Carbohydrate Timing is an Extremely Useful Tool
Over the last couple of days, we’ve talked about how to choose the right types of carbohydrates and the importance of including a protein source with every meal. Today we’d like to discuss carb consumption at certain times throughout the day and the effects of such timing on weight loss efforts.
Many of us may already know that there are three main types of carbs.
- Simple carbs: fruit and dairy
- Starchy carbs: potatoes, brown rice, beans, oatmeal, lentils, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Fibrous carbs: most vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, etc.
If your goal is general overall health or weight loss, our suggestion is to limit simple carb intake to only the meals or snacks immediately following exercise. After exercise, your body is primed for carb intake and glycogen replenishment, therefore, this is an optimal time for simple carbs as they are easily shuttled back into the muscles, replacing depleted glycogen stores.
Natural, starchy carbs should be consumed earlier in the day and limited or eliminated after or around lunchtime for most individuals. Good choices, as previously discussed, would include oatmeal, yams, brown rice or potatoes.
Throughout the remainder of the day, your goal should be to transition to fibrous carbs (veggies) for your remaining meals, especially your evening meals. These fibrous carbs are not calorie dense, therefore are not as dangerous when it comes to the potential for fat storage. Since we typically expend more energy during the morning and afternoon hours, our need for starchy carbs decreases over the course of the day as well.
Quick summary, simple carbs immediately after training, starchy carbs with your first two-three meals of the day and fibrous carbs for your last two-three meals of the day.
Please remember, these are a general blueprint and individual needs vary depending on goals and lifestyle. To get the most out of any nutrition plan or program it is important to work in slightly more detail than this, but this is an excellent starting point for just about anyone.