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When Is The Best Time To Eat Carbs?

By Hybrid Gym LA

By Torrey Patterson 

First let’s get into what carbs are, and why we need them to operate through our daily lives .

The term carbohydrate includes a wide variety of energy-yielding compounds that contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. With the exception of fiber, carbohydrates yield 4 calories per gram (similar to protein) and are an important fuel source for the body, especially when the body is fueling physical activity. Of the three macronutrients, protein often becomes the primary nutrient of focus in the realm of sports and nutrient supplementation. 

However, carbo- hydrates remain equally important if at times, not more so for optimal training and sports performance. Adequate carbohydrate intake remains vital for individuals and athletes seeking to maximize the benefits from training and performance in sports (Kerksick et al., 2018).Carbohydrates are compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules that include simple sugars, complex carbohydrates, glycogen, and fiber. Carbohydrates can be eaten specifically before, during, and after a workout.   

For active individuals, adequate carbohydrate intake before, during, and after prolonged and/ or intense activity can enhance training and performance, as well as facilitate recovery. Carbohydrates consumed prior to intense and long-duration exercise may help replenish glycogen stores depleted during an overnight fast and ensure adequate fuel for performance. 

During an activity that lasts more than an hour, the ingestion of carbohydrates can help maintain stable blood glucose levels and supply needed glucose to working muscles, because glycogen stores are being depleted. Various studies have shown that carbohydrate ingestion during endurance sports can increase performance and time to exhaustion (Currell & Jeukendrup, 2008; Patterson & Gray, 2007). After exercise, the ingestion of carbohydrates and protein can facilitate and optimize muscle protein synthesis, recovery, and glycogen replenishment.

Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer to this as there is no right time to consume carbs. What’s vital is what type of carbohydrates you take and how much you’re consuming. Nutrient timing may come in handy for athletes and other sportspeople but, what matters is the quality and portions of carbs you eat; that’s what will affect your performance, health, and body composition.

With weight management or weight loss, several factors come into play, Time and Glycemic indexes from the carbs. Even though there are inconsistencies, studies show that when you consume carbs can affect how it’s absorbed in the body. A particular study showed that eating targeted carbs for one meal, say dinner, rather than in every meal of the day, can affect weight, leading to weight loss and feeling fuller. Another study showed your body is better at burning carbs if consumed in the morning rather than in the evening. The studies align with other studies that suggest that weight gain tends to occur with eating more calories later in the day, so larger, carb-rich meals in the evening may hinder fat loss. Due to these inconsistencies, when you eat carbs, it isn’t as important as what carbs you take and how you expend the energy from the carbohydrates. To achieve weight loss, reduce your total calorie intake to achieve a caloric deficit. That plus exercise will help you lose weight.