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Carbohydrates myth busted: carbs at night okay

Potato Product Group of Horticulture New Zealand

Media Release
4 October 2006

Carbohydrates myth busted: eating carbs at night okay

Eating carbohydrates, including potatoes, at night will not make you put on weight, says New Zealand nutritionist and dietitian Jeni Pearce.

Speaking today at the first ICHPER-SD Oceania Congress in Wellington, Ms Pearce said a person’s total energy intake over 24 hours should be the focus, not one meal or the time of day they eat.

“It is a simple equation: energy in and energy out. If you are eating more energy than you’ve expended during the day, then you will put on weight regardless of how many carbohydrates you have or have not eaten,” said Ms Pearce.

For example, a person who has performed some moderate exercise during the day can eat a slice of potato frittata with salad for lunch and enjoy a modest serving of mashed potatoes with their dinner.

“If people want to lose weight, they need to restrict their total energy intake by cutting back on added sugars and fat rather than the more nutritional carbohydrates.”

Ms Pearce said carbohydrates, such as potatoes, were an essential part of our diet, providing complex carbohydrates to fuel our brains and bodies, and giving us the energy we need for a busy lifestyle and other essential nutrients such as fibre and antioxidants.

“It is also important to eat a wide variety of foods, including a range of carbohydrates like potatoes, as no one food contains every nutrient we need,” she said.

High carbohydrate foods, such as potatoes, are especially important for athletes while training, to refuel muscle glycogen stores.

“Potatoes are particularly helpful in the build-up to an event, and post-event because they are easy to eat, economical and the carbohydrate they contain can be stored as fuel for use during the event and to refuel stores depleted after activity,” said Ms Pearce.

Melissa Moon, double world mountain running champion, says potatoes are an important part of her training regime, providing her with the energy she needs to fuel her body.

While training, sixty percent of Melissa’s diet is from carbohydrates – and primarily potatoes. Melissa will often eat a cold potato while warming up, followed by a hot stuffed potato after her training session.


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