When Should You Eat Carbs? By Dr. Gabrielle Lyon
You may have heard about “protein timing,” — but if you haven’t it refers to the distribution of protein throughout the day, and before/after training sessions for optimal muscle protein synthesis (the process by which cells make proteins).
There are different studies and philosophies on how this should be accomplished depending on your overall goals. If you train regularly, then you probably have a system down pat already.
But are you paying attention to “carb timing?”
If you’re not, you might be putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to your health, physique, and losing those last 5-10 lbs
The research for carbs and high-intensity exercise is very clear; however, the research about meal distribution for metabolic flexibility and body composition is not as well-established and definitely not widely-recognized.
So why should you pay attention to how you distribute carbs throughout the day?
It primarily has to deal with “metabolic flexibility,” or your body’s ability to adapt to different metabolic demands (aka the stress you put on it through eating and training).
We know that the consumption of any carbohydrates requires an insulin response so that our cells can absorb the sugars from the macronutrient for energy. Eat too many carbs, though, and your body might not be able to keep up.
Research studies have shown that the body can use (burn or store) about 40 grams of carbs after a meal (assuming you’re not exercising while digesting the meal). Meals that exceed 40 grams require more and more insulin to shut down fat metabolism and force the extra carbs to be converted into fat for storage.
This limits the body’s ability to burn fats, increases fluctuations in blood glucose, and increases hunger.
For the average person trying to lose weight - keeping carbs lower at the beginning of the day and higher towards the end of the day.