The human body has certain rhythms that are influenced by the actual movements of the sun in its orbit. This is called a circadian rhythm and nocturnal hours can have negative consequences on digestion and weight management. This means that the carbohydrates we eat at this time will not be used for energy, but will get stored as glycogen and fat for future use.
“I recommend eating a meal that has more protein, non-starchy vegetables and a small amount of complex carbohydrates. This could be stir-fried vegetables wrapped in a chickpea pancake or something like a burrito bowl,” states nutritionist Khushboo Jain Tibrewala.
Causes an increase in blood sugar
Diabetes could make a high-carb dinner risky:
Eating carbs for dinner can lead to weight gain and blood sugar spikes, which may be impactful if you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight. “It is best to experiment with what works for you, but people with diabetes may want to limit their intake of carbs at night. To stay healthy, you might include fruit in your evening meal. But you may want to avoid or limit fruit if it makes you feel sluggish or contributes to weight gain,” concludes nutritionist Sapna Jaysingh Patel, founder, Health Before Wealth.