Everything You Need to Know About Energy Levels and Carbs
How carbohydrates can both boost and plummet your energy levels
Busy lifestyles, demanding jobs, kids and poor sleep patterns can be a cause of low energy levels and fatigue. One major reason that is usually overlooked is your eating.
What you’re putting inside your body can be directly related to how much energy you have – or don’t have!
Firstly, a quick digestion lesson…
How food gives you energy.
Carbohydrates from food are what our bodies use for energy, so carbs are vital to us!
Carbs break down into tiny pieces called glucose. Your body turns glucose into energy.
How processed carbs and sugar make you tired.
What are processed or refined carbs?
White flour, bread and pasta, doughnuts, cookies, cakes and anything high in sugar (including soft drink).
They include sugar and grains like wheat that have been processed or refined in a way that strips all the fibre and nutrients away from them leaving you with just glucose.
How do they make you tired and lethargic?
Without fibre, sugar or glucose travels into your bloodstream at an extremely fast rate. We tend to overeat these types of foods as without the fibre they aren’t filling.
Our bodies aren’t designed to handle such high amounts of sugar or glucose at one time. This is what is referred to as a high blood sugar spike.
After eating refined carbs, you may feel a burst of energy as a result of the sharp blood sugar spike. But, this is quickly followed by a sudden energy drop.
Your body uses the energy it needs at the time, then stores away the excess sugar (usually as fat).
All of a sudden your blood sugar levels have quickly slumped which leaves you feeling tired and fatigued. This also makes you crave high sugar foods to get that quick fix of energy again.
How wholesome carbs give you long-lasting energy
What are wholesome carbs?
Grainy brown bread, brown pasta, wholegrain cereals, fruit, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds.
They are foods in their most natural and whole form. Whole carbs are accompanied by lots of fibre and nutrients which slow down the digestion process and prevent high spikes in blood sugar.
How do they give you long-lasting energy?
Fibre slows down the process of the sugar or glucose, crossing over into your blood. This gives you a steady rate of energy over a long period of time.
You don’t feel a sudden energy slump and you don’t suddenly crave high sugar snacks. Fibre also has loads of other health benefits.
How many carbs should I eat?
A serving size of carbohydrates is about a handful of pasta or 1 slice of bread.
Depending on your size and activity level you may need a one, two, or three servings of carbs with each meal.
Remember, eating too larger portions of any food will overload your digestive system and make you feel tired and lethargic so it’s good to eat slowly and just until you start feeling full.
Download your personalised nutrition plan to find out approximately how many servings of carbs you need each day and what a serving size looks like.
To sum up…
What we are not saying is to never eat high sugar foods again. A small amount here and there is absolutely fine and won’t affect your energy levels.
But eating them every day and in big quantities will leave you feeling more fatigued than you should be as well as increase your risk for other health implications such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression.
What we are saying is try to eat mainly wholegrain carbohydrates and lots and lots of veggies!
It’s not an overnight fix, but if you create this new healthy habit, you should start seeing changes in your energy levels!!
Check out this recipe full of fibre which gives you a steady rate of energy over a longer period of time!
Serves: 4 Time: 20mins Cost: $15.20 approx. ($3.80/serve)
- 500g Fresh Gnocchi (refrigerated section of the supermarket – we used pumpkin gnocchi)
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 bunch of basil
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Prep: chop asparagus into bite-sized pieces, roughly slice basil, slice cherry tomatoes in half, crush garlic, grate cheese.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil on a fry-pan, on a medium-high heat.
- Add gnocchi, and cook for 4-5mins flipping them every now and then – they should start to turn golden.
- remove gnocchi and put aside
- drizzle olive oil over the pan, add asparagus, tomatoes and garlic then cook for 2 mins, stirring regularly.
- Add the gnocchi back to the pan along with spinach and basil. Stir through.
- Sprinkle over the cheese and cover the fry pan with a lid or baking tray until cheese has just melted.
Download our family healthy eating plan to find a 7-day meal plan full of yummy healthy eating or login to download your personal nutrition plan to help create a healthier eating pattern. This is FREE to all members.
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