Energy and Addiction (Part1): How Energy Levels effect Food Addiction

Categories: Food Addiction

energy and addictionScience will define energy as the capacity to do work.  But what links energy and addiction – particularly food addiction?  This article will thoroughly discuss what energy is, its function to the body, and its connection to addiction.  In addition, this post also aims to give you tips on how to increase your energy level through activities, food, and supplements.




Why Does The Body Need Energy?

Whether you are asleep or awake, your body needs energy to function properly. This energy is supplied by our diet through the calories that we consume.

Energy helps repair and build our cells and tissues, invigorates our internal organs, and sustains us so that we may carry on with our daily activities.

Do you know that you still need energy even when you are sleeping?  This minimal energy required is called Basal Metabolic Rate.  When you are at rest, your body needs energy to support your body’s essential organs and systems – circulation, digestion, excretion, respiration, and others.  The amount of energy required depends on a person’s health, eating habits, gender, age, and body type.

Your physique or body type also determines the amount of energy you need.  Growing kids and young adults need all the energy they can get to support growth and changes in their still developing bodies.

About 10 percent of energy is needed to absorb nutrients and digest the food that we consume so that more energy is produced in return.  And for every kind of food, different amount of energy is essential to digest each of them.

Your daily activities also influence your body’s energy needs.  For instance, if you engage in rigorous activities or if you are highly active, you need more than those who lead a sedentary life.

Energy is a necessity for the brain as well.  In order for the brain to function well and carry on with its daily duties, it needs a sufficient quantity of energy.  According to studies, our brain cells need twice as much energy than the other cells in the body.  Without it, we would not be able to work, read, learn, or do mentally challenging exercises.  Problematic people or those who are under stress need this more as stressful situations are physically and mentally draining.


The Link Between Energy and Addiction

You may not think it’s possible but there is a clear link that connects energy (or lack thereof) and addiction.  Let’s take a look at a sugar addict’s life as an example.

The sugar addict rouses in the morning feeling sluggish and worn-out.  As usual, he is looking for his daily morning sugar fix to keep him up.  Not consuming anything overly sugary in the next hour or two already gives him a headache.  Why is this so?

Sugary substances are considered poison by the body.  When this “poison” enters our body, our nervous system automatically sends a signal to the responsible brain center to tell the rest of the body to get ready for a combat against the poison.

The brain center then instructs the heart to rapidly pump blood so that the poison immediately reaches the organs responsible for excreting waste from the body to prevent any internal damage.  As the heart pumps fast, the mind registers this as a temporary “high”.  This good feeling, being pleasant as it is, is addictive.

However, in an effort to eliminate the poison, the body exhausts all its resources and spends a huge amount of energy to facilitate recovery.  The heart reduces the circulation speed of the blood.  The brain then recognizes this and registers this as fatigue.  The more the heart works to get rid of the poison and the more energy it expends to eradicate the enemy, the more it will be stressed later.

The next day, being sluggish and tired again, the sugar addict increases his sugar fix so that he gets more energy and more high.  After which, his body is more tired than ever as more energy is spent just to eliminate more poison ingested by the body and to restore the body’s normal state.

The same thing happens the next day.  The fix or dosage is increased to get the much needed energy and high.  Unfortunately, the body struggles so much to abolish the poison to the point of exhaustion and collapse.

As you can see, this is a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.  The only way to remove this from our system is to get adequate energy that the body needs so as not to depend on “poisons” to perk you up. The more energy you have, the more you feel good about yourself.  And the more you feel good about yourself, the stronger you are to stay away from temptations (in this case food).


How To Increase Energy Level

To be able to stay away from over consuming food, you need to have all the energy you need throughout the day.  Here are some simple suggestions on how to increase your energy level.

