8 Foods That Sneakily Drain Your Energy Levels

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021

If you’re feeling sluggish, these foods might be to blame.

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Breakfast cereal

You know to avoid doughnuts at breakfast, but a bowl of cereal can contain just as much—or more—sugar. Sugar lifts your energy quickly, but that boost won’t last long, and your blood sugar level will spike fast. When it does, the parts of your brain that keep you alert shut down, making you even groggier. Here’s how “healthy cereal” can make you fat.

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Energy drinks

Energy drinks are designed to work short term, loading your body with caffeine and sugar. But once those start to wear off, your blood sugar will dip even lower than before, leaving you sluggish. Plus, they can dehydrate you, adding to your tiredness even more.

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Red wine

A glass of red wine might seem like a good way to relax before bed, but it can actually disrupt your sleep and leave you even more tired in the morning. You might fall asleep quickly, but as the alcohol is metabolized, your adrenaline will surge, making you more likely to wake up in the middle of the night. Cut yourself off from alcohol three or four hours before going to bed for a more restful night. Here are 17 little ways to cut back on drinking alcohol.

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White bread

White breads and rice have a high glycemic index without a lot of fiber, meaning your body breaks them down easily, using up their energy quickly. Whole grains, on the other hand, take longer to be absorbed, keeping the energy boost going longer. These are healthy carbs nutritionists want you to be eating.

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Fried food

Fatty, deep-fried foods take a while for your body to digest. Your body needs to work hard to direct blood from your extremities to your internal organs, leaving you with less energy for the next six to eight hours.

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In moderation, coffee can do great things for your body. But if you start relying on caffeine instead of sleep for energy, or sipping coffee too close to bedtime, you might be keeping yourself from a good night’s rest. These are signs you’re drinking too much coffee.

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Low-calorie meals

If you restrict calories too much, your body will go into “starvation mode,” slowing down your metabolism and keeping your energy levels low. Eat a sufficient amount at regular intervals, and don’t skip meals or let your hunger get too intense before you eat.

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Low-iron foods

Iron helps you turn calories into energy, so when it’s missing from your diet you could start to feel drained. Meat is a large source of iron, but lentils, edamame, and nuts are good options too. These are sneaky signs of a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Sources: bustle.com, health.com, popsugar.com, webmd.com

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest