The Energy Problem

Rhetorical question of the day: ever been tired?

Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, haven’t had enough to eat, overexerted yourself,  and so on. All possible roads ultimately converge to the matter of energy (or rather, lack thereof). We’re all familiar with how the problem starts, but do you know how to solve it?

The mechanics of energy – kinetic energy conversion from potential energy and vice versa – apply to everything without exception, whether it is the smallest particle or the most renowned of geniuses.

Einstein, brilliant physicist as he was, minimized his daily decision fatigue by eliminating the meanderings of outfit contemplation from his morning tasks.

With one less thing to do and energy saved, Einstein would then have slipped into one of his multiple grey suits, unencumbered by color theory, and carried on with his musings of general relativity.

We don’t need to be Einstein to grasp this concept of conservation and intuitively implement it in our individual ways. Mental calculations of priorities to available energy determine how many and which concessions to make.

At the end of the day, we only accomplish what we think we have the energy for and even the most motivated, productive people aren’t always able to complete everything they have to do.

In my case, those off days have lingered into long nights and became on-and-off weeks, leading me to question whether waking up already mentally drained is simply my new normal. Short answer? I sincerely hope not, but I do know that while my day might have started off low in energy, it certainly does not have to stay that way. 

When it comes to sensing and responding to energy depletion, our bodies are not so different from our phones. If your phone’s battery drops below a certain level, you get a notification from the phone suggesting for you to charge it.

You are then faced with two choices: either you continue using your phone with the same intensity and hope you can find a charger before your phone stops functioning, or you close some apps you’re not really using, or are unnecessarily energy expensive, thus buying yourself more time to find a charger.

The inclination to minimize mental or physical exertion when feeling low in energy is completely logical. The body’s solution to this problem is to use any of the three macromolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) to generate ATP, a biomolecule that directly provides the energy needed to power biochemical interactions within and outside of cells.

As with a phone with ample battery, turning off the energy saver mode becomes less stressful when your cells have enough available energy. 

Eating food is the simplest solution to increase macromolecules and, subsequently, ATP production in your system. Simple carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables, compared to lipids and proteins, require minimal digesting and processing time and are readily available in the form of glucose for your cells to convert into ATP.

This is your body’s short term strategy to provide a boost of energy, but there is an inevitable fall in energy as blood glucose drops. Additionally, this strategy may not be compatible with various lifestyles.

What alternatives are there for individuals (e.g. Type II diabetics, extended and intermittent fasters, ketosis enthusiasts) who prefer to limit their intake of carbohydrates in order to avoid blood glucose spikes, yet would like an expedited effect on increasing energy production? 

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