Whether you're following a low-carb diet or not, you probably find yourself occasionally craving starchy or sugary foods. While these foods are totally OK in moderation, you may be wondering if there's ever a bad time to indulge in carbs, especially since they sometimes leave you feeling sluggish. As it turns out, there is a worst time to eat refined carbs — and the answer just may surprise you.
According to Shauna Sacco, a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer in Houston, treating yourself to refined carbs such as white bread and pastries should not be done during breakfast. "The most important time to eat a balanced meal is at breakfast so you fuel up for the day and maintain steady blood sugar," Sacco said. "It can be hard to find good breakfast options because we're often on the go or indulging in sweeter options like pancakes." So if you think eating it first thing is good because you have all day to burn it off, it actually may only hurt you in the end by not properly energizing your body for the day ahead.
According to Sacco, there's actually never a good time to eat a meal loaded with sugars and refined carbohydrates. Without the balance of protein and good carbs like fruits and vegetables, your blood sugar will spike and then crash, leaving you hungry and lacking energy again.
Sacco recommends focusing on wholesome sources of protein combined with good carbs at breakfast. Some options include hard-boiled eggs or a handful of nuts for something quick and portable; adding almond butter to oatmeal, or eating an apple with peanut butter. Whole-wheat toast with bacon and tomato slices is actually another great breakfast option, Sacco said. "If you're going to indulge in a carb-heavy meal, it's better to do it at the end of the day, before you sleep, to avoid blood sugar crashes and cravings," she said.