Energy-Boosting Diet Makeover

Fatigued? Your diet could be keeping you down. Here's how to get back your energy.
Could your eating habits be blamed for your lagging energy level? The good news: Diet-related fatigue is one of the most easily corrected health problems. Check out these diet offenders and learn how you can put the vitality back in your life.

Energy zapper #1:

You're dehydrated

Dehydration reduces blood flow to your organs, leaving you sluggish. But it's not always easy to tell when you're not drinking enough: "Our thirst mechanisms aren't usually a good indicator of when we need water. When you become thirsty, chances are you are already mildly dehydrated," explains Dr. Susan Kleiner, an affiliate professor of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of Power Eating.

Diet Rx: If you only drink water when you are thirsty, you probably aren't drinking enough. As a general rule, aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids such as water every day. A good way to check if you're getting enough fluids: If your pee is clear or pale yellow, your body is sufficiently hydrated.

Energy zapper #2:

You're eating too little carbs

It's OK to crave carbs! The right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat eaten at regular intervals will help keep energy levels high. But the trick is to limit sugars and refined carbs like white bread, cookies and pasta, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, then crash, leaving you exhausted.

Diet Rx: At least 50 percent of your diet should come from carbohydrates, but opt for complex, slow-burning carbs like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, beans, lentils, fruits and veggies over the processed ones to control your blood sugar and keep a steady flow of energy.

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