The diet mistake that makes chronic exhaustion worse

Tired Office Man

Do you ever have days, weeks or heck – even entire months where you ask yourself, “why am I so tired all the time?” Of course, your brain already has the answer which sounds like: “I’m working all the time, trying to stay on top of endless errands and chores, trying to maintain a social life and squeeze in time at the gym to look good for summer. Heeeeelp I’m drowning!“. But then how is it that some people manage to do it with a bounce in their step?

Source: www.agirlofalltrades.comSource: www.agirlofalltrades.com

If you’ve tried exercising more, practising yoga, meditating, or buying an “anti-stress” tea or supplement…and yet you’re still feeling worn down…here’s what you might be doing wrong: eating a diet that messes up your blood sugar balance. 

Allow me to explain (fair warning, I’m about to go full-out science on you, but I’ll make it as simple to understand as possible):

Our adrenal glands make a number of hormones, one of which is known as cortisol (the stress hormone). When someone is in a state of chronic stress, cortisol is being constantly secreted. One of the roles of cortisol is to pump out glucose to supply the body with enough energy to cope during the time of stress.

Of course, over time the adrenals become exhausted and worn out from pumping out cortisol all the time, which inevitably leads to lower cortisol production. So if you’re stressed out and not making enough cortisol, how are you going to get your glucose for energy? Perhaps reach for a muffin or granola bar to get a quick fix? Ding ding! We have a winner.

Now this is where the vicious cycle begins, and pay close attention to this explanation.

If you have low adrenal function, you will make low cortisol and will not pump out enough glucose, which will cause you to reach for a sugary snack for energy. A high influx of sugar (whether natural or synthetic) will trigger insulin release, in order to get glucose into the cells. If this cycle is repeated often enough, your cells will become insulin resistant, which means they get tired of insulin incessantly knocking at the door to be let in. The cells learn to ignore insulin’s cries to get into the cells.

So where does that leave your body? Your cells are now insulin resistant, and won’t allow insulin to come in and give them glucose. So your body turns to cortisol for help, but your adrenals are too worn out and exhausted. They push even harder, but it’s not enough. Guess what happens next? Your brain tells you to pick up another muffin because it’s not getting the glucose it needs.

It’s like a never-ending roller coaster, and so many people are trapped and just want to get off!

If this sounds like you, all hope is not lost. The key to getting back your adrenal health (and energy levels) has to begin with balancing your blood sugar levels at every meal to slowly reverse your insulin resistance and give your adrenals a break.

Here’s what you can do to balance your blood sugar levels:

  • Each a low-glycemic diet. This means avoiding refined carbs (white pasta, white rice, sliced bread, cookies, muffins, bagels, donuts), fruit juice, pop and minimizing high sugar fruits (dates, bananas).
  • Ensure each meal has adequate protein, fat, and fibre. All three of these nutrients ensure slower release of glucose into your bloodstream.
  • Consume a Tbsp. of flax oil or coconut oil at each meal. Adding a good fat will slow down the release of glucose into your bloodstream.
  • Avoid refined sugar found in candy, chocolate, granola bars etc.
  • Cut back or avoid coffee. Caffeine exhausts the adrenal glands and further exacerbates the problem.

This has to be the first step. Period. Reducing simple carbs and sugar, while increasing fibre, protein and fat will slowly begin to return you to a less “hangry” state of mind and help you regain your natural energy. 

Once you’ve got that down, your stress management techniques and supplementation will be able to work more effectively!

About Alina

I'm a Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, Canada and my official title is Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP). I received my diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. I'm a coach and an educator. Follow Alina on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
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