Common Ingredients That Zap Energy
You see it everywhere: claims that a food or a drink will give you instant energy for hours. But when you flip the package around to look at the ingredients (and you absolutely should do that!), you see a mess of things that you’re really not sure what they do. All said and done, the packaging says it’s going to give you energy, and you go ahead and give it a shot. Two hours later, you’re struggling to stay awake and reach for another.
The madness has got to stop.
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Here are common food ingredients that will kill your energy.
Sugar might provide a short burst of energy, but that quickly comes crashing down. In addition to losing energy, your brain will feel pretty zapped as well, making you sleepy. Sugar is found in some of the more obvious foods like cereal, candy, and syrups. But it’s also a bit sneaky—fat-free foods, which are marketed as healthier than their fatty counterparts, are typically full of sugar to make up for the taste. And sugar can come in the form of dextrose, sucrose, and maltose (and a bunch of other -ose words) as well as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sorbitol, and mannitol, to name a few.
Caffeine is another substance that will give you a quick burst of energy. However, once the system has metabolized the caffeine, it’s possible you could experience a crash and burn. And sometimes, caffeine can stay in your system for hours and hours, making you stay up too late and be even more tired the next day. Because caffeine is a diuretic, it will dehydrate you if you’re not drinking enough water, and that can also make you groggy.
Let’s talk about energy drinks in more depth. Energy drinks are designed to give you a quick burst of energy, and can be very effective, the ingredients that make them work are detrimental to energy and your health in the long run. Some of them have several tablespoons of sugar in them, which is about half of your daily allowance. They also contain massive amounts of caffeine. There are some brands that add various herbs and vitamins, some of which might be helpful, but others that aren’t monitored for safe dosages.
The issue with fried foods isn’t so much the fats that are in them. In fact, healthy fats can do a lot to increase energy! However, the high temperatures the foods are fried that can break down the nutrients in the meats and veggies. Additionally, fried foods tend to digest much more slowly, which means your metabolism is running at a reduced rate and your energy will suffer.
Processed foods are another type of food that will drain your energy. The emphasis on these foods is creating something that is identical to the others, as well as flavor. When foods are processed, they’re broken down to the point that much of the nutritional value is taken away. Artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives are added back in. Processed foods are designed to be quick and easy and delicious, but don’t have much when it comes to keeping your body fueled for the long haul.
You probably already know that alcohol slows your system down, causing you to get sleepy. But when you reach for cocktails and mixed drinks, you’re also throwing more sugar and other ingredients into the mix. Alcohol, like caffeine, is dehydrating, so it’s a double whammy. And the sugar will cause a crash that only exacerbates the effects of the alcohol.
Substituting these foods and ingredients with healthier alternatives, of course, will have the opposite effect the foods cause. Drinking water instead of coffee, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages will give you more energy. Reaching for a caffeine-free energy drink like SPORTea will give you the fuel you need, as well as a nutritional punch!
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