We’ve all experienced that telltale energy slump, whether it’s mid-morning or mid-afternoon. We just need a little something to boost our energy and shake off the fatigue. Some of the things we turn to in energy emergencies, like caffeine, bread or sugar, need to be ingested in MODERATION. In excess, these three food items can bring you down. We find all of these food items on the Military Diet, but moderation is the key.
Gluten, an energy drainer
Some of those “amber waves of grain” are actually sucking your energy. Particularly gluten (the protein found in wheat and other grains). Within the last 50 years, we’ve started consuming a lot more gluten because our food products are made with highly refined wheat flour. Countless auto-immune diseases are attributed to gluten, like Celiac disease (where the immune system attacks the small intestines) or “Leaky Gut” (when the intestinal wall becomes damaged and some undigested food particles “leak” into the bloodstream).
Even mild sensitivities to wheat/gluten can deplete your energy. Any time your body is focused on a “threat” to its system, it sends out an immune response to fight, using all of your available energy resources to do so. It’s no wonder gluten can zap your energy! We recommend the best grains money can buy on the Military Diet, forget the Wonder bread.
Sugar, the rush and crash
If you’ve ever seen a kid with a bag of Halloween candy, you know where the term “sugar rush” comes from! But shortly after that rush comes the crash. The crash is your body recovering from that brief energy surge and it actually requires a much GREATER use of your energy. Sugar activates your adrenal glands, releasing adrenaline and cortisol (normally released during periods of stress). Your heart rate and blood pressure increase and as your blood sugar rises, your pancreas then releases insulin.
Chronic stimulation of the adrenals and pancreas wears them down and they simply stop functioning. It becomes a Boy Who Cried Wolf situation. When confronted with real stress, your body shuts down. You are left with fatigue and a craving for MORE sugar. When your bodily systems are exhausted, of course you will be too.
Caffeine, the rise and fall
Caffeine is seen as the ultimate energy pick me up. Feeling tired? Just have some coffee. Right? Wrong. Whether it’s in coffee, soda, or in any of the heavily marketed energy drinks, caffeine affects your body in almost the same exact way sugar does. Your adrenal glands (your energy regulators) secrete energy hormones even if there aren’t enough to spare. Your body becomes stuck in a constant state of “fight or flight”. Your liver is forced to release more glucose into the bloodstream which creates a blood sugar high that is then followed by a huge drop in blood sugar.
Caffeine, which can stay in your system anywhere from 8 to 30 hours, also constricts blood vessels, decreasing circulation. All your energy is being depleted internally in the struggle to regulate your exhausted bodily systems. What remains is fatigue and a craving to experience the rush again. Caffeine is used as a metabolism booster on the 3 day Military Diet but we don’t recommend drinking more than 2 cups of coffee a day.