Maintaining a stable level of blood sugar (glucose) throughout the day is a vital part of fighting fatigue and feeling energized. Everything you eat affects your glucose level, but sugars, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are all metabolized differently, providing significantly different results.
Simple sugars burn first and fast. They are responsible for the energy spikes and crashes that many people experience throughout the day.
Complex carbohydrates. Once the simple sugars are depleted, the body burns complex carbohydrates, such as beans, whole grains, and vegetables. These are broken down into glucose more slowly than simple sugars, which allows them to stabilize blood sugar between meals. However, even the healthiest carbohydrates can only provide the body with glucose for a few hours after a meal.
Fats and proteins are the body’s long-term energy reserves, and can even be used for months into starvation. When properly metabolized, they are the key to a steady, long-term supply of glucose.
For many people, though, nutritionally poor diets can halt the conversion of fats and proteins into glucose, which results in chronically low levels of blood sugar and decreased energy. This means that people can eat sufficient (or excessive) fat and protein, but still feel exhausted. The problem is a breakdown of energy-producing machinery, not a lack of fuel.
The breakdown occurs because protein cannot be converted into glucose without adequate supplies of certain vitamins and minerals, which are often missing from nutritionally poor diets. To restore proper metabolism and boost energy, it is vital to maintain a daily supply of these energy-producing vitamins and minerals.
Biotin is excreted from the body on a daily basis, so it needs to be replenished daily. Biotin can be found in carrots, walnuts, almonds, cashews, and other nuts.
Magnesium and zinc. Both are found in high levels in spinach.
Calcium is required for lipid oxidation. It can be found in cabbage, broccoli, and almonds.
Co-Q10, iron, sulfur, and copper. Kale, cashews, and avocado contain high levels of copper, while spinach is rich in iron. Read a detailed discussion on Co-Q10 supplementation here.
Oxaloacetate is an important part of the metabolic cycle. Studies indicate that a lack of oxaloacetate can cause energy production to fall by nearly 500%.
These nutrients are found abundantly in whole-food, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, and paleo diets, which provide all three of the important types of fuel: complex carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Maintaining stable and balanced quantities of these nutrients and fuels will allow the body to produce short-, medium-, and long-term energy. Give it a try and share your experience with us in the comments section below.