Do you ever wake up and feel absolutely exhausted for no reason? I know I’ve had days where no matter how much I sleep or nap or drink caffeine, I just don’t feel any energy. I never knew why I felt so depleted, and never thought about how it could be my diet.

After some research, I realized that the food I ate the day before is what is sucking all of the energy out of me. So, watch out for these 15 foods that might be stealing away your strength.

1. Pasta

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Photo by Carra Clemons

Ah, carbohydrates. They give you that boost of energy, but refined carbs can cause a rise in blood sugar and a drop in insulin – this is what may cause that fatigue and weakness you feel the next day after an all-you-can-eat pasta bar. 

2. Orange Juice

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Photo by Darya Silchenko

Always have that glass of OJ in the morning with your breakfast? Well, that might be why you feel so drained later. A lot of orange juice has high-fructose corn syrup, added sugar, and artificial flavors and colors. Even the healthier brands still contain high levels of fructose. So ditch that glass, peel an orange and eat that thing fresh.  

3. Yogurt

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Photo courtesy of dailyreporter.com

Non-fat, plain, and Greek yogurt is fantastic and holds many health benefits. But, most yogurt should be avoided. Yogurt has high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and fruits, and other chemicals unwanted by your body. 

4. Alcohol

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Photo by Sharon Cho

Yeah, alcohol may make you pass out and ‘sleep’ until the next afternoon, but that sleep that you’re getting isn’t actually reloading your energy levels. Alcohol reduces the amount of time that a person spends in their REM (rapid eye movement) cycle.

According to an interview with Dr. John Shneerson for DrinkAware, As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body can come out of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from. That’s why you often wake up after just a few hours sleep when you’ve been drinking.”

Drinking alcohol can cause people to go straight into deep sleep, which makes them miss the first stage of REM. So, instead of having the usual 6-7 cycles of REM, alcohol may reduce that to only one or two. This is what takes away from your total amount of “real” sleep. That raging hangover isn’t the only reason you’re barely crawling out of bed.

#SpoonTip: Red wine has high levels of melatonin, so even if you don’t drink ‘til you pass out, a glass of red wine will be sure to make you feel drowsy. 

5. Cereal

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Photo by Darya Silchenko

Cereals are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, genetically modified corn, and more unhealthy chemicals and refined carbs- especially the really tasty cereals. While you might have a sugar rush for a little bit after having those Lucky Charms, the crash will be on its way. 

6. Iron-Low Foods

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Photo by Darya Silchenko

Not getting enough iron in a diet may cause a person to feel tired and weak. Foods with high iron content include dark leafy greens, organ meats and red meat.

#SpoonTip: If you think you’re lacking in iron, a good alternative could be iron supplements. But keep in mind that too much iron intake isn’t healthy either. 

7. Soda

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Photo by Darya Silchenko

Soda is obviously filled with sugar. Similar to coffee and cereal, soda will cause blood sugar levels to rise for a little while, and then crash. According to an article in Psychology Today, the lingering effects of caffeine can “diminish sleep quality.” Soda can change what kind of sleep you get. Even a full night of sleep may not give you the liveliness you need during the day. And like coffee, that crash may lead to wanting more. More soda, more problems.

8. Bagels

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Photo by Darya Silchenko

Love food comas? Eat some bagels. High in refined carbs but lacking enough nutritive value, bagels can take away the stamina you need to get through the day.

9. Turkey

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Photo courtesy of turkeyandgeese.com

Turkey has a natural sedative in it called tryptophan. It’s an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. Turkey skin also takes a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. This takes away blood flow from the rest of the body, also taking away your energy while it’s at it. Turkey isn’t the only reason so many people feel tired after a Thanksgiving meal, but it’s a factor. 

10. Coffee

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Photo by Darya Silchenko

I know what you’re thinking, how can the only thing keeping my eyes open in the morning be what’s actually taking away my energy? While coffee gives you that needed boost of energy to get your day started, it takes it away in the long run once you start to crash.

Also, coffee loaded with syrup and sugar or artificial sweeteners will suck that energy out of you later. So, before you down that venti white mocha with two espresso shots, three packets of Splenda, and an extra pump of vanilla, just remember that I warned you.

#SpoonTip: After finishing your coffee, drink a glass of water. This may lead to multiple trips to the bathroom later, but it’ll help minimize the effects of the crash later.

11. Fried Foods

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Photo by Darya Silchenko

Fried chicken, calamari, French fries, and potato chips. That sounds delicious, but only if you have a day to just lay around. Fried foods make your digestive system work extra hard to process all the fats. Overworking your body will take away from your well-being.

12. White Bread

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Photo courtesy of emaxhealth.com

Refined starches result in high blood sugar levels. Eating white bread will surely exhaust your energy levels. Since bread has numerous negatives, cutting it out of your diet will really benefit your health.

#SpoonTip: Try looking more for whole grain or sprouted grain bread. High-fiber bread slows down digestion, which helps keep blood sugar balanced. 

13. Fruit Smoothies

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Photo by Christin Urso

Fruit smoothies are credited with giving us our daily doses of fruits in an easy to drink and delicious blend. But, they contain high amounts of fructose, and usually a lot of added sugar as well. Most smoothies as not as healthy as you really want to believe they are. 

#SpoonTip: Avoiding a meal will rob you of your power as much as, if not even more than, these foods will. When a person doesn’t eat for a while, their body starts to conserve energy because it thinks you’re in a famine. Don’t lie to your body, it won’t react nicely.