Feeling tired? These unexpected foods and drinks may be to blame
These 14 Foods and Drinks are Killing Your Energy
The food and drink that you put into your body plays a big role in your energy level, and some unexpected culprits can play a role in making you tired.
We’re not accusing you of hitting the bottle at work, but even a glass of wine the night before can be enough to tire you out the next day. And while a drink or two might make you tired, don’t expect to get a great night’s sleep after consuming a lot of it: Your body processing the alcohol will prevent it from going into a deep sleep, and lack of quality sleep certainly won’t help your energy level the next day.
Breads made with refined flour contain a lot of carbohydrates but not much in the way of fiber, which helps to convert those carbs into a steady stream of energy. So, instead of feeling energized, you crash. Bagels, which tend to be big, dense, bready, and made with refined flour, are one of the worst things to eat for breakfast if you want to have a productive day.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but caffeine can actually tire you out. As opposed to foods that actually give our bodies energy on a molecular level, caffeine is just a chemical stimulant; it makes us feel alert, but once that buzz wears off we’re right back where we started, or even more tired because of the (real) energy we used up during the caffeine high.
A big bowl of cereal is loaded with carbohydrates, which will cause you to crash. And the news is even worse if the cereal is sugary: Sugar releases insulin in your body, and insulin in turn releases the amino acid tryptophan in the brain, which puts you to sleep.
Cherries (and cherry juice) are very high in naturally occurring melatonin, so you might want to save them for a nighttime snack.
If you eat sausages for breakfast or a burger for lunch, your body will devote its energy to breaking it down, rather than powering your afternoon. Breaking down fatty meats requires a lot of energy, so stick with lean protein or salmon, which is high in focus-improving omega-3 fatty acids.
Fruit juice, even all-natural fruit juice, is high in sugar but contains none of the fiber that’s found in whole fruit. If you drink an eight-ounce glass of juice in one fell swoop, it’ll cause an instant insulin spike that will have you crashing in no time.
Muffins and Pastries
Like sugary cereals, muffins, doughnuts, and other pastries are an unplanned nap in the making. They’re high in both sugar and refined flour and low in any real nutrients, so, after your blood sugar and insulin levels spike, you’ll experience a carb crash.
Oatmeal will give you a burst of energy to start your day, but it’s also loaded with carbohydrates (a big bowl of oatmeal can contain as many carbs as a bagel), and, if you add lots of sugar (or honey, which is high in sleep-inducing glucose), it can lead to to a serious afternoon crash.
Traditional, high-quality yogurt increases the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract, but the majority of commercial yogurts found in your local supermarket have been pasteurized, which kills many of the beneficial enzymes and nutrients. Flavored yogurts are also loaded with sugar; many yogurts have the same amount of sugar as candy.
Potato chips are just deep-fried, salted starch, and will do nothing but weigh you down and tire you out.
Marathon runners might benefit from a bowl of pasta for a quick pre-race energy boost, but the big dose of carbohydrates in pasta makes for a lunch that will put you right to sleep.
Huge quantities of bread, processed meat, and greasy condiments aren’t a recipe for a healthy lunch. The carbs in the loaf of bread will give you a carb crash, and lunch meat won’t do much to boost your energy.
Regular sodas are absolutely loaded with sugar, which gives you an immediate blood sugar spike. This translates to a quick energy burst with a huge crash shortly afterward. Sadly, any caffeine kick will have worn off by then as well.