From pulling an all-nighter to struggling with an underlying medical condition, there are lots of obvious reasons why you’re feeling run down. Chronic fatigue, however, can become increasingly frustrating when you can’t put your finger on what’s causing it. When that’s the case, you need our experts to help you determine exactly why you feel sluggish.
At Optimal Performance Medicine, our fatigue specialist, Dr. Michael Skardasis understands that fatigue can come from anywhere, including a poor diet. Here’s everything you need to know about the link between your diet and your fatigue.
Food and fatigue
If you’ve ever put the wrong kind of gas into your car, you know how detrimental it can be. The engine stalls and churns or stops working altogether. The same is true with your body.
Your body is a finely tuned engine that requires a very specific kind of gas to work properly. Fill it with the wrong fuel, and you’ll feel like turning on your hazard lights and pulling over to the side of the road.
Because your body relies so heavily on the foods you eat to function, your diet can be the main culprit of your fatigue. These are the kinds of foods and drinks that wreak havoc on your energy levels.
Think white bread, pasta, and rice. These carb-heavy foods have been so overly processed they have very little nutritional value. The fiber layer of the grain has been completely removed, making it much easier for your body to digest and absorb.
This quick turnaround in your digestive system causes a sharp spike in energy levels and blood sugar followed closely by an even sharper drop.
Everything from your favorite breakfast cereals and yogurts to juices and granola bars can be sneaking in high amounts of added sugars unbeknownst to you. With almost zero nutritional value and a short-lived boost of energy, snacking on these sugary foods could be the source of your fatigue.
There are few things better than a large order of French fries or a greasy burger from a drive-thru. While they lack nothing in taste, they lack very much in nutrition. The high amounts of fat and low levels of fiber make fried, greasy fast foods hard to digest.
The slow digestion process delays your body’s ability to derive energy from the food and can make you grind to a halt. Similarly, overeating these kinds of foods can fill your tank too quickly and zap your energy storage.
Reducing your calories is a surefire way to shed some extra weight, but cutting back too many calories can actually impact your energy. Your body needs a certain amount of calories to keep it going. Restricting your caloric intake too much can force your body to run on fumes and cause you to feel fatigued.
The two most popular ways to get caffeine are coffee and energy drinks.
While coffee, namely black coffee, can actually have some health benefits, it’s typically only reliable for a quick jolt of energy. Drinking it regularly could also cause you to build up a tolerance and make you feel drained over time.
Sipping on energy drinks every day can result in a similar caffeine resistance. Not to mention, popular energy drinks are typically loaded with sugar, giving you a short burst of energy with an inevitable crash.
You might know alcohol to have a calming, relaxing effect, but the opposite can often be true. In moderation, alcohol has no effect on your energy levels. Indulging, however, can disrupt your sleep patterns, making you feel groggy and fatigued the next day.
Treating your fatigue
If you can blame your fatigue on any of those food faux pas we’ve mentioned, it’s time to make some adjustments. Dr. Skardasis works closely with you to evaluate your lifestyle habits, your medical history, and your likes and dislikes to develop a nutrition plan that’s best for you.
He recommends making adjustments like not skipping breakfast, relying on whole instead of processed grains, adding healthy fats and protein to your diet, curbing your caffeine and alcohol dependence, replacing other beverages with water, and finding consistency in how often and how much you eat.
All of these simple adjustments can not only improve your energy levels but your overall health.
Dr. Skardasis can also support your nutrition plan with other fatigue-fighting treatments. Depending on your needs, he may suggest:
- Regular exercise
- Medically supervised weight loss
- IV hydration therapy
- B12 injection
- Diabetes management
You’ll find that Dr. Skardasis’s treatment plans focus on improving your whole health rather than individual symptoms.
Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Come see us and find the freedom from fatigue you’ve been searching for. Call our friendly staff or schedule an appointment online to get started today.