chronic fatigue syndrome

Feeling tired is a common complaint. But some people actually suffer from a disorder called the the chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS. This can affect the quality of life and strain relations. Certain specific foods could help in improving the energy level in these cases. But one should not overlook the fact that certain foods can also worsen the condition.

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a clinical entity in which the person suffers from extreme fatigue and weakness. Energy levels are low. Though all of us feel this occasionally with busy work schedules and insufficient sleep, in people with CFS, this is a prolonged process.

Around 2.5 million Americans suffer from this condition that is also called myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME. These people also complain of difficult and disturbed sleep and joint pains. They cannot concentrate and have painful lymph nodes. Their quality of life is low. Relationships get strained and work performance declines.

Diet can play a role in alleviating the condition. Certain foods are valuable in energizing. These include probiotics, omega 3 fatty acids, cocoa, and probiotics, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and NADH supplements. But data on these foods and their benefits in CFS are limited. Also, eating of whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables can reduce this tiredness, say some studies.

Foods that can worsen CFS

Though there is no definite diet for this condition, certain foods can worsen the case. Hence these foods need to be avoided.

High fat foods

chronic fatigue syndrome
High fat foods and CFS (Source: US wellness meats)

High fat cuts of meats and other foods contain unhealthy fats. An observational study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (JHND) did say that fatty foods can lead to CFS. Therefore, avoid these foods to minimize fatigue. At the same time, go for leaner cuts like pork chops, white meat chicken, flank steak and the like as this could be beneficial.

Refined white bread

Refined or white bread is poor in fiber. The same above mentioned study did also show that eating low fiber foods decreases one’s energy levels. Hence, it is best to opt for whole wheat or whole grain bread at breakfast or meals. This has high fiber and would keep you energized.


chronic fatigue syndrome
Candies raise blood sugar followed by a crash (Source: Pinterest)

Candies are loaded with refined sugars. Consuming too much sugars without proteins or healthy fats would spike the blood sugar. A potential crash would follow this and cause extreme sluggishness and prostration. Dark chocolate is better since it contains polyphenols that has health benefits and does not cause fatigue.

Soda drinks with high fructose corn syrup

Research has found an association between high fructose corn syrup and body inflammation. CFS is actually low grade inflammation and hence this syrup can worsen it. Therefore, limit this drink if you are suffering from CFS.


chronic fatigue syndrome
Alcohol dehydrates and increases tiredness (Source: Harvard health)

This can cause fatigue indirectly. Alcohol leads to increased urine output and dehydration. And dehydration makes a person tired.

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Avoid the above foods and drinks to overcome fatigue. Eat whole, eat real, eat clean and eat colored.