You’ve had 8 hours of sleep, went jogging in the morning, but you still feel exhausted and all you want to do is crawl back into bed. You might ask yourself, why am I feeling so tired? Well, all of your efforts may go to waste if you do not have a healthy diet! Eating well is key to feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day every morning. Here are 5 ways that your eating habits could be causing your lack of energy.
Skipping breakfast could lower your energy levels
It might be tempting to swap breakfast for 30 more minutes of lying in bed, but this could compromise your energy levels during the day! One study which surveyed medical students on their levels of fatigue and lifestyle factors found that there was a positive correlation between skipping breakfast and prevalence of fatigue, independent of other factors such as sleeping hours. Basically, you will be more energised through the day if you eat a balanced breakfast rather than if you woke up 10 minutes before you head out the door!
Eating junk food can cause a sugar crash
It’s common knowledge that junk food is just not good for the body. But did you know that junk food can also cause huge drops in energy, even if they do not seem to contain much sugar? Looking at the glycemic index (GI) can tell you which foods you should be incorporating into your diet and which you should avoid. The GI is a ranking of carbohydrates that is determined by the extent to which they raise your blood sugar levels after eating. Many types of junk food, such as hamburgers, have high GI, which means that sugar will be absorbed into your blood stream very quickly. This results in a high blood sugar spike, followed by a sugar crash, making you feel lethargic and tired.
Coffee could alter your gut microbiome
One cup of coffee in the morning will not cause drastic effects to your health, but if you are reaching for a coffee every few hours during the day, you might want to keep your caffeine intake in check. The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant which can help you feel more alert for a limited amount of time, but if you are becoming too reliant on coffee for that burst of energy, it’s possible that you might experience caffeine withdrawal when the effects wear off. This can leave you with headaches, drowsiness, and loss of concentration, leading to a vicious cycle of coffee consumption. Furthermore, a study has found that chronic coffee consumption could alter the gut microbiome, which is essential for keeping the immune system up and running!
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies may leave you fatigued
In a busy modern life, it is often difficult to plan and prepare a healthy, balanced diet filled with the right amount of all the nutrients that our body requires. It is so tempting to order a Chinese takeaway collapsed on the sofa after coming home from work! However, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to various negative effects, including fatigue, low mood, and weak immune system. Kelly Brogan, a prominent psychiatrist in the functional medicine field, suggests that intake of B12, magnesium, and zinc is particularly important for mood and energy regulation, and so these deficiencies may be causing your low energy.
Food intolerances and fatigue
An increasing number of people are being diagnosed with food intolerances, namely gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance can cause various side effects such as fatigue, tiredness, diarrhoea, and weight loss. Gluten is found in many foods such as wheat, barley, and processed foods (e.g. gravy granules, packet soups). If you often feel tired after eating, you might have a food intolerance!
So what can you do about it?
Improving all five aspects listed above may sound like a daunting task, but not to worry! The RYH plan, which is a 4-week online course complete with recipes and shopping lists for three meals each day, tackles all the problems mentioned above and more. Following the course would enable you to eat a healthy but easy-to-make breakfast, cut out high GI foods and coffee, replenish your body with vital nutrients, with an option to go gluten-free! If you are tired of being tired all the time, why not try out the RYH plan?
 Tanaka, M., Mizuno, K., Fukuda, S., Shigihara, Y., & Watanabe, Y., (2008). Relationships between dietary habits and the prevalence of fatigue in medical students. Nutrition, 24(10), 985-989.  http://www.diogenes-eu.org/GI-Database/Default.htm  Cowan, T.E., Palmnas, M., Ardell, K., Yang, J. J., Reimer, R., Vogel, H., & Shearer, J., (2013). Chronic coffee consumption alters gut microbiome: potential mechanism to explain the protective effects of coffee on type 2 diabetes? Faseb J. 27:951.1.  https://kellybroganmd.com. Kelly Brogan.  Czaja-Bulsa G, (2015). Non coeliac gluten sensitivity – A new disease with gluten intolerance. Clin Nutr, 34(2), 189-194.  Woodward J., (2015). Coeliac disease. Medicine (Baltimore), 43(4), 234-238.