Carbohydrates get a lot of press these days and for good reason. Of all the major macro nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) carbs have the greatest potential to derail your weight loss efforts, cause high blood sugar and metabolically cripple your body’s hormone systems.
That being said for optimal health we do need some carbohydrates. Just not as much as the government food plate says and when you eat them is also very important.
Before I tell you the 2 optimal times to consume most of your carbs let’s quickly review what happens when you eat a meal heavy in carbohydrates. After you eat something high in carbs (a potato, banana, fruit juice, etc…) it is broken down into glucose in the stomach and intestines and then absorbed into the blood. This triggers the release of insulin, a hormone which transports sugar from the blood into the cells for use as energy.
Problems arise when we frequently eat carbs and our blood sugar remains high for long periods of time. This is the root cause of diabetes, when the body can no longer properly regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.
So when should you eat most of your carbs to minimize the negative effects and reap all the positive effects of carbs such as weight loss, energyproduction, hormone regulation and improved sleep?
1) Within 1 Hour of Working Out- immediately after a hard workout your muscles are craving carbs to replenish glycogen stores. Glycogen is the stored energy supply in the muscles and needs to be replenished following a workout.
The spike in insulin from eating carbs after a workout also halts the release of cortisol (stress hormone) which then prevents further breakdown of muscle tissue allowing you to recover more quickly from intense exercise.
2) An Hour Before Bed- the insulin spike from eating those carbs an hour before bed will do 2 things for you that are good. The first is make it easier to fall asleep because the resulting crash in blood sugar will make you sleepy. Second, once you are asleep and the blood sugar crashes your endocrine system jumps to life and increases output of Human Growth Hormone which slows aging and helps regenerate the body.
So there you have it. The 2 optimal times to be consuming most, if not all, of your carbs. The rest of your meals should focus on healthy fats and proteins and generally exclude carbs. For further nutritional guidance call our office at 715-246-7500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For a free cook book with 21+ free recipes, visit www.arvoldchiro.com and sign up for our email updates.
Thanks for reading.
Dr. Austin Erickson, DC