Why your energy fix is robbing you of energy

Typical scenario, grab a coffee or an energy drink for a kick start in the morning, perhaps another a little later on and by mid afternoon energy drops and we reach for another coffee, energy drink or sugary treat. It’s this very energy boosting pattern which leads to decreases in energy, a crazy cycle that seems impossible to end.

Energy, loosely defined is the force required to ‘do work’ and is measured in joules. As an example it takes approximately 1 joule to lift an apple a metre in the air. You will of course be familiar with kilojoules (1000 joules). Your age, height, weight, gender, constitution and activity level will determine how many kilojoules you use in a day. Calories are also the well known measure of energy when we’re dealing with metabolism. There are 4.18kj in a calorie.

Your body turns your macro and micronutrients into the things required to produce the energy that run your cells.  Your cells have never, and will never "run" off caffeine.

Here’s the thing with stimulants like coffee, sugar, guarana etc. Long term and heavy use depletes your body of the energy producing nutrients, they can inhibit the absorption of some of these nutrients and they provide a surge of norepinephrine (adrenalin), cortisol and blood sugar highs, which, once depleted leaves us “out of energy”. The stress response also depletes the body of nutrients and slows metabolism, adding insult to injury. 

Caffeine is also a mild diuretic which depletes us of water...and yes, we need water for energy too! These energy boosters are robbing us of energy day after day, and being addictive type foods we find it difficult to just say no to our daily fix. To increase energy we need to put in the raw materials of energy - carbohydrates, fats, proteins and micronutrients and avoid the things which deplete them from us.

The best way to grab some real energy is with breakfast which contains some unrefined carbohydrates, protein, good fats and fibre to help regulate the release of glucose to the body. Drinking around 2-3 litres of water daily will allow your blood to deliver those nutrients to cells effectively and eating lots of fruit and veg and a good multivitamin will provide those micro and trace nutrients needed to convert food into energy.

You may be minerally deficient, or your energy may be affected by external and internal stressors - again, not something that stimulants will fix for you. 

Good sleep recharges the battery pack and allows the body to repair itself and reduces stress hormones from further robbing our body of energy.  It’s always a challenge to reduce stimulants and change our daily habits in favour of things that will provide real energy, but if you’re going out of your way to get some energy – why not do it the sustainable way?