Chronic fatigue is a problem for over a million Americans, and more often than not, what we put into our bodies is what causes our distress. Aside from lack of sleep, an unhealthy or unbalanced diet causes a range of health problems. More importantly, it can drain our energy, which causes us to drink more coffee or eat more to keep those levels up, which in turn throws us further into the cycle of tiredness.
Many of our favorite foods to snack on during the day may be the answer to our slow demise. Foods loaded with salt and sugar or even caffeinated beverages cause a quick rise in energy followed by a “crash.” Debi Silber, M.S., R.D., and president of Lifestyle Fitness Inc., tells WebMD that sugar gives us energy but also causes us to crash and leaves us looking for more. She says that one tip to cutting back on sugar is bringing low-sugar snacks with you when you need a pick-me-up.
Here’s a list of some foods that are draining your energy. By avoiding these foods, you may find that your energy is thriving, you’re getting better sleep, and your general quality of life has improved.
There are few people who don’t rely on a morning cup of coffee, and tons of folks sip multiple servings a day. Even coffee in the morning and some sort of soda, tea, or other caffeinated beverage in the afternoon can be detrimental to your energy supply. In the same WebMD story, Silber says caffeine can leave us “tired and wired.”
“If we need sleep and we choose caffeine instead, we continue to throw off our natural sleep cycle,” Silber says.
Try tapering down the amount of caffeine you drink or limiting yourself to one serving in the morning to see how it affects your quality of sleep. Our body is meant to regulate our energy supply, but constantly fueling it with fake energy only leaves us more tired each day.
2. Fatty foods
Ever eat a burger and begin dozing off soon after? We’ve all been there. Fatty and greasy foods like burgers, fries, or almost any fast food meal will lead to energy depletion by the end of the day, says The Huffington Post. These foods are tough to digest, which truly sucks the energy out of us in the process. Livestrong notes that red meat is the biggest culprit in this category because of its high fat content.
3. Red wine
Though wine may be a common drink to sip on during lunch or dinner, think again if you have a long day or night ahead. Red grapes are high in melatonin, a natural hormone that facilitates sleep, says PopSugar. Although wine may lull you to sleep, don’t rely on alcohol to get you to bed at night.
4. Muffins, doughnuts, and other sugary breakfasts
Although muffins and doughnuts are among some of the greatest tasting foods there are, forgo these energy-draining nightmares for a successful day, warns The Huffington Post. The next time someone brings in doughnuts or muffins for an office breakfast or meeting snack, keep your willpower in full force. Like it was mentioned before, sugar quickly ramps up your energy supply, and the next moment, depletes it, reminds Wired. Sugary breakfasts include sugary cereal and yogurts, which brings us to our next food.
5. Most yogurt
Yogurt can be one of the healthiest foods on earth: It’s high in protein, low in sugar, and packed with probiotics — that is, if you get the right kind. Yogurt seen on commercials should be avoided. Typically, it’s full of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial fruits, and other pesky chemicals, says Mark’s Daily Apple. Opt for Greek yogurt or any variation of nonfat, plain, low-sugar yogurt.
6. Salty snacks
Snacks like potato chips, or other options like Cheetos or Bugles, are full of unhealthy fats and refined carbs that have zero nutritional value. There is so much sodium packed in these snacks that they cause us to feel lethargic and thirsty, says FitDay. In addition, The Huffington Post reminds us that these salty snacks are full of additives.
White bread is typically the culprit when it comes to losing energy because it’s composed of refined carbohydrates that produce high levels of insulin. According to Health Ambition, insulin “shuttles away the rapidly absorbed sugars you’ve just eaten out of your bloodstream, where they present a danger to your body.” This is the best condition for weight gain because these sugars are then stored as fat. White bread, bagels, and other refined carbs have no nutritional value.