Bread Before Bed? David Letterman’s Doctor Explains Why It’s Best to Eat Carbs at the End of the Day
Patricia A. Kuharic; Inset: John Paul Filo/CBS/Get
If you’re going to hit the breadbasket, when is the best time of day to do it?
According to Dr. Louis Aronne, director of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Comprehensive Weight Loss Center (and David Letterman’s doctor), it’s actually at the end of the day. Aronne shares this unconventional weight loss tip in his new book, The Change Your Biology Diet, and now he’s breaking down all of his best advice and insight for PEOPLE:
Eat carbs late in the meal and late in the day.
“Having carbs first may stimulate appetite, and make it harder to control your eating,” explains Aronne – who cites his research to backup this claim. “In one study, young men were given instant oatmeal for breakfast one day, and on another day they were given eggs. On the day they had the oatmeal, they ate 80 percent more than on the day they had eggs. They also were still hungry, even though they were eating more.” So skip the bagels and cereal for breakfast, and if you’re going to consume carbs, eat them at the end of the day when they will “have a minimal effect on eating.”
Using air conditioning and heating may be a catalyst for weight gain.
“You burn a significant amount of calories if you’re trying to cool your body off or if you’re trying to heat it up,” says Aronne. “We don’t do that any longer, so we’re staring to think that it may be a cause of weight gain.” While the effect of using a/c or heat is small on a daily basis – body temperature regulation burns about 100 calories per day – it can make a difference over time. “That adds up to a huge amount each year,” he says. “That’s 10 lbs. a year that you would be burning if you had to regulate your temperature.”
A lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain.
“Evidence shows that the shorter you sleep, the hungrier you get and the more weight you gain,” says Aronne. “And this is a physical thing – people think it’s mental, but it’s not.” Aronne explains that the hormones that control your weight signal the body to gain weight when you don’t get enough sleep. He recommends getting at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Can’t make it to the gym every day? Invest in a standing desk.
“Standing burns three times as many calories as sitting,” says Aronne, who also recommends always opting for the stairs over an elevator, and physically walking to someone’s office instead of calling them. “That adds up to a lot of calories burned per day.”
Cook foods – especially pasta – al dente.
Starches, such as pasta, are made up of strands of glucose connected to each other, and cook time affects your body’s ability to absorb these strands. “When you cook a starch a lot, it becomes almost like sugar, and your body can break it down very easily and it’s easy to digest,” says Aronne. “If it stays a long chain, it slows down the absorption of the carbohydrates, which leads to less of a rise in blood sugar, less insulin, and less weight gain.”
—Gabrielle Olya, @GabyOlya