If you suffer from tiredness and an ongoing lack of energy, the root cause could be far simpler than you might imagine. Energy comes from our diet and, not surprisingly, the main causes of low energy involve what we eat and drink.
Lack of Energy from Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine is a well-known stimulant, that’s why we take it when we need to concentrate or to stay awake while studying. Stimulants, as their name suggests, stimulate the body to release energy. However, each energy high is followed by an energy low which usually prompts us to pour another strong cup of coffee. This ongoing cycle swings from a short-term energy spurt to a complete lack of energy, making us more and more caffeine dependent.
This cycle builds up to cause Adrenal Fatigue when your adrenals finally tire of responding to the stimulants which trigger the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. After constantly reacting to caffeine, the adrenals are weakened and become less able to respond.
A study showed this clearly when participants were given 300 mg, 600 mg of caffeine or a placebo daily for five days. On the sixth day, the participants were given caffeine and then measured for their cortisol response. Those who had previously been given caffeine saw no cortisol response while those who had taken the placebo saw a large spike in cortisol production.
The only way to treat the problem and cure your lack of energy is to avoid caffeine altogether.
Too Many Comfort Carbs
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for all the body’s functions. Understanding how carbs work helps us appreciate why eating too much sugar and simple carbohydrates can actually cause fatigue and lack of energy.
When we eat simple carbs such as a sweet snack, the body converts it easily into glucose for instant energy. However, if we eat complex carbs such as brown rice, beans and whole grains, the breakdown into energy is a long, slow process.
In the same way as caffeine can trigger a spike of energy followed by a crash of fatigue, too many simple carbs may actually cause a lack of energy after a sugar spike. Try switching to snacks containing complex carbs such as cereal bars, nuts and fruit for a steady energy supply throughout the day.
Lack of Energy from Too Little Protein
Although protein is not a primary source of energy, it is responsible for producing enzymes to digest food and activate metabolism. If caffeine and sugar are not the culprits for your lack of energy, try eating more protein. You’ll feel fuller for longer, and your body should be better able to convert food into a steady stream of long-lasting energy.
If you continue to suffer from fatigue, you should consult your doctor and check whether your lack of energy is a medical rather than a dietary problem.