Eating Carbs at Night Makes You Fat

Myths Stripped

Myth Stripped Will eating carbs at night make you fat? Nutrition Stripped

Will eating carbohydrates at night make you gain weight? Find out in this Myths Stripped.

“In this new series, I’m stripping away the fluff around these nutrition and healthy living myths, dogmas, and practices from reading your submissions to [email protected] Join the conversation and share in the comments why/if you went along with this myth!”


Will eating carbohydrates at night, make me gain weight? 

NO. I get this question weekly and have ever since I can remember! Any “guru” who tells you not to eat carbohydrates past a certain hour, let’s say 3 or 4pm for example, has no idea what they’re talking about to put it bluntly. Our bodies are amazing. They’re adaptable and smart! Our bodies also care more about the overall intake in a day, a week, a month versus very specific timing such as eating carbs at night. Meal timing is a whole other topic I could speak about, which is more related to sports nutrition.

There are so many factors that go into weight loss, yes managing carbohydrates may be beneficial for some body types and goals, but it doesn’t mean 1) you have to do it, 2) you can’t eat those carbs at night, 3) that they’ll be stored as fat because you’re just “going to sleep” and can’t use them, etc. Studies have shown that time of day doesn’t influence how much or at what rate insulin is released with evening meals comprised of carbohydrates compared to morning meals.

Another reason why eating carbs at night may actually be better is all about the balance of cortisol, a stress hormone, and insulin. Cortisol is naturally highest in the morning and takes a dip during the day, which is completely natural. But when insulin is elevated (i.e. let’s say you have a high carbohydrate meal and insulin comes out to “grab” the glucose/sugar), then fat loss/weight loss is halted. Cortisol enhances the fat-storing effects of insulin, so if you have carbohydrates with your evening meal, i.e. when your cortisol levels are naturally dropping, you don’t run into the problem with both high cortisol + high insulin and you have an advantage to tap into fat loss/weight loss. This is a very complicated process summed up in a nutshell. There are far more specifics that can go into this and practices I share with clients to help their fat loss goals, but hormones are pretty cool huh?

Also, studies have shown that our resting metabolic rate at night falls and rises contrary to “broscience” that our metabolisms slow and crashes during the night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). What matters more than anything is your entire intake over the course of a day and week, not just one meal. I have clients from all different backgrounds, ages, lifestyles, goals, and metabolisms on different plans who have successfully had fat loss and leaned out eating carbs at night. Some do really well with very high carbohydrate diets, and some will gain weight just by looking at a bagel! I happily and healthfully eat and enjoy carbs at night to this day. This is the beauty of finding what works for you, balancing your macronutrients, and letting go of the dogmas. Let’s hand over the micromanaging to someone else and give yourself permission to enjoy eating healthy carbohydrates at night. This myth is totally busted. #happyhormones

Try these healthy recipes for enjoying carbs at night:

You might like these posts:

YOUR TURN: Have you ever followed this myth? Do you have friends you know tell you this myth? Leave a comment and let’s chat!

OPTIMIZE, YOU DESERVE IT! I work 1-1 with women just like you all over the world to help optimize their health, reach goals, feel and look amazing! Sign up here to chat with me about how we can work together and take the first step to make this your healthiest and happiest year yet. (p.s. I always include carbohydrates and desserts in my meal plans, oh my!)

xx McKel

Share your thoughts

  • Domi

    Thanks for this post McKel!
    I followed this so called “rule” which guaranteed not gaining weight, but since I usually workout on the morning, I had no energy to do, and was always struggling to make myself do it. But since I stopped, and eating some carbs with my dinner as well I enjoy morning workout so much, and I am much more energized in the mornings, and whole day after.
    Love your posts and recipes! 🙂
    xx from Hungary

  • When I first saw the title of this post in my reader I thought OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD because I eat a lot of carbs at night. Happy they’re not going to make me fat. 😉 Love this series so much, lady.

