Protein vs. Carbs: What Do You Need For Energy?
I’m sure you’ve realized that the food you eat on a daily basis can either elevate or depress your energy levels. Your food choices also play a role in whether you are focused and motivated, or calm and sedated. So what will actually provide you with sustained energy? Protein or Carbs?
To experience this firsthand, pay attention to what you have for lunch and how you feel afterwards. Have you noticed that a high-carbohydrate lunch can make you feel sleepy and sluggish? Or that eating quality protein in the middle of the day will keep you more alert through the afternoon? Personally, even though I am not allergic to gluten, I know that if I eat bread mid-day, I get major brain fog and have trouble staying on task. If I eat eggs instead, I find myself to be focused and motivated.
Carbohydrates can make you feel tired because they increase your brain’s level of the amino acid tryptophan which causes your brain to make the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is important for normal sleep patterns, but it’s probably not what you need to make it through a busy day at work. Eating protein, however, raises the levels of the amino acid tyrosine, which prompts your brain to manufacture the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. These guys will keep you energized by promoting alertness and activity.
Protein is the perfect food to avoid the afternoon slump!
So if you want to take a siesta after lunch, carbohydrates are your jam. But if you want to remain alert and need to make important decisions, adding a small amount of quality protein to your lunch will serve you much better!