5 Energy-Draining Foods to Avoid

5 Energy-Draining Foods to Avoid

We all know that some foods are higher in caloric content than others. Often times, we seek out these higher calorie food items in order to get a burst of energy.

But did you know that some foods – despite having a high calorie count – can actually be total drains on your energy? It’s true!

What’s worse is that you could be consuming some of these energy-draining foods thinking that you’re getting an energy boost, when in reality you’re getting quite the opposite.

Let’s start with one of the biggest, most deceiving culprits: energy drinks.

1. Energy Drinks

energy draining foods

Energy drinks may give you a temporary boost of energy, but as soon as the energy/caffeine buzz wears off, you’ll be feeling more exhausted than ever! This BBC article reveals the results of a very interesting study. Sleep-deprived adults were given sugary energy drinks and asked to perform some monotonous tests.

Another group was given an identical-tasting drink with just the caffeine. After a half hour, results were the same. But after 50 minutes, the sugary energy drink crowd was falling way behind. Read more from NBC about how energy drinks can leave you feeling totally exhausted.

2. Sugary Breakfast Foods: Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, etc.

energy draining food

Sugar and white flour are awful energy drains. It’s unfortunate that so many Americans start out their days with a sugary breakfast – if they choose to eat breakfast at all.

Essentially, when you consume a lot of sugar, the carbohydrates get used up quickly, blood sugar rises, and then your brain stops producing orexin, which is what makes you feel alert. You can read more about the “doughnut effect” here.

3. Greasy & Fried Foods

energy draining foods to avoid

Meals that are high in fat, like those containing fried foods, don’t do your brain function any good. Studies have shown that high-fat content foods can cause fatigue in the short run and decreased cognitive performance in the long run.

This is apparently especially true for meals that are high in fat and low in carbohydrates, as well as a diet that is high in both saturated fat and refined carbohydrates.

4. Red Wine & Alcohol

energy draining foods to avoid

There’s a reason why a glass of wine before bed has often been recommended to adults who have trouble sleeping – alcohol is a strong depressant that can often result in sleepiness.

However, alcohol’s effects on fatigue go beyond its depressant action. The Huffington Post summarized a brand-new study about alcohol and sleep, which found that alcohol can make your sleeping patterns go haywire and cause ongoing tiredness.

A few drinks can cause you to spend more time in stages of “slow-wave” or “deep” sleep, and less time in the REM stages that are necessary for improving your memory and alertness the next day.

5. Low-Iron Foods

energy draining foods

Anemia, or low levels of iron in the blood, is a main culprit of fatigue, especially for women. While there are a number of causes of anemia, ranging from menstruation to bone marrow diseases, low-iron foods in the diet is an extremely common reason for fatigue.

So instead or reaching for low-iron veggies like carrots, celery, and cauliflower, try dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, or artichokes, which are all high in iron. Instead of a rice side dish, try lentils or chickpeas. Finally, consider occasionally switching low-iron proteins like chicken and fish for red meat.

What energy-draining foods will you be avoiding? What high-energy foods do you love? Weigh in with your comments!


  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5202278.stm
  • http://www.nbcnews.com/id/46764607/ns/health-mens_health/
  • http://www.columbiatribune.com/arts_life/pulse/stopping-the-energy-drain/article_2a299006-bd06-5df0-9ed2-44aedc39eea2.html
  • http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0031938494902607
  • http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452202001239
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/25/alcohol-sleep-rem-nonrem-deep-sleep_n_2537405.html
  • http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-anemia-basics
  • http://www.facebook.com/hl.aleo Heather L. Aleo

    Funny…when I eat doughnuts for breakfast after coffee I have normal energy (not a sugar high), I don’t end up with low blood sugar and can continue on with the rest of my day. Yet if i have a “wholesome” breakfast (proteins, whole grains) I feel exhausted and sick to my stomach. I’m pretty healthy and nowhere near overweight. Infact all those good foods listed in the doughnut effect link are what cause me problems. Take this article with a grain of salt!

    • Petra Pretorius

      Cancer and sugar are best friends. You acid your body …. and cancer loves acid …. also soon all the sugar will lead to diabetis .. its just a body, and in the end we will pay the price for all that sugar and acid stuff we put in our bodies. But its your body, do as you please, keep going as you going 😀

    • Helpful advice

      You may be diabetic. Consult with a family doctor or when you next go in for a check up.

    • http://twitter.com/Elorabird Summer Coley-Ward

      Your experience with a “healthy breakfast” could be indicative of a digestion issue – discomfort digesting fibre and protein. This could be from lack of good gut enzymes. Regardless of how the sweet stuff makes you feel, it (white sugar/corn syrup/white flour) is poison for anyone who consumes it regularly. The reward feeling we get when eat sweets comes from a short-lived serotonin response as soon as sugar hits the tongue. Pending you’re interested in eating more healthy, you could start by replacing your doughnut with easy digest carbs like an apple with peanut butter.

  • Hadrian1

    So much depends on the individual, you can’t generalise.

    Very often these tests are carried out by companies or organizations

    with a commercial interest

  • Drill colar slip

    my sugar does nt get high.. its in control.

    • adbj102

      If you remember to close the spider, it won’t slip ( if you have replaced the dies) anyway…….I wondered why if I had cake after lunch, I would rather take a nap.

      • TehGBear


      • Boiled Anus

        It’s best to avoid light foods that do you no good for energy later on.
        Your best bet is to eat an anvil for breakfast. It’s high in iron and will last you all day.

  • tessa

    i feel tired when I drink milk or soft drinks, thats the only food I need to avoid :)

  • David Mantle

    Nothing unhealthy about a full English breakfast. It does you more good than the rubbish the Americans eat.


    It is very interesting and still we do not know much in details how are we killing our selves so one must read this article and alert your self to correct daily food habits very simply after reading this alert and advise helpful for everyone who cares for him self seriously

  • http://www.facebook.com/ariaka.geria Ariaka Geria

    Thought it was the reverse. You need sugary food to get energy. This is a paradox.

  • jojoflynn

    I was addicted to energy drinks and can fully agree with this since i have “quit” them i fell much healthier and have a lot more energy and my health is also improving in radical stances, i no longer have depression and eat a healthy diet now it was horrid coming off them but i have done it!