    • Hahaha! You’re hilarious Ashlae, and totally in the clear. Let me know if there are any other myths you’d like to see stripped! xxM

    • Danielle

      McKel, this was a great read! I am a science nerd girl, and love knowing the “why” and the “how” behind things, so I appreciate all of your posts relating to the chemical processes that occur in our bodies. Since we’re on the topic of cortisol, I have a question for you… What are your thoughts on consuming coffee post-exercise (within the hour)? From what I’ve read, caffeine raises cortisol levels, and since cortisol levels are elevated during exercise, would consuming coffee so soon afterward potentially lead to weight gain? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this… Might be another great myth to debunk… or confirm! Ha! Thank you in advance! 🙂

      • McKel Hill

        So glad you enjoyed reading, Danielle and great question. I’ll add that to the list, but in a nutshell yes coffee does increase cortisol but we have to remember that all of our bodies and that reaction is very different so in a nutshell, I don’t think your post-workout coffee will contribute to weight gain 😉

  • carolina

    I feel it helps me sleep better. when i was avoiding complex carbs in the evening i started suffering from insomnia. its a matter of balance!

  • I used to restrict carbs, especially at night. Of course I lost weight but I was soooooooo tired all the time!! Not worth it.

  • Loved reading this! I follow a pair of fitness girls who have a nutrition plan that I ended up buying out of curiosity and they preach this exact thing – not eating carbs after 3pm. For a while I tried it and my body almost rebelled! The more I deprived myself of the foods I was craving – sweet potatoes, squash, whole grains – the more I wanted them. One question I do have about this though is about the sugar intake. Do you think we should be mindful in the amount of sugar (even natural) that our evening meal has? So if it’s something like a spaghetti squash with a marinara sauce and some beans with just a small side salad. Is that a type of meal that would spike blood sugar or cause any negative impacts on the body?

    Thanks for this awesome series!

    xo Alyssa

  • Lauren

    Above you state: Studies have shown that insulin is elevated for longer periods of time with evening meals comprised of carbohydrates compared to morning meals. Why is this a good thing? Aren’t elevated insulated levels a bad thing?

    • Great question! In a nutshell, when carbohydrates enter our bodies insulin should ‘grab’ the sugar (versus the negative would be insulin resistance, meaning the body requires larger amounts of insulin to work harder to grab the sugar). In this study, it’s showing that the time of day doesn’t influence how much or how fast insulin is released- versus myths saying it isn’t effective during the evening and/or it requires larger amounts- I added a bit more in the blog post about insulin and cortisol in hopes that this clarifies your question a bit more! xx

  • Rebeca

    There was a time when I did follow it. I was obsessed with eating healthy, and that led to quite some unhealthy habits! Nothing stops me from having carbs at night now, though – it my body wants them, I deliver!
    Looking forward to this series!

  • This was so good to read! I love your knowledge and am super grateful for you sharing it here in this space :). Thanks again for the great myth busting McKel <3

  • Virginia

    Hi McKel, about two months ago, one of my work colleagues started a diet because he is getting married next spring. He went to a nutritionist and he has been advised to eat protein with each and every meal and avoid carbohydrates after 4 pm. For dinner, he can have protein that is not plant-based, greens and vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. This colleague is convinced now that cabs are bad for one in general and make one fat if eaten after 4 pm. Unbelievable!

    • Yep, that’s what I call nutrition fluff haha, there’s really no reason to avoid them past a certain hour and actually for fat loss it’s advantageous to have carbs in the evening and keep them limited during the day with plenty of healthy fats and proteins

  • Ally M.


    Will you be writing an article on meal timing relating to sports nutrition anytime soon?
    Id love to know more about that!


    • I’ll add that to the list! I do have one coming up that’s slightly related to that 😉

  • It is refreshing to read about the benefits of carbohydrates, especially when are often viewed so negatively. Thank you for this fantastic information! I am sharing it everywhere!

  • Mercy

    Hi! You just made me realize that I’ve cut out a lot of carbs like pasta, grains and rice. Somehow they have been no no’s for a long time. Thanks for the article! You know what I’m so confused about…… Fruit intake. Some say moderate, some say eat all you want? Would love it if you would attack that one!

    • Thanks for sharing Mercy- I’ll add fruit to the list, I get this question a lot! Until then, enjoy carbs too 🙂

  • Carolyn

    I used to enjoy reading your blog until I recently noticed that every comment I take the time to write, sharing my opinion, or answering your questions to the readers, doesn’t get posted.

  • Annie

    You mention in this post that having carbs for dinner gives you the opportunity to ‘ tap into fat loss/weight loss’. Could you explain how? I understand that eating carbs later in the day doesn’t increase your change of GAINING weight, but I didn’t quite grasp how it gives you an advantage in weight LOSS. Could you help?

