In Part 1 Vilma Brunhuber introduced us in some detail to the reasons why some foods and drinks flatten us out, why some pick us up and why correct portions are vital to sustaining our energy.

Here she concludes this fascinating feature about diet to increase energy.

#5. Quit Energy Drinks

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The body will build a tolerance to alcohol and caffeine if they are used regularly. This means the more caffeine you use to stay up, the more caffeine you need to get the same result over time.

Some energy drinks contain the equivalent caffeine of 14 cans of Coca-Cola [6,7].

While caffeine and alcohol have been well studied, energy drinks are often loaded with new herbal stimulants that have relatively unknown side effects. What’s more important is that these already potent herbal extracts are often in combination with a cocktail of other energy boosting herbs, vitamins and amino acids.

Most of these energy stimulating ingredients do not exist in nature – especially not in combination with one another. They are extracts of plants, and are therefore much more potent than the plant itself.

Repeatedly using stimulants to get energy will drive the adrenals into debt, and soon the body begins to break down from stress.

#6. Avoid Late Meals

Having your last meal at 6pm and making it a light one may have you waking up in the morning with more energy than you are used to.

If you are on a weight loss plan, skipping supper altogether a couple times a week may also boost energy levels.

If you decide to try that, however, make sure that you have a large, balanced and nourishing lunch that day, to get you through the night without hunger pangs.

diet to increase energyP2_2

#7. Hydration

Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and less oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.

Some experts estimate that up to 80 percent of the population is chronically dehydrated, so most of the time we are dehydrated not hungry.

When you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Have a glass of pure room temperature or warm water with lemon for best hydration every hour.

For each cup of coffee or tea you drink, have an extra glass of water because they have tendency to dehydrate body.

#8. Limit Sugar and Fructose

Virtually every cell in the body can use glucose for energy. In contrast, only liver cells break down fructose. What happens to fructose inside liver cells is complicated. One of the end products is triglyceride, a form of fat, and it can lead to fatty liver, an unhealthy state [8].

Uric acid and free radicals are also formed. Consuming fructose and other types of sugar appear to raise energy levels in proportion to the amount consumed.

In fact, consuming sugar in large enough amounts can result in a burst of energy known as a sugar high that ends in a sharp drop in energy levels, termed a “crash.”

That means you won’t sustain a stable energy because once it “crashes”, you will crave more sugar to keep you going.

Keep your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, according to Dr. Richard Johnson. For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less, as you’re virtually guaranteed to consume “hidden” sources of fructose if you drink beverages other than water and eat processed food.

#9. Keep To 3 Meals a Day and No Snacking

When you eat every 2-3 hours, your body becomes dependent on a constant supply of food. The body will lose its built-in ability to tolerate missing a meal, and the blood sugar will crash and often crash hard that means your energy will crash too [9,10].

If you eat only three meals a day, (even high-glycemic ones), your insulin levels have time to even out, says Victor Zammit, head of cell biochemistry at Hannah Research Institute in Ayr, Scotland. Conversely, if you eat high glycemic foods between meals, your insulin levels stay dangerously high.

Fatigue breaks us down physically and emotionally and wreaks havoc on the immune system, making us more susceptible to illness, depression, and even chronic conditions like heart disease. Moreover, proper nutrition and the timing of what you eat can do wonders to make you feel alert and powerful.

Your diet is key for boosting energy levels and fat-burning.

References:

[6] Eurekalert Septamber 24, 2008

[7] Drug and Alcohol Dependance September 20,2008 [Epub]

[8] Harvard Health Letter article

[9] Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. 1997 Apr;77 Suppl 1:S57-70.

[10] The Journal of Nutrition  2010 as doi: 10.3945/jn.109.114330.

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