When you start dragging your heals around 3:00 in the afternoon and then literally drag your heals to the vending machine for a sugary energy boost, turns out the sweet Charleston Chew (do they make those anymore?) or the bag of jelly beans are some of the worst things you could get. The best? Planter’s Mixed Nuts, a protein-rich granola bar, or another similarly high-protein snack.
Researchers dedicated to understanding the afternoon slump and then beating it with food (slump quashers), just published their recent findings in the journal Neuron. Apparently the orexin cells in your brain–which stimulate wakefulness and tell your body to use up energy–are not only blocked by glucose (carbs/sugar), but the amino acids in protein actually block the blocking ability of the glucose. Block blockers! So, once your lunch has digested and a whole army of glucose is floating around your bloodstream, you’ll start to get sleeeeepy. But no you wont! Eat some protein sans sugar (unsweetened nuts, edamame beans, etc.) and quash that snoozy feeling. As an added bonus, grabbing protein rather than pretzels, fruit, or candy this time of day actually helps with weight control too. Read more about those details and your new friends the orexin cells here.
For avid Bitchin’ Dietitian followers, you may remember my VERY FIRST BLOG POST addressed this important topic, and it looks like I pretty much nailed it.