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Feeling Sluggish? Snack On This.

Feeling Sluggish? Snack On This.The right food choices can make all the difference between an energy boost and an energy drain, says a nutrition expert at Tufts.

Boston [06.21.02] Feeling sluggish? It may not be caused by long hours at the office or a lack of sleep. According to experts, many people overlook the role their diet plays in their energy levels. The right foods, says a nutrition expert at Tufts, can make all the difference.

"We talk about feeling fatigued, and sometimes people don't realize why they feel the way they do," Randi Konikoff, a dietitian from Tufts' Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, told ABC News.

In many cases, there is a dietary explanation for the symptoms.

"For instance you may associate a headache with being hungry, but it may mean that you are not getting enough water," she told ABC News. And some cases of fatigue could be caused by iron deficiency anemia.

According to Konikoff, eating the right foods can be extremely important in maintaining a good energy level.

"The idea of having a snack machine nearby is wonderful, but choosing the right thing is important," Konikoff said. "Having a handful of [candy] might not get you to the same satiated point as a handful of peanuts."

Both foods provide energy, but sugar doesn't provide a sufficient reserve of sustainable energy.

"Simple sugars tend to give you a quick spike and you'll feel good for about an hour," Konikoff said. "Depending on what else you have in your system to balance that, you'll come down quick."

Carbohydrates are converted into energy quickly, she said, but to sustain it, you'll need protein or fat.

"Even choosing an orange, which combines simple sugar and fiber, is a better bet [than a sugary snack]," the network reported.

Other good sources of energy can be found in veggie burgers, fruit smoothies with low fat yogurt, and fruits and vegetables.

But it's not enough to focus on eating just one specific type of food.

Konikoff and other experts emphasize that the most important ingredient for maintaining energy levels is eating a balanced diet that covers a variety of nutrients.

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