Everyone feels tired from time to time. If your tiredness is ongoing and unmanageable, you should consider some lifestyle modifications. Getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying physically active are all critical for your health and sleep.

Food fuels your body. The more energy you have, the easier it is to get through your day. But some foods are better energy sources than others. Certain foods and drinks can destroy your energy in the long run.

Here are eight foods and drinks to limit or avoid if you want to increase your energy levels.

1. Breakfast cereals

Cereal is a convenient and easy way to fill yourself up in the morning. But some cereals have a high glycemic index, meaning the body absorbs and digests these carbohydrates faster. This causes blood sugar to increase rapidly. The energy boost you feel early on after eating will be followed by a drop in blood sugar and fatigue.

There are healthy options when it comes to breakfast cereals. Choose cereals low in sugar, with about five grams of sugar or less total per 100 grams. This includes whole-grain cereals, which are also high in fiber.

2. Alcohol

It’s OK to enjoy a beer or cocktail every once in a while. But if you drink alcohol in large quantities or too often, you may feel drowsy during the day.

Alcohol’s sedative effect can cause you to feel tired. For this reason, some people drink a cocktail before bed. When the sedative effect of alcohol wears off, however, you may wake up and be unable to fall back to sleep. Also, drinking alcohol before bed can cause your throat muscles to relax, worsening sleep apnea.

Try to avoid alcohol if you’re having trouble staying alert during the day. At the least, limit cocktails to the early evening hours, and not before bed.

3. Coffee

The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant. Many people rely on coffee to stay alert during the day. But when the caffeine starts to wear off, you may start to feel sluggish.

As a general rule, four cups of coffee a day is safe for most adults. If you feel more tired than alert after drinking caffeine, scale back or switch to decaf.

4. Energy drinks

Energy drinks can be misleading. Although they offer a boost of energy, they’re made with caffeine. Just like coffee, you may start to feel drowsy after the effects of the caffeine dwindle.

These beverages can cause other issues like irritability and high blood pressure. They may also disturb your sleep at night.

5. Sugar

If consumed in moderation, sugar may not have a significant impact on your energy levels. But if you have a lot of sugar regularly, you may experience extreme increases and decreases in your blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, you’re likely to experience fatigue, sluggishness, and irritability.

6. Red meat

If you notice some sluggishness after eating red meat, that’s normal. Red meat is nutrient-rich, but also high in fat. It takes more energy for your body to break down these meals. The more energy stores you use, the less energy you have.

To combat low energy, don’t eat red meat every day. Switch to lean meats like turkey or salmon, and don’t forget to prepare plant-based options.

7. White bread

Ditching white bread may also give your energy level a much needed pick-me-up. Like breakfast cereal, white bread has a high glycemic index. If you opt for this type of bread, it may provide a quick energy burst, but you’re likely to crash later.

Consider switching to whole-grain bread. These digest slower and keep your blood sugar stabilized.

8. Fried foods

Fried foods are must-have indulgences, but moderation is the key. These foods include potato chips, fried chicken, French fries, corn dogs, and the like. They’re low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Similar to red meat, it takes more energy for your body to digest the fat in fried foods.

While fried foods can give you energy at the moment, you’ll feel sluggish and fatigued in the long run.


Having low energy day after day can interfere with your quality of life. Your performance at work may slip. You may also find it hard to keep up with a social life if you’re fatigued all the time.

There isn’t always a single cause for tiredness, but rather a combination of factors. It’s important to see your doctor for any unexplained fatigue. You may have an underlying health problem, or you may need to adjust your diet.