June 18, 2024

Every day, it’s lurking — somewhere in the window between lunch and dinner, waiting to sap your energy and motivation.

It’s the midday slump, that time of afternoon when many people succumb to fatigue, lethargy and a general decline in productivity.

But you don’t have to surrender to the post-lunch “food coma,” according to Dr. Christopher Rhodes, a nutritional biologist and CEO of Mimio Health in Davis, California.

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Rhodes — whose mission is to “improve society’s cellular health and longevity through nutrition, vitamins and supplements to reach peak human performance” — revealed some of his practical tips to keep energy levels high all day long.

1. Resist grazing or food ‘teasing’
2. Keep glucose in check
3. Optimize your health with a daily supplement
4. Consider quitting coffee
5. Eat a nutritionally rich lunch
6. Get active after eating

Mid-day slump

During the midday slump, many people succumb to fatigue, lethargy and a general decline in their productivity. (iStock)

1. Resist grazing or ‘food teasing’

Snacking throughout the day can cause your body to want greater amounts of food, causing a spike in blood sugar and sleepiness, Rhodes cautioned.

“While eating smaller portions throughout the day may seem like a great way to stave off hunger, it can actually have the opposite effect,” he told Fox News Digital. 

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“Small snacks often don’t meet our body’s satiation thresholds — meaning that while food is coming in, it’s not biologically sufficient to actually make us feel less hungry.”

The opposite can actually be true, he noted, as small amounts of food often stimulate hunger and appetite. 

“This isn’t just a side effect of eating, but actually a design feature in almost all manufactured or packaged snacks, which are formulated specifically to cause cravings by giving intense bursts of flavor that fade quickly,” Rhodes said. 

Snacking throughout the day can cause the body to want greater amounts of food, causing a spike in blood sugar and sleepiness, a nutritionist warned. (iStock)

“There’s a reason you can’t eat just one potato chip.”

Consistently eating high-carbohydrate snacks or meals can also lead to compounding glucose spikes throughout the day, the expert said — which can lead to brain fog, emotional swings and energy crashes.

“There’s a reason you can’t eat just one potato chip.”

When choosing snacks, the best options are whole-food products like nuts, fruits or jerky, which can provide healthy fats, fiber and protein.

These choices do a better job of slowing digestion, keeping you feeling full and balancing glucose spikes, Rhodes advised.

2. Keep glucose in check

Glucose is the body’s preferred energy source, and its levels are tied to “a thousand different biological processes” that affect everything from energy to mood to metabolism, Rhodes said. 

“The body is very good at using and processing glucose within a specific range, but go too low or too high and that’s where you get into trouble,” he warned. 

Processed foods

Glucose spikes from high-carb and high-sugar foods can provide a quick burst of energy, but this will soon fade and leave behind sluggishness, brain fog and mood reduction, the expert said. (iStock)

Glucose spikes from high-carb and high-sugar foods can provide a quick burst of energy, but this will soon fade and leave behind sluggishness, brain fog and mood reduction, according to Rhodes. 

“The key to sustained energy is keeping your glucose levels balanced in normal ranges throughout the day,” he said.

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The best way to achieve this is to pair carbohydrates with healthy fats, proteins and fibers that help to slow digestion and extend a sharp glucose spike into a smooth, even curve, he said. 

3. Optimize your health with a daily supplement

“Outside of glucose spikes, there are plenty of other negative effects caused by or associated with the postprandial (post-meal) state in the body,” Rhodes said. 

“Food can be very disruptive to our natural metabolic homeostasis, as it floods our systems with sugars and fats, diverts energy toward digestion and away from other processes, and introduces foreign molecules into the body that trigger immune responses.”

Woman holding pills

A fasting supplement is designed to help reduce dietary inflammation, control hunger throughout the day, and reduce the post-meal slump. Before taking any new supplements, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or medical professional. (iStock)

Rhodes recommended taking a fasting supplement like Mimio, which his company designed to improve cellular health, energy, cognition and performance. 

“It’s the world’s first fasting mimetic supplement, designed from seven years of clinical fasting research at UC Davis to provide the beneficial protective effects of a prolonged fast in a simple daily pill,” he said.

