Quick fixes are not effective energy boosters

By on April 26, 2006

The busy schedules college students typically have often leave them complaining of fatigue or an overall lack of energy. With the end of the semester and finals approaching, the work load is only going to make students feel that much more drained.

One way individuals can reduce fatigue is by paying close attention to their diets to ensure that they are filling up on foods rich in energy rather than quick fixes.

“When I know I have a night of work ahead of me I usually grab a soda or some candy, anything that will give me a boost of energy,” said A.J. Milardo, a junior broadcast journalism major.

Milardo’s method is common among college students when work piles up, however, in the end it does not adequately serve its purpose and ultimately leaves a person feeling more fatigued than they did before they loaded up on the these kinds of foods.

According to Julia VanTine of Prevention magazine, “Simple carbohydrates, like sugar, tend to break down so fast that, after providing a short-lived burst of energy, they leave your blood sugar levels low, your energy inadequate, and your plans for the day unaccomplished.”

Caffeine also tends to be a common go to for students who feel fatigued.

“If I am really tired and know I still have a lot of work to do, there are some days I’ll have up to four cups a day,” said Claudia Levine, junior interactive digital design major.

Caffeine, however, is one of the worst things a person can rely on as an energy source, at least in the long term.

Although caffeine may give an initial boost, it also dehydrates, which can cause feelings of fatigue. Caffeine prevents inadequate iron absorption; a process the body needs to carry out to produce ample amounts of energy.

“Food or drink containing caffeine can produce short-term energy, but in the long run they sap the body of nutrients,” said Jonathan Kandell of the counseling center at the University of Maryland.

According to an article on IVilliage.com Web site titled “Brain Food,” “high-protein foods cause more sustained blood sugar levels.”

More sustained blood sugar levels, not only provides longer lasting sufficient amounts of energy, but they also will help concentration levels. According to IVillage, high-protein foods like nuts, seeds, cheese, eggs and meat are good energy sources. Vitamin-C that is found in most fruits and vegetables can also provide a good source of energy, as does meat which also provides the body with better iron absorption.

Fitness Magazine state that “only iron found in animal foods like beef, lamb or poultry, is directly absorbed into the body. Vegetable iron isn’t absorbed as efficiently.” If too many of these energy-rich foods are consumed at one time, an individual may experience little of any increase in energy.

Stacey Whittle, RD, a registered dietitian in the department of hospitality services at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles says that portions and timing are a large part of energy levels.

“If you watch your portion size and take time for that midmorning and mid-afternoon snack, you’ll be surprised at how positively your energy levels are affected.


About Erin Elfeldt