FOOD TIMING FOR WEIGHT LOSS: When to Eat Carbs, Fat and Protein?

To be efficient and productive at weight loss, it’s not just about the macronutrient ratio. It’s also about when you eat. Eating the right food at the right time will improve your general productivity and efficiency throughout your whole day.

We keep it simple with general guidelines.


Eat meals every four hours. A good guideline is four meals a day with a maximum of two snacks in between. Don’t fill yourself up with too much. Feeling full is nice, but it hinders you from being productive. You can’t be productive and perform well with a super full stomach.

Drink water before every meal and between meals. We want to drink at least 3.5 litres a day.


Carb Meal Timing

When we talk about a carb meal, it’s always just moderate amounts. Even though carbs can be good for you, it doesn’t mean that a lot is even better. It’s not a big bowl of rice or oats, but a few tablespoons or half a cup instead.

We want to eat three carb meals and time them right to use them for fuel:


  1. Breakfast:

Avoiding carbs in the morning to keep insulin low and stay in “fat-burning state” is a misconception. The carbs will give you a kick-start energy boost to do more work, to train properly and to move more. Being more active also means burning more. Early carbs also elevate your mood immediately.

Sleeping is a fasting state. Your metabolism will slow down over night and release cortisol in the morning hours. This is a catabolic state you can break by simply refilling your glycogen storage and eating carbs in the morning.

Stick to complex carbs like non-gluten grains, legumes or apples.


A low-carb/high-fat breakfast has been shown to lower appetite in test subjects three to four hours after the meal [24] but experience shows poor energy level results when you train that day.

In the weeks with lower training volume you can try to abstain from your morning carbs or reduce them. Put 2/3 of the missing carbs into a cheat meal or cheat day at the end of the week. E.g. if you eat 40g of carbs every morning, you can add about 180g carbs to your cheat meal. That would be about seven Snickers bars.


  1. Before Training:

Eat a moderate mix of complex and simple carbs two to three hours before training to fuel for a productive session. The closer to training it is, the simpler your carbs should be. By doing that you will be more able to keep focus for a longer session and train harder. That also means burning more fat.


  1. Post-Workout:

Within 45 minutes after training you must eat carbs. Avoiding food to use the “after burn-effect” to break down more fat is a myth. You’ll break down fat anyway, also when you eat. It is best to eat simple carbs like dried and fresh fruits, a smoothie or sweet potato because they are quickly absorbed.

Your post-workout meal should be your biggest carb meal. By peaking insulin, you suppress cortisol and refill glycogen in your muscles. Follow this advice and your body will recover faster, also your metabolism will work more efficiently.


  1. Evening?:

Eating carbs at night should not be the standard and could be negative for weight loss. You usually don’t really need late carbs before bed, but sometimes if you train late, you might have trouble falling asleep. Your glycogen storage still might be depleted. In that case, eat a little amount of carbs before bed to trigger serotonin release. It will help you to sleep better and you will feel more energized in the morning. More energy puts your activity level higher. There we are back on the productivity part of the diet.



Protein & Fat Timing

That one is simple. Your protein and fat intake should be consistent with every meal. It will help you with the feeling of satiety and with digestion.

Protein can give you an initial and sustained feeling of fullness [25]. Eating it with carb meals helps you to unlock glycogen from your muscles by the linked glucagon release. A bit of fat in every meal prevents insulin from getting high and gives your body more to digest, so you won’t feel as hungry. Just add a bit of nuts, seeds or coconut to your quinoa bowl.

The only time to avoid high fat is right after a workout. Your body is better off with a high carb and protein meal then.

If you want to eat a fatty meal, eat it in the evening as your last meal.


Snacks and meals you can eat any time:

– Lean meat

– Eggs

– Nuts/nut butter

– Omega-3 sources


Eating any time doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Stick to your portion sizes and total daily macro intake.

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