    Thanks so much 🙂 x

    • Great question! It’s a technique I use with my clients all the time and I’ll have to address this another time- it’s too much to comment on 😉 xM

  • Danielle

    Thank you so much for this post, McKel! As an almost RD (one more semester left of my Masters, yay!), this is a topic I have discussed with clients/patients in my internship often. I was so happy to read this post, as I know it will help to educate people on this misconception. Also, I just ordered your “Avocado Love” T and am anxiously awaiting its arrival 😀 Can’t wait! Thanks again for all that you do!


    • McKel Hill

      Congrats Danielle! Be sure to snap a picture so I can see you rockin’ it! xx M #highfivedietitians


See what wellness looks like #IRL

follow @nutritionstripped

Looking for something? Let's find it!

Terms & Conditions

Photography, recipe, and content Policy

All content is copyright of Nutrition Stripped and shall not be copied, replicated, or duplicated. Please be courteous, respectful, and refrain from using it as your own. You may share a recipe or image only by contacting, referring, or directly linking back to Nutrition Stripped.

Photography and Recipe Policy 
We’re extremely flattered when asked to publish NS photography on a website or blog. We ask that if you’d like to share a recipe, photography, or content, you must get permission from the team first. Please keep in mind that all written content, photography, recipes, and general writing are copyrighted materials which have been a labor of love in the production of and have worked very hard to produce it.

Nutrition Stripped policy is as follows if you want to do the following:
To promote a recipe or photograph from my site You may post one photo as long as you give a direct link back to the post where you found the photograph/material including in the content a mention of McKel Hill, MS, RD from Nutrition Stripped. You may not republish the recipe itself. To use my photography for promotion other than sharing my original works you must request permission beforehand, a simple email will do. You may not republish my recipe or multiple recipes without direct permission. We occasionally allow other websites to post my recipes; which is decided at my discretion on a case-by-case basis and mostly with those we have an agreement with for example with my blog writing contributions. Please uphold the standards of the U.S. copyright laws for recipes and mycopyright policy.


Nutrition Stripped © 2016

Privacy Policy

Personal identification information
We may collect personal identification information from Users in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, when Users visit our site, subscribe to the newsletter, and in connection with other activities, services, features or resources we make available on our Site. Users may be asked for, as appropriate, name, email address. Users may, however, visit our Site anonymously. We will collect personal identification information from Users only if they voluntarily submit such information to us. Users can always refuse to supply personally identification information, except that it may prevent them from engaging in certain Site related activities.

Non-personal identification information
We may collect non-personal identification information about Users whenever they interact with our Site. Non-personal identification information may include the browser name, the type of computer and technical information about Users means of connection to our Site, such as the operating system and the Internet service providers utilized and other similar information.

Web browser cookies
Our Site may use “cookies” to enhance User experience. User’s web browser places cookies on their hard drive for record-keeping purposes and sometimes to track information about them. User may choose to set their web browser to refuse cookies, or to alert you when cookies are being sent. If they do so, note that some parts of the Site may not function properly.

How we use collected information
Nutrition Stripped may collect and use Users personal information for the following purposes: To improve customer service, information you provide helps us respond to your customer service requests and support needs more efficiently. To personalize user experience, we may use information in the aggregate to understand how our Users as a group use the services and resources provided on our Site. To improve our Site, we may use feedback you provide to improve our products and services. To run a promotion, contest, survey or other Site feature. To send Users information they agreed to receive about topics we think will be of interest to them. To send periodic emails, we may use the email address to respond to their inquiries, questions, and/or other requests. If User decides to opt-in to our mailing list, they will receive emails that may include company news, updates, related product or service information, etc. If at any time the User would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.

How we protect your information
We adopt appropriate data collection, storage and processing practices and security measures to protect against unauthorized access, alteration, disclosure or destruction of your personal information, username, password, transaction information and data stored on our Site. Sensitive and private data exchange between the Site and its Users happens over a SSL secured communication channel and is encrypted and protected with digital signatures.

