We all know that the food you eat plays an integral part in how you feel, including how much energy you have. On a balanced diet, most people should aim for around 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fat, or thereabouts. Carbohydrates are the body’s source of glucose, which our bodies use to convert into energy, not only for the activities we partake in but for our basic bodily functions too. So, it’s easy to say (in a simplistic manner) that carbs provide us with energy. But it is also easy to overeat carbohydrates and consume more than you need, which can leave you feeling sluggish or lethargic. Your body will also store excess energy (that which it does not need to use) as fat and if you consume more energy than you use, it can lead to weight gain.
How do you get more energy on a low carb diet?
If you’re following a low carb diet, or considering reducing your carbohydrate intake, you may be wondering where you can get your energy from if you’re not consuming your body’s preferred source of energy. When you switch to a low carb diet, your body begins to use fat for energy. If you have excess fat stores and are overweight, your body will begin to use this, burning fat to provide you with energy. For your body to get the energy it needs to function properly and perform the activities you do; you need to ensure you are fuelling your body with the right nutrients to keep your energy levels high enough. When you first switch to a low-carb diet, you may find yourself flagging a little and feeling low in energy. This is perfectly normal during the transition from a high carb diet to a low carb diet.
The best ways to increase energy levels on a low carb diet
Make sure you are eating enough calories
Many forms of carbohydrates can be higher in calories per gram than foods high in protein or fat and many people that drastically reduce the amount of carbohydrates in their diet can find themselves eating far fewer calories than they need at first. A good way to ensure you are eating the correct number of calories you need to fuel your day is to track what you are eating using a nutritional tracker such as MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is also a good tool to use to ensure you are eating the right number of macronutrients like protein and fat when you reduce your carb intake too.
Increase the amount of fat you eat
Healthy fats from foods such as nuts, fish, avocados, and eggs are a great source of energy. Incorporating healthy fats into your meals will help increase your energy levels, help you feel fuller for longer, and help you absorb other essential nutrients like some vitamins and minerals.
Drink more water
Not only does water help with weight loss but it is also integral for keeping energy levels high. Try and always keep a water bottle nearby and make sure you sip from it regularly.
Eat foods high in fibre
Many carbohydrates are also high in fibre. So, when you reduce your carbohydrates significantly, it can also drastically reduce the amount of fibre in your diet too. Eating foods such as flax and chia seeds, avocados, blackberries and raspberries, coconut, almonds, and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, aubergine, and asparagus will help you get the fibre your body needs.
Eat regularly throughout the day
It is always best practice to spread your calorie intake throughout the day to avoid periods of hunger and low energy. This means eating at least three meals (at breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and healthy snacks in between if you need to. Using a tracker like MyFitnessPal will ensure you’re eating the right number of calories and help you manage your meals.
Eat more natural, unprocessed food
Eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, such as whole foods, is always better than eating processed food. When you do eat carbs, choose natural, nutrient dense foods like colourful fruit and vegetables, nuts, and seeds instead of chemical or sugar filled carbs that are full of “empty” calories.
It can seem counterintuitive that if you exercise more, you will have more energy. But as long as you are fuelling your body properly by eating enough calories and getting the right amounts of nutrients, exercising will help you feel more energised.
As long as you stick to the simple-to-follow advice above, a low carb diet can have you bursting with energy and keep you fit and healthy.