When we consume food, we are said to be taking energy or assimilating energy or ‘energy in’, and when we work, exercise, or undertake any physical activity, we are said to be dissipating energy or giving out energy or ‘energy out’.

Nutritional Imbalance: How Does It Affect Energy Levels?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Weight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out”?

This popular phrase refers to calorie deficits being key for weight loss.

While this may hold true, it is also essential to consider how lifestyle choices and nutrition affects energy levels and overall health.

Eating 1,500 calories of junk food daily versus 1,500 calories from a balanced, nutritious diet will create different health outcomes.

In this article, we’ll look at how nutritional imbalances affect energy levels, the best vitamins for energy, how nutrition affects fatigue, and ways to support a balanced energy state.


What Is an Energy Imbalance in Nutrition?

Energy in’ refers to calories consumed through foods and beverages

Energy out’ refers to how our body utilizes calories to meet daily energy requirements.

Energy balance’ refers to the ‘energy in’ and ‘energy out’ relationship.

This energy relationship — how many calories you consume compared to how many you burn — dictates whether you lose, gain, or maintain your weight. However, an energy imbalance affects more than just weight.

A positive or negative energy balance can affect your mood, overall health, hormones, energy levels, and metabolism. ms.

Both negative and positive energy states can throw the body out of balance. The right nutrition and lifestyle choices can prevent you from experiencing drastic shifts to positive or negative energy states.


Negative Energy Balance

If you consume too few calories to support the amount of energy your body needs to sustain digestion, nutrient transport, activity, and daily function, it can lead to weight loss.

However, too much of a negative energy balance can have negative effects, such as decreased metabolic rate, reduced hormone levels, reduced physical performance, sleep issues, agitation, and concentration issues.


Positive Energy Balance

A positive energy state refers to consuming more calories than your body needs. A positive energy balance can lead to negative effects on your health and weight gain.

While overeating and underexercising can lead to a positive energy state that makes you gain weight, it can also be necessary for individuals who want to gain lean muscle.

A positive energy balance is necessary for lean muscle gain but it has to be paired with the right exercise routine.

A positive energy balance is necessary for lean muscle gain but it has to be paired with the right exercise routine.


The Connection Between Fatigue and Nutrition

Do you notice a ‘slump’ mid-day where you crave a hit of caffeine or a sugary snack?

Hectic lifestyles, stress, and poor nutrition can all hurt energy levels.

Indulging in a sweet snack or caffeinated drink can temporarily give you energy. Unfortunately, these approaches often cause a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash that leaves you feeling even more tired than before.

To help prevent fatigue from nutrition, it is recommended to avoid or limit the following foods and beverages:

  • Carbs
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Processed meats
  • Red meat
  • Salmon
  • Leafy greens
  • Too much of anything (overeating foods, even healthy foods, can contribute to fatigue)

It may be surprising to see healthy foods, such as leafy greens, on the list. These are featured due to their ability to increase melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.

However, the other dietary benefits of foods like leafy greens and salmon make them important to still include in your diet. If you notice fatigue after eating healthy foods, try eating them later in the day as opposed to at breakfast time.

To help counteract the dehydrating effects, which can make you feel fatigued, of alcohol and caffeine, make sure to drink enough water.


How to Support Energy Levels with Diet and Lifestyle

To naturally support energy levels, it is important to consume a balanced diet filled with fresh foods, vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, and nutrients.

Try to consume a wide variety of foods to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to maintain balanced energy levels and fight off fatigue.

Here are tips for naturally supporting a balanced energy state with nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices:

  • Increase your physical activity
  • Incorporate regular weight training sessions into your exercise routine
  • Switch up your workout routine regularly to stimulate new muscles
  • Drink enough water
  • Eat enough Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Get enough sleep (at least 7 to 9 hours every night)
  • Eat enough lean protein
  • Fill your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and high-fibre foods
  • Avoid fad diets or extreme diets
  • Consider an energy supplement
  • Avoid over-exercising
  • Keep your stress levels in check
  • Surround yourself with positive support from friends and family
  • Take part in your favourite hobbies regularly

Related Reading: 4 Ways to Naturally Boost Energy Levels


The Best Vitamins to Boost Your Energy Levels

A healthy, balanced diet should be adequate for supporting energy levels. While it is uncommon to experience a severe vitamin deficiency, it can be helpful to understand which vitamins affect energy levels.

Following are some of the vitamins that play key roles in energy metabolism and the foods they can be found in:

  • Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine) — Legumes, seeds, fish, whole grains, meat
  • Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) — Meat, eggs, green vegetables, fortified cereal, milk
  • Vitamin B-3 (Niacin) — Fortified foods, beef, poultry, legumes, fish, nuts
  • Vitamin B-12 — Meat, beef liver, fish, milk, nutritional yeast, eggs
  • Iron — Lean meats, poultry, seafood, kidney beans, lentils, nuts, spinach
  • Magnesium — Dark chocolate, legumes, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals, yogurt, whole grains, seeds, nuts

Note: It is possible to overdose on certain vitamins, or experience interactions with medications, so always check with your doctor before adding supplements to your routine. If you experience chronic fatigue, talk to your healthcare provider.

According to research, there is no special “energy diet”, but there are basic dietary principles that benefit the human body and the gut microbiome.


Want More Health Tips?

Our energy levels are regulated by a complex network of bodily systems. It is important to find the right nutritional balance to support overall health and maintain energy levels. Try to get enough sleep, stay active, and consume a healthy, balanced diet.

Get more health and wellness tips by checking out our blog, browsing our collection of easy, healthy recipes, or contacting us for personalized product recommendations. We’d love to hear from you and help support you on your wellness journey.