What you eat and how much you consume can contribute to or trigger fatigue, warns Heart Foundation WA public health nutrition manager Emma Groves.

Skipping meals or overly strict diets can lead to iron and vitamin deficiencies or result in low energy due to too few kilojoules or food groups being left out. Common examples included soup or fruit detox diets or banning carbohydrates.

“You need to make sure you are getting enough to meet the needs of daily functioning, ” she said. “And remember, the most effective weight loss is long term and reasonably slow.”

Not eating well and being tired also increased the likelihood of resorting to using high-fat, high-sugar foods as a pick-me-up, particularly chocolate or sugary drinks.

“You might find yourself too tired to make a healthy meal and plan healthy snacks and end up tucking into a fast-food meal that is rapidly absorbed and in half an hour leaves you feeling as hungry as before you ate, ” she said.

To combat this, she advised keeping on hand quick-fix meals such as omelette and vegetables, stir-fry, salmon and salad and snacks including yoghurt, wholemeal crackers and cheese, and fruit and nuts.

High doses of caffeine were also being relied on by some as a short term pick-me-up rather than determining and addressing the true cause of people’s fatigue.

“People can become dependent on coffee and it is drunk to keep them going, ” Ms Groves said. “But in a couple of hours, it will have worn off.

“If this is the case, you need to look at other possible problems.”

© The West Australian

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