From bananas to high-protein yoghurt: 4 'healthy' foods that can actually sap your energy.

You know that sluggish feeling you sometimes get after you eat? Where you just want to stop everything you're doing and... lay down for a nap? Feels.

But a decrease in your energy levels after eating is actually a very real thing, and according to experts, it's got nothing to do with how tired you are. In fact, it's all about what you're putting in your body.

Apparently, portions and timing are key when it comes to how even healthy foods can influence our energy levels. Yep, really!

Meaning? If you're constantly finding yourself feeling like you've hit a wall halfway through the day, it might come down to what kind of food you're throwing back — and how much of it.

Watch: Speaking of foods, here's celebrity chef Manu Feildel on What I Eat When With Silvia Colloca. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

As nutritionist and sports dietician, Chloe McLeod from Verde Nutrition Co told Mamamia, "Whilst making great food choices is the crux of eating well, there are certain foods or food groups that – while they have incredible health benefits – can also fall into the negative in some instances."


Interesting, huh?

So... which foods are we talking about here?

Below, McLeod takes us through four main foods that could be sapping your energy levels.

1. Bread.

The first culprit? Bread – or fibre, to be exact.

"The queen of helping you to have a healthy gut, fibre in its different types feeds your microbiome, helps move digested food through your bowel, and also helps you feel satisfied," said McLeod.

But while it’s recommended to eat around 30g of fibre per day for great health, you can get too much of a good thing.

"On the flip side, if you increase your fibre intake too quickly, gut symptoms are prone to occur. Think bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, abdominal pain, just to start."

See: sitting at your office desk, feeling bloated and uncomfortable AF. Eeek.

The take-home here? "Yes, eat your fibre, but increase it slowly; take your time going from zero to 100."

2. Coffee.

Coffee addicts, take a seat. Because this one's for you.

As we all know, coffee contains caffeine, which helps improve focus, reduce the perception of effort when training, as well as having a host of other health benefits due to the bioactive compounds it contains, explained McLeod.


"But more is not better. Around 400mg per day is recommended as a maximum for the average adult." That's about four cups (regular sized, thank you very much) a day, tops.

If you have too much, McLeod said it can be difficult to focus. You may even experience elevated anxiety or heart palpitations if you overdo it. 

And omg... can anyone else relate?!

"Work out what works for you, and if you don’t regularly consume coffee, again take it slow and keep to one to two per day."

3. Low-fat foods.

Thanks to the '90s and early 2000s, McLeod said, there is a common misconception that low-fat is the better choice when selecting foods. Put simply, it really messed up our idea of what's considered 'healthy' and what's not.

McLeod said, "Dietary fats take a long time to digest, about six hours at that, so as a result they are incredibly satiating. When we avoid fat at our meals or snacks, for example, using balsamic vinegar for your salad dressing instead of extra virgin olive oil, we typically have a shorter ‘energy hit’ before feeling sluggish/hungry again."

Instead of avoiding dietary fats, McLeod recommends "including a serve of healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, or avocado at each meal to provide a more sustained energy release and keep you satisfied for longer".


4. Yoghurt.

"High-protein diets have certainly gained a lot of attention in recent years due to their impact on satiety and role in building/preserving lean muscle mass," said McLeod. 

"Foods high in protein such as yoghurt, milk, chicken, fish, lean meat and tofu are important to include and certainly help to sustain energy levels and keep us fuller for longer. However, if you overdo it, too much protein can leave you feeling sluggish and ready for a nap."

(See: all of us.)

Why does this happen though? Well, because they take a long time to digest.

"Having 50 to 60g protein with your lunch may leave you feeling like an afternoon snooze, rather than providing a second wind of energy," said McLeod.

Instead of going ham on the high-protein foods, McLeod recommends including a serve of protein at your main meals but stresses to "be cautious of not overdoing it if you find it leaves you feeling sluggish".

So, there you have it! We feel more energised already.

What's your experience? Do you tend to get sluggish after eating? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty.

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