1. White Bread, Pasta and Rice
Grains are rich in carbs, which provide the body with a good source of energy. Processed grains such as those found in white bread, white pasta and white rice may actually cause more harm than good when it comes to your energy levels.
That’s partly because the fiber-containing outer layer of the grain, known as the bran, is removed during processing. Because of this, processed grains contain lower levels of fiber and tend to be digested and absorbed more quickly than whole grains. For this reason, a meal or snack rich in processed grains generally creates a quick rise in blood sugar and insulin levels, followed by a drop in energy.
Processed grains are found in foods such as white bread, white pasta and white rice. They contain fewer nutrients and may spike blood sugar levels, both of which can drain your energy levels.
2. Energy Drinks
There’s no denying that energy drinks can provide you with a short-term energy boost. In fact, several studies show that energy drinks may boost concentration and memory by about 24%, in addition to reducing sleepiness.
Energy drink manufacturers include a cocktail of stimulating ingredients in their formulations. However, researchers attribute most energy-boosting effects to the sugar and caffeine these drinks contain.
When it comes to sugar, many energy drinks contain ridiculously high amounts — sometimes as much as 10 teaspoons (52 grams) per container. Consuming large quantities of added sugars can cause your energy to spike, then drop sharply, potentially causing you to feel more tired than you did before consuming the drink.
Energy drinks often contain significantly more caffeine than the same quantity of coffee. For instance, the brand 5-Hour Energy contains 200 mg of caffeine per 1.93 ounces (57 ml). This is about four times as much caffeine as you’d find in the same quantity of coffee.
This can cause some energy drink consumers to exceed the recommended daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine, which can cause jitteriness, anxiety and heart palpitations. It can also worsen panic attacks.
Energy drinks can provide a short-term boost in energy levels. However, their high sugar and caffeine content can reduce the duration and quality of your sleep and cause your energy levels to crash, leaving you feeling drained.
3. Fried and Fast Foods
Fried and fast foods are generally high in fat and low in fiber, two factors that can slow down your digestion. Slower digestion can reduce the speed at which energy-boosting nutrients enter the body, delaying the increase in energy you might generally expect following a meal.
Moreover, fried and fast foods tend to be low in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. Nutrient-rich foods help boost and maintain your energy levels, but eating fried and fast foods too frequently can displace these from your diet.
Fried and fast foods are often low in nutrients, high in fat and low in fiber. They can slow down your digestion and displace energy-boosting nutrients from your diet, potentially draining your energy levels over the long term.