Rick Miller, clinical and sports dietitian (rick-miller.co.uk), on how to breeze that 4pm slump
One of the most common complaints among patients in my clinic is a lack of energy. After addressing the basics - their sleep pattern, any food sensitivities they may have and general stress-inducers such as their work/life balance, we talk about diet.
When we’re tired we tend to turn to refined carbohydrates: cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks and anything with a high sugar content to give us that ‘buzz’. The problem is, that energy rush is short-lived.
Our bodies compensate for the sky-rocketing blood glucose (sugar) levels these foods induce by putting out a compensatory amount of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar balance. Our blood glucose can then plummet, which often leaves us feeling more tired than before.
The solution is to reach for a natural pick-me-up with a medium to low Glycaemic Index (GI). The GI scale is a measure of the blood glucose response to foods that contain carbohydrates and dietary sugars as we digest them. The scale goes from 0 to 100, with foods like cakes, biscuits, pastries and fizzy drinks scoring 70 or above - these are the main culprits for the glucose spike. Those foods with a medium score of between GI 55-70 usually contain more dietary fibre, different types of sugars and protein or fats, all of which slow the energy release. Ripe bananas, traditionally dried fruit such as California Raisins and oatcakes all have a medium GI. Finally, foods with a GI score of 55 or lower – including apples, berries, yoghurt, milk and nuts - provide the slowest energy release. California Raisins are unique, naturally sweet and contain an equal balance of the sugars fructose and glucose. As fructose is digested slowly, the energy release is much more gradual.
In fact, a recent study highlighted how 10 healthy people given a serving (28g) of California Raisins as opposed to white bread, had a much lower blood glucose response over a two-hour period. In US studies involving patients who have type II diabetes (the symptoms of which include low energy when blood glucose is not controlled) were given raisins as a snack. Results showed 16-23 percent lower blood glucose levels compared to eating processed snacks. Over a period of 12 weeks patients had a 19 percent lower fasting blood glucose level overall.
So if you’re struggling with energy dips throughout the day, rather than reach for the biscuit tin, keep a snack-sized pack of California Raisins in your bag or desk drawer for a natural energy boost.
You can find out more about Rick at rick-miller.co.uk
For further information please contact The California Raisins Administrative Committee on 01628 535 755 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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