We all want food that gives us energy – but what about the foods that take it away? Just as people can be energy vampires, foods can be too. And just like a charming vampire, often these life force-draining foods appear friendly at first by giving you a fast boost of energy. It’s only later that you crash – feeling tired after eating them, and that the true nature of the energy vampires is revealed.
If you don’t want your precious energy sucked away by what you eat, avoid putting these five types of foods on your plate.
#1. Simple sugars and carbs – While these types of foods are actually associated with a boost of energy – hence the “sugar rush” – in reality, they are hard-core energy vampires. After a quick boost in blood sugar that gives you a short-lived burst of energy, your blood sugar then plummets and causes your energy to crash.
Some simple sugars hang out in obvious places, including candy, cookies, soft drinks and desserts – but others are hidden in sauces, breads and condiments.
Naturally occurring simple sugars and carbs are slightly better, such as the lactose in dairy products and the fructose in whole fruits. Because these products often contain fiber, fat and other nutrients, the blood sugar spike – and subsequent crash – is less severe. Still, going crazy on the grapes or froyo isn’t likely to make you feel more energetic.
#2. The wrong beverages – You already know that soda is one of the worst energy vampires. But other culprits include fancy coffee concoctions and even energy drinks, which are often packed with sugar. Alcohol is also a trickster, and is first recognized by your body as a stimulant. Only later do you realize that you have been sucked clean of energy, and feel like death warmed over.
#3. Cereals, breads, muffins & bread – Just because a grain product is labeled “whole-grain” or “whole-wheat” doesn’t mean that it is free from refined grains. Most bread products use a mix, and they also often include high-fructose corn syrup or other sugars. A better option is to choose grains that you can see for yourself are whole, such as quinoa, barley, wheat berries, and oats. When you do buy products made with flour, look for those that say “100% whole-wheat” or “100% whole-grain” – and be sure to check the label for sneaky added sugars and preservatives.
#4. Processed foods – Highly processed foods and fast foods are packed with added sugars, unhealthy fats, simple carbohydrates, and all kinds of chemical nastiness. You know that eating a meal of processed foods will make you feel like crap. Planning ahead is the key to avoiding these energy vampires.
#5. “Bad” fats – Cramming your body full of trans-fats helps to create inflammation in your body, which leads not only to a lack of energy but also illness and disease. Even processed vegetable fats such as soy oil and corn oil can contribute to inflammation. Instead, eat “good” fats, including those found in avocados, walnuts, salmon and flax seeds.
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