Having a proper breakfast and lunch gives the right amount of energy for us to get through the day. Yet, why do we often feel drained of energy halfway through the day? Actually, there are some foods that cause fatigue and loss of energy – foods we should definitely avoid if we want to stay active all day long.
Modern life is so full of responsibilities demanding a whole lot of energy and vigor. Food is the main source of energy and we get this fuel up at least thrice a day. Some of the foods we eat, instead of recharging our energy, steal it away from us. This is the reason why after breakfast we need a coffee so bad, and after lunch all we want is to take a nap.
Here is a list of foods to avoid at breakfast and lunch, if we want to stay active and preserve our energy for the rest of the day.
6 foods that cause fatigue and loss of energy
#1 – Sweet breakfast
Biscuits, croissants, sugared yoghurt, breakfast cereals, muffins and brioches are advertised as fit for breakfast. At first sight it seems that is the case, as we are used to perceiving sugar as a source of energy.
Eating sweet foods on an empty stomach makes pancreas secrete insulin in order to lower blood sugar, and this is the reason why we feel fatigued rather than energetic.
One more side effect of the increase in blood sugar is getting hungry. It is no surprise that one hour after a sweet breakfast we need to have a snack. The main downside to it is the risk of diabetes.
In order to prevent energy loss and start the day in a healthier way, replace your sweet breakfast with whole cereals and sugar-free muesli, oatmeal, eggs, walnuts and shell fruit.
#2 – White flour
Bread from refined white flour (bread rolls, toasts and sandwiches), or pizza at lunch – are all foods having the same effect as sugar-rich foods – they stimulate pancreas and insulin production. Fatigue is likely to get triggered right after eating such a meal.
What is more, foods from white flour have a low nutritional value and may cause a weight gain. If we want to be active, energetic and healthy, eating such foods is useless and also detrimental in the long term.
In 2015 the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition published a research study that showed a link between eating large amounts of white bread and depression.
#3 – Energy drinks
Lots of people love and drink energy drinks. The main ingredients of these drinks are L-Carnitine, taurine, caffeine and sugar. L-Carnitine and taurine are important amino acids for metabolic processes and they are present in internal tissues and muscles, but with no effect on energy metabolism. Taurine boosts the caffeine effect which, along with sugar, gives temporary and short-term energy, followed by fatigue and headache, which leads to the need to have another energy drink.
Having large amounts of these drinks increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
One single energy drink on average contains 13 spoonfuls of sugar, whereas the limit enforced by WHO (World Health Organization) is 6 spoonfuls a day.
#4 – Coffee
In our body caffeine triggers the same reaction as the reaction to an imminent danger. When caffeine kicks in, it stimulates the adrenals to secrete adrenalin and cortisol. The effect is a feeling of energy, which fades away when caffeine wears off.
The main issue about coffee is it is addictive. If we drink more and more cups of coffee every day, not only do we get more addicted to caffeine, but as a result our adrenals won’t react the same way anymore.
#5 – Smoked, salted and preservative rich foods
Highly processed foods end up losing most of their nutrients. This is the case of fast-food, processed and ready meals so many people eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner, either because of lack of time or convenience. These foods are rich in fats and additives, which require much effort and energy for our body to digest. These are the typical foods that drain the energy from our body and that we’d better avoid.
#6 – Red meat
There is so much research going on trying to prove the benefits and actual risks of eating red meat. On the one hand it is rich in valuable nutrients, on the other hand eating red meat is linked to serious side effects.
It takes lots of energy and time to digest red meat, this is the reason why after eating a steak at lunch we get drowsy.
It is important to take into account the kind of process foods undergo. Clearly, if we eat sausage and smoked foods, our body would need a lot more energy to digest them, getting little nutrients and feeling drained and fatigued.
If you find it difficult to give up on meat, you’d better choose unprocessed foods, or eat meat on weekends, in order to avoid an energy loss when you need to be active the most.
Usually the foods you find more difficult to digest, will cause you an energy loss and fatigue, especially if you are sensitive or intolerant to certain foods or ingredients (such as lactose or gluten for example).
It is definitely true: we are what we eat. Food affects our productivity, mood and quality of life. Have you noticed what foods make you feel fatigued and energy drained? Please leave me a comment. Thank you and stay healthy!