So, you and a friend are dieting together, and losing weight – congratulations! How come they’re brimming with energy, and you’re exhausted all day? Well, the foods you’re eating could be to blame! Here are the facts, courtesy of Bonnie Taub-Dix, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association – and AOL Health:
- We’ve talked about tryptophan, the amino acid in turkey that puts people to sleep after Thanksgiving dinner. Well guess what. There’s tryptophan in milk, corn, brown rice, beans and peas, too! Of course, tryptophan doesn’t put everyone to sleep – but if your body cries for an afternoon nap, see if eliminating them can help.
- Don’t fall for the old idea that sugar will wake you up and boost your energy. According to the American Dietetic Association, sugary foods do increase your energy briefly, but your body metabolizes sugar fairly fast, so a “crash” will follow quickly.
- What else can exhaust your energy? High fat foods. They’re much harder for your body to digest than low-fat foods. So, instead of energy being quickly available to your brain and muscles, your get-up-and-go gets stuck in your gut. The fix: Avoid processed foods and red meat, and eat more fresh produce and fish.
- Another energy-sapper: Alcohol. A study in the Harvard Health Publication shows that even one drink can make you drowsy, especially if you haven’t had enough sleep. In fact, alcohol’s to blame for 10 percent of chronic insomnia cases. Especially if you drink late in the day. Once the alcohol is metabolized by your body, it acts like a stimulant and can keep you awake for several hours – making you sleepy the next day.
- The final bit of advice may seem obvious, but here it is: don’t skip meals! Missing a meal gives your body less energy to burn and can lead to mindless snacking, and overeating – which slows down your digestion, and zaps even more energy. The fix: Eat several small meals a day – instead of two or three big ones – to keep your energy levels steady.