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Food for a Quick Energy Boost

Updated April 17, 2017

Many different foods and nutrients can help with energy levels. Some foods will release energy more quickly and create a sensation of an energy boost. These foods are favourites of early risers, athletes and busy people who need more energy to finish their days. Other foods provide a more sustainable feeling of increased energy, and they will be discussed briefly, but the focus will be on foods that give a boost of energy.

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Perhaps the most common energy booster is caffeine. Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, chocolate and tea, and is added to soda and many energy drinks. Caffeine is a chemical that is a stimulant to the central nervous system which means it increases alertness. This nervous system stimulation gives people a temporary energy boost, and the effects can last up to six hours. Since caffeine is a stimulant it can make sleeping difficult for many people after consuming it.


Sugar comes in many forms and will give a person a temporary quick energy boost. Honey, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose and sucralose all offer a little kick. The body naturally breaks down the sugars found in most foods (including sugars found in fruits, breads and other whole foods), which sustains energy levels. However, when the sugar in someone's body (blood sugar) becomes too low, the person feels fatigued and eating sugary foods or drinks can create an energy boost. Unfortunately, an energy boost from simple sugars in juices, candy, sodas and other treats breaks down quickly resulting in a low sugar level and a drop in energy after the initial boost.

Fruits Paired With Fats

Fruits are high in natural sugar and can create a natural energy boost which will be more subtle and more sustaining than that provided by simple sugar when paired with fats. Nuts, for example have both fat and protein and this combination will help stabilise the sugar in fruit. Try a banana with almonds for an energy boost with less of a sugar low than you would get from a chocolate bar.

Energy Bars

Energy bars come in many variations and are popular with athletes, particularly endurance athletes such as those exercising for more than an hour and a half at a time. Energy bars often contain types of sugar, fats and protein. They help fuel an athlete to finish a workout after burning all the calories consumed before the work out started. Some energy bars are designed specifically for women, for low-fat or low-calorie, and come in many flavours.

Vitamin C

Foods containing Vitamin C, including orange juice, broccoli and strawberries, will help with energy. According to "Prevention" magazine "the connection between Vitamin C and how energetic you feel has to do with its role in producing carnitine, a molecule that helps your body burn fat for energy. "People likely have up to a 50 per cent drop in muscle carnitine levels when they are Vitamin C-depleted." Vitamin C is an easy vitamin to consume in food because it is so popular in citrus-based juices. Liquid is also absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream than food is, so opt for juices with a high Vitamin C content.

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About the Author

Frances Hall

Frances Hall is a librarian and writing and women's and gender studies instructor. Hall has written for Her Active Life and Queercents and has been blogging since 2004. Hall holds a Master of Arts in library science from Dominican University and a Master of Arts in English/literature with a focus on feminist writing pedagogy, as well as a graduate certificate in women's and gender studies.

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