increase energy

  1.  Staying hydrated is a cheap way to raise your energy level.  Water is a great source of energy so drink 8 to 10 glasses per day.  Energy drinks or vitamin water only add calories so I suggest that you stick to water.  But if you feel like water is too plain, blah, or boring, try adding oranges, or lemons for added flavor.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast.  A packed breakfast keeps you up for the entire day and keeps you full until lunch.  Oatmeal with fruits, whole-grain cereals, and eggs are great options to choose from.  And remember not to skip this meal!
  3. Get some sunlight.  Sunlight blocks the production of melatonin which is the hormone that stimulates sleep.  To get that much needed sunlight, keep your blinds open so the light wakes you up when the sun rises.  Move and stretch your body while you get your vitamin D.
  4. Try a morning workout.  Exercising releases happy hormones and reduces its stress counterpart.  The heightened energy level following the exercise lasts for about 8 hours, thus helping you prevent the morning slump.
  5. Power naps work.  Pushing ourselves to our physical, emotional, and mental limits can drain our energy.  To reverse the possible damage that this may cause, try a 10 to 60 minute power nap to rejuvenate you.
  6. Stay away from stressors.  Stress uses up too much energy thereby leaving you too little to manage other affairs in your life.  Deal with negativities and anger in a healthy way to keep your energy level high.  You can try relaxation activities like doing yoga (or other sweating out or busting some moves that de-stresses you). Or you can reading books, talking to friends or loved ones, listening to music, dancing, or more.  Do whatever it is that relaxes you.
  7. Have yourself checked by a doctor.  If you feel like you are frequently tired even after a long sleep (or rest), maybe it’s time to go to your doctor.  You might have a thyroid problem or anemia.


Energy Supplements

If you want to opt for a quick energy boost, energy supplements are your best bet.  Here are some that can guarantee instant alertness and higher energy level.

  1. Amino Acids – There are over 20 amino acids but two are known to boost energy.  Carnatine produces energy while Creatine builds muscles and lessens fatigue.
  2. B Vitamins – a cluster of different vitamins that contribute to better energy.  This group of vitamins works better as a team.
  3. COQ10 – CoEnzyme Q10 is said to provide cells with adenosine triphosphate which provides energy for the cells.
  4. Ginseng – helps the body adapt to stress, resist the daily wear and tear that causes fatigue.
  5. Royal Jelly – is a combination of pollen and honey made especially by the bees.  This jelly contains B-complex vitamins, minerals, and more.  It is said to be one of the most noteworthy energy supplements available in the market today.
  6. Rhodiola Rosea – this helps balance the body’s way of responding to stress.  How?  This herb stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain therefore helping the body cope with stress and keeping the body in its relaxed state.


Energy Boosting Food

Eating the proper and right amount of healthy food helps in getting rid of fatigue.  The list of the food below might help you gain more energy.

  1.  Nuts – are rich in magnesium and protein which are needed in converting sugar into energy.  Also, they are rich in fiber.  A spoonful of nuts will already give you a full tummy and keep you awake in the afternoon.  However, nuts are high in calories.  So if you don’t intend to gain more weight, don’t over eat.
  2. Fruits – are packed with healthy carbohydrates needed by the body to produce energy.  Apart from that, fruits also help you satisfy your sweet tooth.  In addition, they’re filled with vitamins and minerals to keep you away from sickness.
  3. Seafood – keep your heart healthy and your body energized with this delicious food group.  Fish and shellfish are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and iron.  Make sure that you get two servings of your seafood fill per week to get the recommended vitamins.
  4. Vegetables – your leafy greens carry all sorts of nutrients – from vitamins A to C, calcium, fiber, iron, and more.  Make sure you pick one that’s plush and intense in color.
  5. Lean meat – take away the fat from meat and skin from chicken and you get great supply of amino acids.  These amino acids combined with B vitamins help in battling fatigue and depression and boost your energy.


Food That Drains Energy

If there are foods that you need to consume to get the required energy needed daily, there are also foods that you need to avoid as they zap your energy.  Here they are:

  1. Alcohol – ever wonder why you feel suddenly tired after drinking?  The reason is that alcohol slows down your central nervous system.  As a result, you feel all used up and tired.
  2. Energy drinks – they may provide momentary relief and energy boost but will only cause your blood sugar levels to crash therefore making you more tired than ever.  Go for water instead.
  3. Fatty meat – the body will use up a lot of energy to be able to digest fatty meat consequently leaving you with little to use later.
  4. Pasta –  contains too much starch that reduces blood sugar level (please refer to the explanation in energy drinks). 



Clearly, there is a strong link between energy and food addiction.  If you want to manage your food addiction, you might want to increase your energy level to avoid relapse and to keep yourself from giving in to temptation.  As what I have said, the more energetic you are, the stronger you are to shun temptations.

Good luck!  I know very well that you can fight this addiction.  If you need more information, please feel free to browse to rest of this site.  Take care my friend.



Doriet von Fircks

About the author

Doriet von Fircks is a health practitioner and a nutrition expert.
She specializes in food related problems, such as food addiction.
After reading many articles about food addiction, especially lots of scientific journals, she realized that there was hardly any discussion about food addiction from a scientific perspective.
She updates the site frequently, ensuring that the latest scientific findings are always featured on If you have questions about this site or suggestions for improvement, please feel free to contact her.