5 Common Foods and Drinks That May Be Causing Your Chronic Fatigue

Being tired is quite common for many of us, especially if we lead a hectic lifestyle and don’t allow ourselves enough sleep. But for about 2.5 million Americans, a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can affect their quality of life, as experiencing it is associated with extreme fatigue that lasts for months. Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (MS), people with this condition not only have severe fatigue and difficulty sleeping, but may also experience joint pain, difficulty concentrating, and tender lymph nodes.

There is limited data that sheds light on what people with this condition should or should not eat to help keep symptoms under control. Some data suggest that probiotics, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and NADH supplements, cocoa, and omega-3 fatty acids may play a positive role in managing CFS symptoms, although further studies are needed. designed to determine a definitive link. Additionally, eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acid foods like fish has been linked to reduced fatigue among the general population, which may also help people with this condition (at least in the fatigue department).

While there is no strict diet for “chronic fatigue syndrome,” there may be some foods that can contribute to symptoms of this condition. If you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, here are five foods that may be linked to experiencing the effects of this diagnosis, and limiting or avoiding them can help you feel a little more energized and experience fewer symptoms.


High-fat cuts of meat tend to be high in unhealthy fats. In addition, observational data published by the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (JHND) suggests that eating unhealthy fats is linked to symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Leaning on leaner cuts of meat, such as white meat chicken, flank steak, and pork chops, may offer some benefit.

White bread

Refined white bread tends to be low in fiber, or it can be completely fiber-free depending on the brand you choose. The aforementioned observational data published by JHND suggests that eating a low-fiber diet is linked to symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Opting for a whole wheat bread can fuel your body with more fiber when enjoying your sandwich or beloved avocado toast in the morning.

candy bowls

Sweets can be packed with sugar, and not much else. Eating sugary foods, especially without satiating macros like healthy fats or protein, can lead to a glucose spike followed by a possible crash, which can leave you feeling sluggish. If you need something sweet, opting for a dark chocolate treat may be a better option, as the polyphenols found in cocoa are linked to fewer chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.


Research shows that high fructose corn syrup consumption and inflammation are intertwined. Since CFS symptoms reflect low-grade inflammation, limiting intake of pro-inflammatory items like sweet sodas may help people feel a little better about managing their condition.

health alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can have a dehydrating effect on the body. And just like for people who don’t have chronic fatigue syndrome, being dehydrated can lead to some unpleasant symptoms, like feeling extremely tired.

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