You may be familiar with the best foods for boosting energy levels, but what about the worst? Whether you suffer from excessive fatigue or are just looking to maximize alertness, it’s important to be wary of foods that could put a damper on your energy. So do yourself a favor and read on to discover 5 energy-sucking foods you should avoid.
1. Processed grains
If you’re looking to preserve your energy levels, processed grains are your worst enemy. That includes white bread, pasta, and rice. These unhealthy carbohydrates may give you a quick burst of energy, but the short-term spike in blood sugar and insulin is followed by a slump in energy. This is because processed grains contain lower amounts of fiber and are digested more quickly than whole grains. So, swap them out for healthier options like brown rice, barley, and whole-wheat bread and pasta.
2. Energy drinks
Energy drinks may up your energy levels in the short term, but the effect won’t last. These concoctions are usually high in stimulating ingredients like caffeine and sugar; both of which only get you so far before crashing. When they are consumed in large amounts, they temporarily raise your energy levels before causing a sudden drop that leaves you feeling even more drained.
3. Breakfast cereals
Many breakfast cereals may be marketed as a healthy way to start the day, but most still contain shocking amounts of added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Breakfast foods like muffins, juices, granola bars, and flavored yogurts are also easy ways to drain your energy. Check the ingredient list before you buy, and go for cereals that have at least four to five grams of fiber per serving, and no added sugars. Or, opt for healthier alternatives like overnight oats, fresh, fruit, and chia seed pudding.
4. Fast foods
Anything fried or fast can take a serious toll on your energy. Loaded with fat and low in fiber, these foods slow down the process of digestion and can delay the absorption of nutrients into the body. Plus, they rarely contain any of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need to thrive. They are also likely to leave you feeling bloated, sluggish, and slow. Avoid falling into the fast-food trap and prep healthy meals and snacks ahead of time to be safe.
The relaxing effect of alcohol can make it easier for some people to fall asleep, but it’s not as positive as it sounds. In reality, overconsumption of alcohol can impoverish the quality, depth, and duration of your sleep. It reduces the amount of time spent in REM sleep, which is the essential phase of your sleep responsible for consolidating memory and restoring brain function. As a result, you’re likely to wake up feeling less rested in the morning. However, low or moderate use of alcohol will leave your sleep intact, so just be wary of overindulging.