Anyone who has ever eaten an entire bag of chips in one sitting knows firsthand how almost nothing is more destructive to your diet than a simple bowl of salty snacks. In as little as 30 minutes, you can take in more than 1,000 calories from practically nothing but empty carbohydrates. If there’s anything that can make the effects of eating something like that even worse, however, it’s doing so on an empty stomach. When we have less food in our stomach, our bodies are forced to break down all the available carbs almost immediately—which is exactly what happens when you eat something high in carbs without having any other food in your system. Unsurprisingly, this has a pretty significant impact on how your body processes those carbs. When you eat a meal with lower amounts of food earlier in the day (and especially on an empty stomach), your body breaks down and stores excess sugar much more efficiently than if you had just one or two large meals later in the day—which is exactly why eating small meals frequently is such good advice for weight loss.
Do Edibles Work Less on a Full Stomach?
There is some evidence that suggests that edibles may work less effectively on a full stomach. One study found that when participants took a THC-infused chocolate bar on an empty stomach, they felt the effects more strongly than when they took the same chocolate bar after a meal. However, this study was small and only looked at the effects of one type of edible, so more research is needed to confirm these findings.
How Does An Empty Stomach Affect Carb Digestion?
- When we eat something with a lot of carbs, our bodies immediately break down that food into glucose.
- Glucose is the form of sugar our bodies use to power all the processes in our cells.
- After digesting it, glucose is stored as glycogen in our muscles and liver, and as fat in fat cells.
- Our body uses glycogen to power all the processes in our cells. It also gives us energy when we need it, along with helping us move around and digest food.
- Glycogen is also used by your brain and nervous system for energy when they need more than glucose can provide (when you’re exercising or going through intense emotions).
- When we eat a meal with lower amounts of food earlier in the day (and especially on an empty stomach), our bodies break down excess blood sugar into fat more efficiently than if we had eaten just one or two large meals later in the day which is exactly why eating small meals frequently is such good advice for weight loss!
- Most people don’t have enough glycogen stored to process a high amount of carbs at once, so after digesting them, much of what was eaten will be converted into body fat instead of glucose which can make you feel hungry because your body needs more energy from other sources (like muscle glycogen) rather than from excess sugar!
The Problems With Snacking And An Empty Stomach
- You may not feel full up until much later in the day.
- You may eat more than you intended to, especially if you’re craving that chocolate bar!
- If you have a large meal later in the day, you’ll likely find it hard to sleep at night.
- Your body will be running on empty more often and your metabolism will be slower for longer periods of time which can make it harder to lose weight and keep it off long-term!
- Your body’s hormones will also be running on empty: After eating a large meal earlier in the day, your body releases ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (the satiety hormone). Both of these hormones can speed up your metabolism for short periods of time after eating, helping you burn more calories overall but they also start to wear off when you eat again, making it harder to lose weight and keep it off long term.
- If we eat too close together, our bodies can’t use as much insulin for digestion as effectively which means we’ll have less energy from food than if we had eaten one or two smaller meals earlier in the day!
- We may actually put on weight when we snack because our bodies take longer to process food when we snack on something that doesn’t need a lot of chewing (like a piece of fruit) rather than something with lots of carbs (like cake).
- When snacking on something that doesn’t need much chewing, our bodies also have to work harder to digest it which can make us feel tired, irritable, and even a bit nauseous!
- If you snack on something that’s high in fat (like a chocolate bar), you’ll likely consume more calories than if you just ate one or two meals earlier in the day and this can mean that you’ll still be hungry at lunchtime!
- You may not be able to sleep as well at night and may find yourself feeling tired and irritable during the day.
What Happens When You Consume Carbs On An Empty Stomach?
- Your blood sugar will rise more slowly, which means that you’ll feel full up sooner.
- You’ll have higher energy levels.
- You’ll be less likely to overeat later in the day because you won’t be hungry!
- You may be able to go longer between meals and still feel full up—which means you’ll eat fewer calories overall!
- Your body will also use insulin more effectively to manage your blood sugar, which means that your body’s hormones (like insulin) will work more effectively and you’ll be less likely to gain weight, especially around the midsection (where we tend to store fat).
- If you do snack on something high in carbs, your body’s hormones will work better and you’ll burn more calories for a longer period of time after eating than if you had eaten one or two smaller meals earlier in the day!
- When we eat close together, our bodies tend not to use as much insulin for digestion—but this effect is reversed when we eat at different times during the day because our bodies can use different amounts of insulin at different times during the day so it’s important to eat regularly throughout the day!
- We may not find it as hard to sleep at night or feel tired and irritable during the day if we don’t snack on something high in carbs later in the day and this can mean that we’re less likely to gain weight (especially around the midsection) if we eat regularly throughout the day.
- When we snack on something high in carbs, our bodies use more insulin and make more hormones like cortisol (which can lead to weight gain) than if we had just eaten one or two smaller meals earlier in the day and this can mean that you’ll be less likely to gain weight, especially around your midsection!
- Eating a high-carb snack later in the day may also mean that your body has more energy and you’ll feel less fatigued later in the day, which means you could possibly go longer between meals and still feel full up!
When you choose to consume carbohydrates on an empty stomach, your body has no choice but to break down those carbohydrates completely which means that it converts them into fat rather than storing them as glycogen. This means that you’ll actually get less energy out of the food than if you had eaten it with a full stomach and it’s also more likely to lead to weight gain over time. If you want to maximize the effects of eating carrots, try to eat a few bites with some yogurt or whole-grain toast to slow down the process a little bit. If you’re attempting to lose weight, try to avoid eating carbohydrates on an empty stomach. Saving them for a meal will actually give you more energy throughout the day because your body will store them in your muscles and liver rather than converting them into fat.