How What You Eat Affects Your Energy

Nutrition & Well-Being
07 October 2022Hubert Cormier, PhD in Nutrition

What you eat is to your body what gasoline (or now electricity!) is to a car. Food, once broken down into very small molecules, is the fuel that allows your body to have the energy it needs to do all kinds of activities, however diverse they may be: hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, yoga, etc. But like gasoline, there are many options! You can choose to put in regular or high-grade fuel! Depending on your daily food choices, your body will not react in the same way. This is why some people seem to have more energy than others. Could it be power-related? At least, in part! Let’s explain.

Food constantly influences energy levels, as the proportions of the main macronutrients (i.e. carbohydrates, fats and proteins) vary from meal to meal depending on the composition of said meal and according to the quantities consumed. Undoubtedly, this will induce a different glycemic response, so blood sugar levels will vary at all meals/snacks.

In some cases, too high a carbohydrate intake without protein or fat consumed at the same time could induce hyperglycemia. Blood sugar will thus play yo-yo all day, generating energy peaks and, conversely, certain moments of fatigue. "To counteract this phenomenon and have energy all day long, it is important to make good food choices, both in terms of quality and quantity."

Food profiles, an index of quality!
Not all calories are equal! Rather than just focusing on calories, new research shows that diet quality is also key in determining what you should be eating to ensure a state of well-being and enough energy. Dietary profiles have a direct impact on well-being1. Rather than choosing foods based on calorie value alone, consider choosing healthy foods with high nutritional quality and minimizing nutrient-poor foods instead.

In the scientific literature, there are two food profiles: the Prudent profile composed mainly of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and the Western profile composed mainly of meats, foods high in saturated fat and of refined sugars. Depending on whether you adhere more to a profile, that is to say that your diet consists of many foods from the same profile, your risk of developing certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease or cancer, is different. This could be because your food choices, healthy or unhealthy, influence your body's metabolic signature2. In other words, by eating healthy foods, you eat more like the Prudent profile and you will have different concentrations of small metabolites in your body which will then be favorable to your health. In addition, the Prudent dietary profile may even reduce the future risk of depression3.

Foods of high nutritional quality include fruits, vegetables, healthy sources of protein, and whole grains. Bread is an example of a food which may be rich in whole grains. Bon Matin® also offers No Sugar, No Fat Added Seed Lovers Bread , which contains 7 grams of fibre and 46 grams of whole grains per serving of 2 slices. It's a great way to easily add whole grains to your diet for breakfast with toast or French toast, or at dinner to make a delicious sandwich!

Here are some other examples of healthy food combinations to include in your diet:

In short, try to opt mainly for foods of high nutritional quality, allowing yourself, of course, a few sweet treats from time to time. As a result, you will be bursting with energy, while making choices that guarantee good health!

1 Dalton, A. G., & Logomarsino, J. V. (2014). The relationship between dietary intake and the six dimensions of wellness in older adults. International Journal of Wellbeing, 4(2).
2 Chandler, P. D., Balasubramanian, R., Paynter, N., Giulianini, F., Fung, T., Tinker, L. F., ... & Rexrode, K. M. (2020). Metabolic signatures associated with Western and Prudent dietary patterns in women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 112(2), 268-283.
3 Jacka, F. N., Cherbuin, N., Anstey, K. J., & Butterworth, P. (2014). Dietary patterns and depressive symptoms over time: examining the relationships with socioeconomic position, health behaviours and cardiovascular risk. PloS one, 9(1), e87657.