Pasta “forbidden” in the evening? Well, yes because – you know – carbohydrates consumed at dinner are fattening..For the experts of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, on the other hand, it is a mistake. It does not count in fact at what time of the day you eat carbohydrates, but rather how many are introduced daily and how many total calories make up our diet. 

For a balanced diet, it is important not to eat bread, pasta and rice more than necessary – experts remind – and be careful to consume them in portions appropriate to one’s physical condition, age and physical activity. It is good, moreover, to have precautions to avoid elaborate condiments for the first courses, therefore richer in fats and difficult to digest. However, the belief that carbohydrates should be excluded from the diet, or that it is better to take them during the day and not in the evening, is without foundation, they emphasise.

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What is important is not to consume too abundant meals late in the evening – it is the indication of the specialists – above all rich in fats since the excess energy acquired before going to bed is more difficult to burn and is more likely to be accumulated under form of body fat.

The common opinion, widespread especially among sportsmen, of not taking carbohydrates for dinner stems mainly from the mistaken belief that if taken before going to sleep and in the absence of large physical activities, these increase the chances of being turned into fat. It should be emphasised that energy consumption during sleep is not so different from that of a sedentary morning activity, such as sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

Indeed, for those who have difficulty sleeping at night, a carbohydrate dinner seems to favour nocturnal rest, stimulating the production of serotonin (the wellness hormone) useful for going to sleep more relaxed and full. In reality, carbohydrates do not necessarily fatten up and this does not change according to the moment in which they are consumed. One gets fatter mainly due to an excess of calories introduced and for a wrong distribution of nutrients with respect to the body’s needs. If you eat more than necessary, the increase in body fat is independent of the composition of the diet: in fact, the total calories count.


The amount of carbohydrates to be taken each day varies from person to person; generally, it should amount to around 45-60% of the daily calories consumed and it is certainly important not to exceed. However, more than paying attention to the ‘when’ we eat it is important to think about the ‘how’ and ‘what’ we eat, being careful to follow a correct and balanced diet.

Another fake food news piece disassembled by ISS experts is that water should not be drunk during meals. With this behaviour one would like to obtain a double advantage: digest more easily and lose weight more quickly. But it is not true, and it is indeed a bad habit, they warn. Drinking a fair amount of water (not more than 600-700 ml) during the meal, in fact, serves to improve the consistency of the ingested foods thus playing an important role in digestion.

Only if you drink an excessive quantity of water, the gastric juices are diluted and therefore the times of digestion could be slightly lengthened. Furthermore, the habit of not drinking during meals, but of drinking only before, does not in itself have any slimming effect – the experts explain – but it simply favors the sense of satiety, leading to a reduction in the quantity of food in the meal.

Water plays an indispensable and vital role in almost all the biological processes of our body, for this reason it is good to remember some fundamental rules such as drinking frequently and little by little at least 1.5 liters of water a day, except for different medical prescriptions; pay attention to children who are more exposed to the risk of dehydration and to elderly people who often, despite not feeling the urge to drink, must strive to do so frequently and even outside meals.