That is because carbs can be tricky to manage and a definitive answer depends on many individual factors.
However, as long as you are regularly pumping iron or do whatever it is you do to increase your heart rate – Playboy magazines or online shopping for Manolo Blahniks does not count – and not going overboard in the calorie department, you should not be overly concerned with an exact number of carbs.
Yes, there is a “but” coming. But if you eat carbs by themselves, you’re asking for trouble. Carbs consumed alone, without an accompanying protein source, rapidly digest into glucose.
This triggers a rise in insulin, stoking the appetite and slowing the fat-burning process. Research shows that protein helps curb that rapid conversion, so it should accompany carbs at all of your meals.
When you sleep, you burn fewer calories (unless you are doing a good amount of “cardio” at midnight), so eating carbs before bedtime can cause a fat-storage increase. Better go to bed with just a small protein meal.
And unless you know how to get a hold of Sly, do not eat carbs within three hours before bedtime. Snoozing on a stomach full of carbs can also interfere with the release of growth hormone (GH), an important factor in building muscle and burning fat. [sources: American Dietetic Association, M&F]