Posted by: Lucy | 2009-01-26

Caffeine Addict?

Hi Doc

I eat very healthily (5 times per day and on a low fat diet designed by my dietician). I' m a little underweight and I' m sticking to the meal plan EXCEPT I' m having more caffeine than my dietician suggested. She suggested 1 x diet cook drink and 2 x cups of coffee a day.

The only problem is that in the afternoons I start to feel really tired and rely on an extra cup of coffee (or 2) to see me through. On a bad day (when I' m tired), I' ll drink maybe 4 x cups of coffee and/or up to 3 x diet cool drinks in a day. I also drink lots of water - up to 3 litres a day and I exercise almost every day. I wake up at 4am to go to the gym so by the end of the day I' m in need of a little extra boost.

I think I' m doing everything right except for the caffeine thing. Any suggestions?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Lucy
I would suggest that you discuss the tiredness, esp in the afternoon with your dietitian particularly as you are already underweight. She may need to increase your low-GI carbohydrate intake and add a low-GI snack between meals because at the moment you are using caffeine to give you an energy boost instead of healthy foods, which is not a good idea. Stick to your dietitian's recommendation and cut down on your caffeine, but do by all means have a low-GI snack like Provitas with low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat yoghurt with a fruit in the afternoon and use an energy drink while exercising. There is no way that you can sustain your high energy output if you don't have enough carbs to fuel your activity and prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low.
Do not drink too much water as the recommended daily liquid intake (which includes everything you drink, not just water) is 2,5 litres for adults. Excessive water intake can lead to depletion of vital minerals like potassium and sodium and cause electrolyte imbalances which could also be making you feel so tired.
So chat to your dietitian
Best regards

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