QUESTION: Is it Best to Eat Complex Carbs in the Evening?

Hi Caroline,

In the Healthy Hormone Diet and the most recent NTA audio recording, it mentions to "save complex carbs for the evening meal". I'm assuming the reasoning is to prevent hypoglycemia during the night? Is this advice specifically for those with blood sugar dysregulation or for everyone? It seems to go against popular belief about eating complex carbs during the day to burn them off.

Appreciate your input.


Bernadette Abraham

ANSWERED By Caroline Barringer, NTP, CHFS, BRP, CGP

Hi Bernadette,

The "complex carb in the evening" recommendation is exactly for what you described: to prevent blood sugar dips (hypoglycemia) during sleep at night. This is often helpful for people who experience hunger upon waking, and who wake up during the night (thinking it's just because they need to go to the bathroom). Some will have hunger pangs, while others will not, but complex carbs later in the evening can be a tool in an NTP's toolbox to help Band-Aid this symptom for a client while working on the overall Foundations.

This approach will not be appropriate for everyone, but a clue to take in during the Initial Interview are the questions about sleep and what time a person wakes up during the night. Eating complex carbohydrates at night will be especially useful for those who are hungry and can't get back to sleep unless they eat something.

If we eat a reasonable serving of carbs in the evening, it doesn't mean we can't utilize them appropriately. We should be using fat as a main fuel for long burning energy, but the body still needs healthy carbs in the correct ratio to protein and fat for the body to have access to quick energy if needed (stored glycogen, for example). The complex carb included at the evening meal is not intended for burning off, but is to ensure that the client will have optimal glycogen stores to use while sleeping so that the adrenals are NOT fully engaged (client's eyes stay shut). We just want to be sure that our clients don't overeat a carb in the evening because that will trigger too much of a spike and then the dip will come later - possibly while they're sleeping.

With Support,


About the Instructor

caroline.pngCaroline Barringer, NTP, CHFS, BRP, CGP is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Master Certified Healing Foods Specialist, Birth
Renaissance Practitioner, Certified GAPS™ Practitioner, author, international lecturer, Weston A. Price Chapter Leader in New York,
former CEO of Immunitrition, Inc.®, and current Founder and CEO of Freeway Foodies, Inc.®. She is also the creator of the “Certified Healing Foods Specialist (CHFS)” Training Program, a food intensive course taught nationwide that focuses on properly prepared, whole food cuisine and probiotic nutrition.

Read Her Full Bio Here.