To help increase productivity at work or at home you need to keep your blood sugar stable, because when it drops it’s harder to concentrate, stay focused and keep your attention directed.
Think about it, if you skip a meal do you become irritable or moody?
If you answered YES, the reason for that is because your blood sugar is low and your brain depends on glucose (carbohydrates) to function properly. The fact that you don’t have very much glucose racing through your system is why you may want to strangle your spouse or co-worker or any of a number of other bad decisions!
If you are an employee or the employer it would be wise to limit the amount or availability of sugary, refined snacks and foods. The reason for that is because these high carbohydrate rich foods cause your blood sugar to spike and roller coaster down. It is when your blood sugar drops that the brain doesn’t process information normally and why you can’t stay focused or attentive. So the key is to keep your blood sugar stable by eating the right kind of foods and avoiding those that work against you.
Carbohydrates rich meals trigger the production of serotonin; a neurotransmitter (brain messenger) that helps you calm down, relax and fall asleep. Are you ready for a nap after eating? Was it a carb rich meal?
On the other hand protein triggers more dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that are excitatory and help stimulate the brain. If you are going to take a test, give a presentation, interview or anything that you need to be at your sharpest…Think Protein!
So, unless you want to keep on consuming lots of coffee or energy drinks to help stimulate those brain messengers….(it also causes your blood pressure to rise, heart beat to elevate, etc….a whole set of other problems)…it would be smarter to eat more snacks and lunches that are more protein rich or carbohydrate limited. This has nothing to do with Atkins-like diets or weight loss, although it will help….the simple fact is that when your blood sugar drops, it’s harder to concentrate and focus. Not only that, you fall out of your ‘fat-burning’ zone, when your blood sugar drops.
FYI…Not everyone automatically falls into their ‘fat-burning’ zone for the 23 hours they aren’t working out. Blood sugar (insulin and glucagon) and those pesky stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, have a huge effect on your fat burning zone throughout the day. Test your Metabolism and see if you are staying in your 'fat-burning' zone.
The takeaway is if you want to be more productive or have a hard time staying focused and attentive - don’t skip meals, don’t eat or consume carbohydrate rich foods (pizza, pasta, bagels, smoothies, waffles, pancakes, breads, etc.), especially those coming from refined, processed sugars. Nuts and seeds are great snacks that are loaded with lots of the good fats, which help keep your blood sugar stable for extended amount of time, as does protein.
In my mind it’s just as important to be productive and clear thinking at home with the family, as it is at the office.