What was the purpose of my research?
During this project my purpose was to collect real data to try and figure out how much effect your diet has on your energy levels. I focused on 3 major ‘diet groups’: high carb diet, high protein diet, and a balanced diet. I was also interested to see if there were any specific foods that resulted in either high or low energy levels. At the beginning, I predicted that high protein diets would have the highest amount of energy, balanced diets would have a medium amount of energy, and that high carb diets would have the least amount of energy. As the semester went on and we learned more about how carbs and proteins turn into energy, I started to predict that the balanced diets would have the highest amount of energy because of how proteins and carbs affect each other when being burned for energy. At the end of my project, I ended the way I predicted it would end, and I got all of the information I wanted and needed.
How did I conduct my research?
I got a group of around 10 adults and 10 middle and high school students, and over a period of 8 weeks I sent out a weekly form asking them to state their food intake for the day, as well as their energy levels (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest) while sedentary and while working out. I got a group of people with a range of ages, but I also tried to find people that I knew were all fairly active people. When I got all of my data back at the end of the 8 weeks, I grouped the data together by high carb diets, high protein diets, and balanced diets, and I looked to see if there was a trend within the different diet groups. I took the averages of all the energy levels within the same diet groups (I took out the outliers, ie. sick, effected by haze) and graphed those numbers (on front), to see how different diets effect energy levels.
Information from data:
As shown on the graph, those who ate more balanced meals throughout the day had higher average energy levels than those who ate high carb or high protein meals. This is because when you have a meal that balances carbs, proteins and healthy fats, your body is able to burn the food for energy at a much healthier pace. This is also why eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day will help keep your energy level up for the whole day, instead of just in certain pockets of time. Those who ate high carb diets probably had lower energy levels because as soon as you eat carbs, your body burns it into energy pretty quickly, so by the time you get to your workout, you’ve probably already burned all the energy off.
Example- One-day meal plan that resulted in high energy levels:
Breakfast: ¾ cup of granola with fruit, ¾ cup of eggs with broccoli, 1 cup black coffee
Snack: 1 apple
Lunch: 6” Subway, 1 can 100 Plus, 1 banana
Snack: 3 coconut energy bars
Dinner: 2 cups salad with chicken breast, ¾ potatoes, ¼ cup squash
And lot’s of water!
- Soda (ex. coke, sprite)
- Chips (Doritos)
- More than 2 cups of coffee with sugar
- White bread (on it’s own)
The Final Conclusion: In general, those with higher energy levels resulted from:
- A healthy, big breakfast (ex. 1 cup of granola, eggs with protein and veggies, fruit, etc.)
- 5 smaller meals a day- breakfast, snack (ex. an apple, a granola bar, yoghurt), lunch, snack, dinner
- Less caffeine/coffee with no/little sugar (1 cup of coffee max.)
- Balancing carbs, proteins, and healthy fats at every meal (ex. not just plain bread, but bread with cheese or meat and veggies, not just granola, but granola with nuts and fruit)
From these results, I can conclude that your energy level is very much dependent on your nutrition. If you want to feel good and feel energized, making sure that you are putting the right ‘fuel’ in your body is key. Make sure you eat breakfast, try to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, cut back on the coffee, and make sure your meals are balances with all different types of food!