How to increase energy levels
This article explains the primary causes that cause low energy, then how to boost your energy with nutrient dense foods. Keep reading to find out more about our top tips for preventing the energy slumps many of our clients see!
Why are you low on energy?
Low energy levels come as a result of several potential nutrition OR lifestyle components. Low energy can be classified as chronic fatigue, slumps in energy in the afternoon, reduced recovery and increased muscle soreness.
Generally speaking, low energy is caused from a lack of sleep, deficiency in micronutrients, deficiency in essential macronutrients (fatty acids and amino acids) and finally over consumption of sugar and thus poor glucose control. Which one of these affects you? Well, we will delve into your dietary and lifestyle habits during our consultation in one of our central London or Kent clinics, to understand what may cause the issue before working through it together using a food first nutritional intervention.
How can you boost your energy?
Firstly, when addressing an energy problem, we look at lifestyle factors and ensure you’re getting enough sleep relative to your energy expenditure (how much activity you do on a daily basis) as well as things like stress (we can refer you to one of our colleagues at Harley Street if this needs addressing). Furthermore, if you’re an athlete, we will ensure you’re consuming enough calories to fuel your training. We do this by calculating total daily energy expenditure and measuring your current intake. After this, we ensure that you are eating enough essential fatty acids and amino acids to keep your body functioning at its best. Deficiency in any fatty or amino acid has been linked with chronic fatigue and poor metabolism. Finally, whilst sugar gets a bad wrap I the press, generally speaking when combined with an active lifestyle and normal body fat levels, it will not cause a negative effect on your insulin sensitivity. But, what It will do, is cause peaks and troughs in blood glucose which result in fluctuations in energy or the common 2-3pm crash! This effect is exacerbated with a sedentary lifestyle, age, or increased body fat.
Which foods increase energy?
There are a number of foods that help our energy levels, or on the flip side, do not cause reduced energy levels.
Animal proteins and lean protein sources
Fibrous carbohydrates that are low in glycaemic index.
Vegetables (not fried)
Fat sources, such as nuts, avocado, oils, seeds, oily fish.
What foods should I avoid to prevent low energy?
Too much sugary food (including fruit, and high GI carbohydrates)
Fried foods high in trans fats (biscuits, deep fried foods)
Poor quality protein sources (fatty, not grass fed)
How many calories should I be eating to increase energy?
Finally, the most common cause of low energy is simply under consumption of calories. Imagine you’re using 3000kcal a day in energy but only eating 1000kcal, that’s a huge 2000kcal deficit which causes energy to be used up from muscle protein and body fat stores. Not only that, but you’ll likely be deficient in micronutrients with such a drastic deficit. To lose body fat but get all the nutrients you need, aim for a 500kcal deficit per day. If you need help calculating this, reply to this email so we can help! Or, book in for a nutrition consultation in one of our London or Kent clinics.
Why does fasting increase energy?
Fasting, or prolonged periods (12hr+) without calorie intake, has recently boasted a strong response in the science world for its positive effects on inflammation and metabolism. Fasting decreases you’re eating window throughout the day, thus reducing calorie intake, and in the process of this fasting can increase insulin sensitivity. This insulin sensitivity and glucose control prevents the peaks and troughs described earlier in the article and thus, can help with energy levels.
What supplements increase energy?
A supplement is there to supplement the diet, and therefore if you are lacking any nutrients (such as Vitamin D - remember this comes from sunlight, mushrooms and oily fish) they can be a useful tool to bring micronutrient levels back to normal levels. Therefore, we recommend taking one of our blood chemistry analysis tests to understand your micronutrient levels before we prescribe foods or supplements to fill in the gaps. Furthermore, if you are vegan, or have a typically low protein diet, a protein supplement may help by increasing net protein and nitrogen balance which will help boost energy.