Main causes and how to stop it

If you often feel tired after eating, you are probably wondering if there is something you should avoid or eat specifically to increase your energy. Feeling sleepy after a meal is a common problem that many people experience after lunch (hence the name “afternoon fatigue”). This is also the time of day when sugar and caffeine cravings tend to kick in, which is tempting as it can offset afternoon fatigue.
Instead of masking your fatigue with sweets and coffee, a better approach is to structure your meals to support your energy. We will see below how to do this and what foods to limit that can cause you to lose your energy.

Why am I tired after eating?

What do you call being tired after eating? Another way to describe being in a “food coma” is postprandial fatigue, also known as postprandial sleepiness. You’re more likely to feel this way after eating a large meal, especially if it’s high in fat, refined carbohydrates, and/or sugar (once the effect of the sugar wears off). If you find that your motivation and focus drop shortly after finishing a meal, you’re probably wondering, “Why do I crash after eating?” »

One of the main causes of feeling tired after a meal is low blood sugar (glucose).

After eating sweets or refined carbohydrates, insulin levels rise, but a few hours later the levels drop and blood sugar levels plummet. This phenomenon can cause feelings of lethargy, fatigue, food cravings, and mental confusion, although the severity of these symptoms varies from person to person.

Sugar and processed “white” carbs also trigger the release of more serotonin, which is a “happiness chemical” but can also make you feel sleepy and relaxed. Other reasons why you feel sleepy after eating include the functioning of your parasympathetic nervous system and your circadian rhythm.

Your parasympathetic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that is in charge of “rest and digest” processes. It reacts to eating a meal by making you feel more relaxed. Animals, including humans, have built-in “watch signals” that keep them awake and alert when they’re hungry. These cues help them locate and acquire food. It follows that when an animal (or human) has eaten a lot, these warning signs dissipate and are replaced by feelings of fatigue.

Eating also causes a rush of blood to the digestive system to aid digestion. Breaking down food actually takes a lot of work from your body, and this process uses up a lot of energy and can cause your mood and arousal level to plummet. Your circadian rhythm, or “internal clock,” plays a role in your energy levels throughout the day, even after eating. It is considered natural and ‘normal’ to feel a little tired in the afternoon, usually between 2 and 4 pm, which is a few hours after most people’s lunch. You may feel sleepy due to your normal circadian cycle instead of your last meal.

How to stop being tired after eating

What foods cause fatigue?

You want to avoid consuming too many carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) and sugar at the same time, without consuming enough protein, fiber, and fat to balance it all out. Large, heavy, high-fat foods (fried foods, fast foods, and processed meats) can also rob you of energy because your body takes time to digest them. In some people, food sensitivities can also contribute to postprandial sleepiness. Sensitive foods or potential allergens may include wheat/gluten, dairy, tree nuts, or shellfish. Of course, alcohol can also lower your mood and ability to focus, so avoid alcoholic beverages if you know you need to be on the go.

Why are we tired after a big meal?

Meal times are a matter of preference, as everyone is a little different. Some prefer to eat two or three meals a day, for example if they practice intermittent fasting, while others prefer to eat every three to four hours. Experiment a bit to see what schedule works best for you. You may be someone who benefits from eating three small meals and one or two snacks a day, as these smaller meals put less strain on your digestive system.

What is the best composition of meals to prevent fatigue?

In general, try to strike a balance by including foods high in fiber, healthy fats, protein, and vegetables. Be careful not to binge on refined carbohydrates like pasta dishes, cereals, non-protein cereal bowls, noodle dishes, sweets, etc. When in doubt, add some veggies to a protein dish, like stir-fry chicken or fish, and add a little fat, like olive oil or sliced ​​avocado, to round it out. Keep in mind, though, that too much protein makes some people feel sluggish, probably due to an increased release of tryptophan, an amino acid found in high-protein foods like turkey, milk, meat, and meats. eggs, which triggers the production of serotonin.

What are the best foods to increase your energy?

Above all, try to eat enough protein, such as:

– poultry
– grass-fed meat
– eggs
– fish
– vegetable proteins such as beans and nuts

Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits can also give you a quick boost of energy, but don’t overdo it. Foods that provide you with B vitamins, such as B12 and B6, vitamin D, and iron, can also help boost your energy levels. B vitamins and iron are especially important in supporting digestion and the metabolic processes that convert nutrients in your diet into usable energy.

Finally, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water (and not too much caffeine, alcohol, or sugary drinks), as hydration is essential to feeling your best.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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