Sharing your personal information
We do not sell, trade, or rent Users personal identification information to others. We may share generic aggregated demographic information not linked to any personal identification information regarding visitors and users with our business partners, trusted affiliates and advertisers for the purposes outlined above. We may use third party service providers to help us operate our business and the Site or administer activities on our behalf, such as sending out newsletters or surveys. We may share your information with these third parties for those limited purposes provided that you have given us your permission.

Changes to this privacy policy
Nutrition Stripped has the discretion to update this privacy policy at any time. When we do, we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page and send you an email. We encourage Users to frequently check this page for any changes to stay informed about how we are helping to protect the personal information we collect. You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this privacy policy periodically and become aware of modifications.

Third party links
Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g. click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you.  These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information.  To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice visit the NAI at To opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit

By using this Site, you signify your acceptance of this policy and terms of service. If you do not agree to this policy, please do not use our Site. Your continued use of the Site following the posting of changes to this policy will be deemed your acceptance of those changes. Privacy policy created by last modified on 7/31/13

We allow third party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our Web site.  These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g. click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you.  These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information.  To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice visit the NAI at To opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit

Disclosure Policy

Nutrition Stripped works with brands all over the globe that we can stand behind and that we know you’ll love too! Companies and brands will send me products to try or develop recipes with. Whenever I review or refer to a product that was provided to me, I will make it clear in the post, otherwise it is a product that I have purchased and will not necessarily mention in that post. 

Disclosure Policy
This policy is valid starting from 16 June 2013. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Nutrition Stripped. For questions about this blog, please contact Support [at] nutritirionstripped [dot] com.

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

While this blog may be compensated for a review of a product or service, such compensation will never have an effect on the honest opinion that I present on this blog. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content will always be identified.

Questions? Please e-mail Support [at] nutritionstripped [dot] com or refer to the FTC’s ruling on blogger disclosure: FTC Rules on Sponsored Conversations

Release of Liability
Any item promoted/advertised/sponsored on this site that you choose to partake in is your decision and I am not liable for any problems that arise including, but not limited to: not receiving products, receiving broken or damaged goods, seeing an item you bought go on sale after you buy it, technical difficulties with sites that I link to. Furthermore, any information you submit to any external site is at your own risk.

Affiliate Discretion Notice

Nutrition Stripped is a participant of several affiliate programs which is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking directly to sources that Nutrition Stripped genuinely likes. If you click on any of those links, which are known as “affiliate links”, and make a purchase within a certain time frame, I’ll get a small commission. The commission is paid by the third parties, not by you! Affiliate links and resources earned help support my efforts here at Nutrition Stripped, thank you!

Need help? Support

T-shirt Size Chart

Size US Sizes UK Sizes AUS Sizes
Small (S) 2-4 32-34 6-8
Medium (M) 6-10 36-40 9-13
Large (L) 10-14 40-44 13-17


No worries, just shoot us a quick email at [email protected] with SHOP in the subject and let us know what size you’re looking for and we’ll set you up!

Avocado Love t-shirt is made with super soft blend of 65% poly 35% viscose; it’s lightweight, flowy, hangs off the body and runs true to size. The boxy crop tee doesn’t show the tummy, just slightly when you raise your hands.

Matcha Matcha Matcha t-shirt is made with a durable 100% cotton blend. It runs a bit on the larger side, but shrinks an entire size due to the cotton.

Kale Made Me Do It t-shirt is made with super soft blend of 65% poly 35% viscose; it’s lightweight, flowy, hangs off the body and runs true to size. The sleeves are purposefully a little loose, hanging off the shoulders giving room to move.

Good Food Good Vibes t-shirt is made with super soft blend of 65% poly 35% viscose; it’s lightweight, flowy, hangs off the body and runs true to size. The sleeves have a deep scoop showing your side body more than a normal tank, great to show off a touch of your sports bra, lacy bra, or any tank underneath.

Each t-shirt is individually hand screen printed here in Nashville, TN by our friends Grand Palace Printing. Each design is printed multiple times to ensure quality color. A lot of love goes into making every single t-shirt, here’s how to take care of it when it gets to you:

+ Wash cold
+ Line dry or lay flat to dry to retain best color and size

Shop Support

Have questions about your order? Exchanges/returns, or just to share a testimonial of your experience with Nutrition Stripped? We’re happy to help answer any and all questions you might have. Please email us at [email protected].

Follow me on Snapchat

Send this to friend