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By Upasana Dhingra

 (Certified Nutrition and Fitness Consultant at FITTR)

Have you ever heard from someone advising you to not eat carbs in the dinner as carbs will make you fat especially if you consume them in the later part of the day?

I am sure you must have come across this weirdest myth at least once in your life and you must have immediately thought of giving it a try to achieve your fat loss goals.  Of course, we as human beings are always looking for a quick fix to achieve our goals instead of building healthier habits which go a long way in one’s fitness journey.

The whole notion of avoiding carbohydrates in the night arises from the claim that you are not going to be active and will probably go to sleep after having dinner and your body doesn’t need as much energy as it needs throughout the day and hence, if you eat a carb rich meal before bed, it will not get utilized by your body and will be stored as fat in your body.

This claim may sound convincing initially to you but this is just a myth prevalent in the fitness industry.

 Many studies have shown that eating carbs at the night doesn’t make you store fat. You gain or reduce fat depending on your energy balance. If you consume more calories than your requirement, you will gain fat no matter if you avoid carbs in the night or not. On the other side, if you are in a calorie deficit, you will reduce fat even if you eat carbohydrates late in the night.

A calorie is a calorie after all no matter if you consume those calories in the late night or any other time of the day. But this also doesn’t mean that you will binge eat late in the night. Binge eating will definitely cause to gain weight.

Most of the times, it is matter of individual choice and his lifestyle, activity level and many more. For example, some people who do heavy strength training in the evening hours, they need to have carbs in their post work out meal to replenish their glycogen stores.

On the other hand, some people immediately go to bed after having a carb rich meal which keeps them full for one or two hours at least and doesn’t let them sleep while some people keep a gap of minimum one hour in their last meal and their bed time which helps them to sleep easily. This, in no way, means that you should be afraid of having carbs in your dinner.

You can have carbs in the dinner and in fact, you must have, in my opinion.


Because intake of carbs in night has also been shown to help people who have trouble sleeping in the night as the influx of carbs in the later part of the day leads to an increase in serotonin which is a  direct precursor to your sleep hormone –melatonin.

So, eating carbs at night can boost serotonin, which will convert into melatonin and help support a healthy night’s sleep. We know from many studies that lack of sleep even for a day can cause havoc on your hormones like cortisol, leptin, and ghrelin the very next day which makes you lethargic, less focussed and leads you to binge eat and result in weight gain.

Also, we need to keep in mind that not all carbs are created equal, and what you combine them with also matters. We really should try to have a balanced meal which consists of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats and fibers which will help you keep your blood sugar level in check, proper interaction with cortisol, and healthy serotonin regulation, which is an important factor for sleep.


Eating carbs at night does not make you fat. Eating extra calories than your requirement makes you fat!!!

By Upasana Dhingra

 (Certified Nutrition and Fitness Consultant at FITTR)

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