Low energy is an enemy of many while at work. To combat it, people drink coffee and energy drinks or indulge in sugary snacks. They’d experience a burst of energy as a result, causing dependence on those substances.
While caffeine and sugar indeed induce a lift, they’re not the real solutions to fatigue or low energy. They don’t resolve the root cause, such as lack of sleep, hunger, or low stamina. Taking loads of caffeine and sugar is like treating a disease’s symptoms, not the disease itself.
Worse, caffeine and sugar will result in a crash after their effects have worn off. Sometimes, they’d even skip the part when they’d increase alertness and energy and just cause a slump straightaway.
The Truth About Energy Drinks
Energy drinks aren’t like coffee, which has antioxidants and other health benefits. Instead, energy drinks are often loaded with sugar, and their high caffeine content can increase one’s risk for heart disease.
For example, an 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull contains 27 grams of sugar. That’s about seven teaspoons. Hence, if someone consumes two cans of Red Bull, they’d have an additional 14 teaspoons of sugar in their system. Consuming that much sugar will cause their blood sugar levels to spike. This increases their risk for type 2 diabetes.
Spikes in blood sugar are also associated with other conditions, such as higher oxidative stress levels and inflammation. Both conditions are linked to nearly every chronic disease.
Other health risks associated with energy drinks are anxiety, high blood pressure, headaches, and heart arrhythmia. They all contribute to the E.R. visits caused by energy drinks. In 2011, those E.R. visits reached more than 20,000.
The Truth About Sugar as an Energy Booster
Research has found that sugar doesn’t truly result in increased alertness and better mood. Instead, it seemed to worsen an energy slump. The researchers concluded such after gathering data from 31 studies on 1,300 adults. They’ve also found from those data that sugar led to increased fatigue an hour after being consumed.
The idea behind sugar improving the mood came from studies that showed carbohydrates’ ability to increase serotonin levels. However, that doesn’t make sugar a healthy mood- and energy-booster. The time it’s advisable to consume a sugary drink is after you’ve worked out longer than 60 minutes. Your body could use sugar and carbohydrate replenishment in that case.
Caffeine- and Sugar-free Ways to Boost Energy
Break the habit of depending on caffeine and sugar through the following practices:
- Find Out the Reason for Your Low Energy
If you constantly battle fatigue, even if you don’t engage in strenuous physical activity, you might have a health condition. Persistent tiredness, which makes you unable to get out of bed, could be a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s an autoimmune disease associated with viral infections, stress, and hormonal imbalances. Its risk factors include genetic predisposition, allergies, stress, and environmental factors.
Chronic fatigue syndrome treatment depends on the symptoms. They’re customizable, so each treatment is guaranteed to work. If you’ve been diagnosed with this disease, seek help immediately.
- Consume Whole Grains and Proteins
Instead of munching on a bar of chocolate, try a sugar-free granola bar. It has a lower fat content and higher protein. As such, it can keep you full for longer, preventing cravings. Pair your granola or any other whole grain with leafy greens, too. You can make them into a vegetable smoothie. Use healthy sweeteners like honey or stevia to improve the flavor.
- Drink Water
If you often feel sleepy throughout the day, you could be dehydrated. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day to fix that. For the best results, aim for at least nine cups of water if you’re a woman and 13 if you’re a man.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise will increase your stamina, making you more energized throughout the day. And course, it can help you lose weight, which will also help your body improve its endurance.
- Eat Small But Frequent Meals
Instead of dividing your meals into three, try making them six or more. Reduce your portions to leave room for snacks in between. Don’t overeat because it will lead to an energy slump.
- Take Naps
Naps aren’t just for growing children. Everyone should take a nap in the middle of the day, especially if they’re sleep-deprived at night. As its name suggests, a power nap will cure sluggishness and improve memory.
Low energy levels can affect your quality of life. It reduces your ability to enjoy thrilling and festive activities. So don’t ignore it. Seek medical attention if you must. Life is better when you are well-energized and always refreshed.