Eating a low-carb diet can be an effective way to lose weight, but it's not always easy to stick with it day in and day out. The No Carbs After Lunch Diet may be an effective compromise — and a way to shed extra pounds.
This diet is one of the primary tenets in the book The Skinny Rules, written by Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper. In it, Harper advises eating most of your carbohydrates in the morning, then filling your diet with protein and fiber in the afternoon and evening.
As with any diet like the No Carbs After Lunch Diet, there can be both disadvantages and benefits of eating carbs at night. Check with your doctor before committing to this diet to be sure it's a good fit for you.
Read more: The Effects of Eating Late at Night
Why No Carbs After Lunch?
Eating carbohydrates, especially refined sugars and highly processed carbs, triggers the pancreas to make insulin. This insulin response, in turn, triggers hunger hormones in the gut.
As such, consuming sugars later in the day may lead to late-night cravings and overeating close to bedtime — resulting in weight gain. Over time, your body may develop diabetes as your pancreas works overtime in response to the constant influx of refined and processed sugars and carbs.
In contrast, eating carbs in the morning can help to keep blood sugar consistent throughout the day. Kaiser Permanente concurs that eating the same amount of carbs at the same time every day can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
You'll also likely feel less hungry if you're eating mainly protein and high-fiber foods that help you feel satiated. You might notice you don't crave high-carb foods the less you eat them, especially if you're burning off those carbs throughout the day through daily living and exercise.
Low-Carb Diet Basics
With the No Carbs After Lunch Diet, you'll eat your carbs in the morning, focusing on complex carbs like whole grains. The rules are fairly simple:
- Eat three meals and two snacks a day.
- Drink water before each meal.
- Include a protein source with every meal.
- Steer clear of fried and fast foods.
- Incorporate berries and apples into your daily meals.
Complex carbs are digested more slowly than refined carbs and have less of a detrimental effect on blood sugar, explains the Mayo Clinic. With a low-carb diet like the No Carbs After Lunch Diet, you lower insulin levels — allowing the body to burn stored fat for energy and shed extra pounds.
For example, a small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal with milk can help you feel drowsy due to the milk's tryptophan, calcium and magnesium, plus the cereal's calming carbs and magnesium.
In addition, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focuses more on macronutrients than the timing of carb ingestion. These guidelines recommend eating 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbs, as well as 25 to 35 percent fats and 10 to 30 percent protein.
If you experience success with the No Carbs After Lunch Diet, you might feel confident in straying from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If, however, you find some benefits of eating carbs at night, you can weigh them against any potential drawbacks for your health.
Read more: Healthy Low-Carb Eating Plan
- Kaiser Permanente: "What to Eat, How Much, and When"
- Mayo Clinic: "Low-Carb Diet: Can It Help You Lose Weight?"
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 7. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations"
- National Sleep Foundation: "Set Yourself Up for Sound Slumber With These Calming Foods and Beverages"
- Penguin Random House: "The Skinny Rules"