When we think of food, we think energy not lack of energy!

If you are anything like me, you sometimes wake up feeling tired so you:

  • Set the alarm 10mins later than usual and still feel tired
  • Have a coffee and still feel tired
  • Knock back an energy drink and still feel tired
  • Jump in a cold shower and feel irritated plus tired
  • Slap your left cheek then your right cheek, pull your eyelids, pluck an eyelash, pinch your arm and bite your tongue, but still feel tired.

So then you think, something isn’t right! What the hell am I eating or not eating, and what vitamins or minerals am I lacking?

Time to visit ‘Dr. Google’…

After hours of research and weeks of trial and error I finally found out why I kept feeling tired no matter what I tried and here are some of the reasons…

5 Everyday foods that are draining your energy!

Before I lay out the guilty culprits I must admit that as a foodie who loves exercise I still occasionally eat many of these foods (particularly, when my Wife tries to drag me on a long adventure in the blistering Dubai heat).

1. Breakfast Cereals, Yoghurt and Granola Bars

Growing up as a kid, Kellog’s Frosties and Coco Pops were a must for me to start my hyperactive day, Muller Crunch Corner Yoghurt at Lunch and a cereal bar before dinner were almost a daily thing for me. I couldn’t tell you if it made me tired back then, but if I attempted to repeat the process today I can assure you it wouldn’t get me out of the door.

The reason it drains your energy:

They are low in fiber content and astonishingly high in added sugars. This extends to some of the healthier breakfast options such as Muesli, Fruit n Fibre, pre-flavoured packet oats, fruit juice, and granola bars etc.

The combination of low fiber and high simple sugars causes instant blood sugar and insulin spikes, which are almost always followed by a large energy crash. This crash then causes you to crave more sugary foods to bring your energy back up, creating a vicious energy-stealing cycle (1).

2. White Bread, Pasta and Rice

Ok, so almost everyone interested in weight loss, fat loss, muscle gain or fitness as a whole has heard many stories and facts about avoiding white bread, pasta and rice. But not many are told to avoid it because of its energy dampening powers.

The reason it drains your energy:

White Bread, Pasta and Rice are carbs made from processed grains. During processing, these grains have their fiber-rich outer layer (known as bran) removed, making these carbs simple and quick to digest. As we already know all carbs are a form of sugar, which spikes insulin levels and causes us to crash when large amounts are consumed.

In addition to being a simple carb, when grains are processed they also lose a nutrient dense part of the grain known as germ (not the annoying micro-organisms that make us sick). Germ is rich in B vitamins which our body uses to create energy (2).

Now, if you are like most people and enjoy bread, rice and pasta it is better to opt for whole grain (unprocessed). Although still a carbohydrate, whole grains release glucose slowly and deliver you a steady amount of energy throughout the day.

3. Coffee

I know right!

Coffee is a morning must for many, and some of you reading this won’t make the compromise. The truth is when coffee is taken in moderation its benefits outweigh the drawbacks. BUT too many people ignore moderation and load up on their caffeine fix one too many times.

The reason it drains your energy

Caffeine has been proven to create a short term boost in energy and brain function, however, the more it is consumed the more your body becomes tolerant to its effects. In addition, relying on coffee instead of proper nutrition can drain your energy as well as interrupt your sleep over time.

The suggested maximum amount of caffeine per day is around 400mg, which translates to roughly 4 cups (3).

4. Fried & Fast Food

This one is inexcusable. No matter how much some of us love a good burger and fries, none of us have escaped the grips of a food coma! Fried and fast foods are low in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

The reason it drains your energy

Its lack of nutrients means that these foods are often empty calories, providing little to no energy. In addition, they are high in fat and low in fiber. Fats are one of the slowest foods to digest, which means breaking these foods down often requires more energy than it provides.


Well technically you shouldn’t be drinking alcohol with the intention of raising your energy. That just seems backwards, namely because of the sedative like effects that it has.

However, in this instance we are not referring to the vodka shots or cocktails you may have had over the weekend. We are referring to that small to medium glass of wine that accompanies your dinner.

The reason it drains your energy

Although alcohol tends to relax you easily, studies show that alcohol consumption of any dosage can cause disruption a few hours into your sleep, which ultimately leads to a lack of energy the following day (4).

Our suggestion is cut the alcohol out for multiple reasons or at least save it for the weekend, where you will have a chance to catch up on some much needed snooze.

Bottom Line

As a foodie that loves exercise, I can understand the struggle many will face when attempting to give up or cut back on the foods/drinks listed above. However, it is extremely important to consider the amount of energy needed for you to reach your fitness goals.

To put it bluntly, you need a constant flow of sustainable energy to motivate you enough to complete daily tasks such as work or studies, as well as exercise. All seem impossible when you are forever tired, so consider making a few of these changes and witness the positive impact is has on all aspects of your daily life.