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A fasting supplement is designed to help reduce dietary inflammation, control hunger throughout the day and reduce the post-meal slump, Rhodes said.

Before taking any new supplements, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or medical professional.

4. Consider quitting coffee

Drinking coffee causes sharp upward and downward energy spikes, as well as creating a false sense of adrenaline, Rhodes said.

“Just like sugar, caffeine can provide short, intense bursts of energy that often leave us feeling even more miserable and sluggish just a few hours later,” Rhodes said. 

Woman drinking coffee

Drinking coffee causes sharp upward and downward energy spikes, as well as creating a false sense of adrenaline, according to the expert. (iStock)

“And just like sugar, the best way to prevent these spikes is to pair caffeine with things that can slow its digestion and smooth out its utilization in the body.”

Instead of coffee, he suggested sipping on green tea, which contains an amino acid called L-Theanine. 

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If you do drink caffeine, Rhodes recommended combining it with a meal that includes healthy fats, fiber and protein — or pairing it with L-Theanine, which has been shown to help reduce the jitteriness and distractibility that can come from caffeine alone. 

“Green tea tends to provide a much more balanced experience than coffee.”

“L-Theanine and caffeine are both naturally present in green tea, which is why green tea tends to provide a much more balanced experience than coffee,” Rhodes said.

“It also has a multitude of other benefits, from enhancing cellular stress resistance to improving gut, heart and brain health.” 

5. Eat a nutritionally rich lunch

“The best way to keep yourself energized and satisfied throughout the day is to prioritize the nutritional density of your lunches,” Rhodes said.

Low-carb lunches — such as chicken salad, fibrous veggies, and healthy fats like avocado and nuts — will help slow digestion and gastric emptying while providing an energy source for your body, according to the nutritionist.

Healthy eating

Low-carb lunches — such as chicken salad, fibrous veggies, and healthy fats like avocado and nuts — will help slow digestion and gastric emptying while providing an energy source for your body, according to the nutritionist. (iStock)

“While carbohydrate-rich foods will provide you with a quick burst of energy, they can lead to glucose spikes that can throw your systems out of balance — and they typically contain fewer micronutrients and bioactives that support cognition, energy production and productivity.”

Instead, Rhodes recommended crafting meals that are rich in healthy fats, fiber and proteins.

“The best way to keep yourself energized and satisfied throughout the day is to prioritize the nutritional density of your lunches.”

Some examples are protein-rich salads, hearty vegetable soups, or more traditional rice and noodle dishes that replace the carbs with veggie alternatives, like cauliflower “rice” and zucchini “noodles.” 

“Fiber helps to provide volume to a meal without contributing any extra calories, and forms a gel-like matrix in your stomach that helps to trap other nutrients, so they’re released more slowly during digestion,” Rhodes noted. 

Healthy eating

“Fiber helps to provide volume to a meal without contributing any extra calories,” a nutritionist said. (iStock)

Fats like avocado and nuts help to keep you fuller for longer.

“Proteins are the most slowly digested macronutrient — and as an added bonus, they have the highest ‘thermic effect,’ meaning the body has to burn more calories to digest proteins than any other nutrient,” Rhodes said.

6. Get active after eating

When you eat, your glucose level spikes, and it is best to use up that consumed energy quickly to keep your levels balanced, according to Rhodes. 

“This is also a great time to take advantage of a brain break, so you can return to work refreshed,” he said.

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Physical activity immediately after eating can help balance out glucose spikes.

“After a meal, your body naturally reprioritizes its energy toward digestion and metabolism, putting other organ systems like your muscles and brain on the back burner,” he told Fox News Digital.

walk on treadmill

Performing any physical activity after a meal will help to shift energy utilization back to your muscles and brain, the expert said. (iStock)

Performing any physical activity after a meal — whether it’s taking a walk, climbing stairs, gardening or even doing household chores will help to shift energy use back to your muscles and brain, Rhodes said. 

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“Instead of breaking down the nutrients in your meal and storing the energy for later (usually as fat), post-meal exercise helps shuttle the newly created energy directly to your cells for immediate use — and has been shown to help smooth out glucose absorption curves to provide more balanced, stable energy,” he added.

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