Bodybuilding, fitness, and sports activity are plagued with a seemingly endless supply of myths and misinformation. The ascension of the Internet as the primary source of information has only added to the confusion related to diet, exercise, and health. One reason for this is that there is no minimum knowledge required to post anything on the Internet. Anyone can write whatever they want without having to undergo the burden of actually proving their contentions. This freestyle delivery of information tends to perpetuate the confusion that many people express concerning various aspects of nutrition, exercise science, medical topics, and similar information. Indeed, one of the primary purposes of Applied Metabolics is to provide evidence-based, no-nonsense practical information that will ease that level of mass confusion and misunderstanding.
One such topic that often confuses people involved in exercise or weight-loss regimes relates to eating meals later in the day. Competitive bodybuilders and physique athletes are often advised to limit their meals to daytime hours. In many cases, meals consumed after 6 p.m are strictly proscribed. From a simplistic point of view, such prohibitions make perfect sense. After all, in most cases, people tend to be far less active at night compared to daytime hours. As such, calories that aren't "burned" or oxidized through physical activity are more prone to be stored as body fat. Or the ingested calories may blunt fat-loss efforts. Others point out that growth hormone, which reaches peak levels in the early stages of sleep, about 90 minutes after falling asleep, is affected by late-night meals. It is true that growth hormone (GH) levels do tend to be blunted by the presence of either fat or glucose in the blood. Few realize that GH serves as a counterregulatory hormone to insulin release in that it helps to boost blood glucose levels lowered by insulin. And late-night meals always elevate insulin release, even if carbohydrates (the most potent insulin-releasing nutrient) are not consumed. The reason for this is that certain amino acids contained in protein, including leucine, are themselves potent stimulators of insulin release. On the other hand, some of these same amino acids are also GH-releasers. But no amino acids consumed right before sleep will work to boost GH release if levels of fat and glucose in the blood are relatively high. As such, eating a meal right before going to sleep would blunt the normal major release of GH that occurs in the early stages of sleep. The significance of all this is that GH is known to promote fat mobilization from fat cells, and blunting GH release may hinder fat-loss efforts. Much of this, however, is moot since if you want a GH release from amino acids, such as arginine or ornithine, you must . . .