Avoiding Certain Foods to Reduce Fatigue

Cancer itself and treatments such as; chemo & radiotherapy can cause fatigue, but this can be reduced by eating the right foods. Not all foods give us the long-lasting energy we need. In fact, some of them can actually set us up to crash later, making this side effect even worse. Your body runs off what you feed it. The best way to get the most energy from your food is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best food possible. 

Why you feel tired after a big meal 

Besides what you eat, when you eat can also impact your energy. Have you ever noticed how you feel sluggish after a big lunch or dinner? That’s because your body is using its energy to digest that meal instead of powering the rest of your body. The easiest way to avoid the post-meal coma is to eat several smaller-portioned meals throughout the day. This will keep your body fuelled regularly whilst reducing nausea.  

Protein rich food and carbohydrates 

Additionally, foods rich in protein and carbohydrates can make people feel sleepier. Some researchers believe that a person feels tired after eating because their body is producing more serotonin.

Serotonin is a chemical that plays a role in regulating mood and sleep cycles. Protein rich food have an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps the body to produce serotonin. Carbohydrates help the body absorb tryptophan. So you might want to avoid these foods together or during the day if you are struggling. 

Remember if you are going through treatment it is important to eat whatever you can. Do not force you to eat something you can not handle because fatigue is a struggle, as this will make nausea worse. Instead, change what you eat during the day and night. 

Foods that cause fatigue 


This might wake you up but you can come crashing down when the effects are over.

If you love the flavour of coffee, stick to decaf or limit your daily intake.

Added Sugar

Just like coffee sugar will spike your energy levels for a limited amount of time.

Sugar promotes inflammation and uses up a lot of nutrients since the body has to process it. 

Swap sugar for honey and fruit. 

White pasta & rice 

Refined foods like white rice and pasta can spike your blood sugar levels quickly.

Stabilise your blood sugar levels by eating high fibre foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (Brown rice & pasta)

Fast Foods 

Digesting saturated fats requires diversion of blood and oxygen to your digestive system and away from your organs and muscles, which can produce fatigue.


The fruit is naturally high in the hormone melatonin, which controls your sleep and wake cycles. The extra dose of melatonin can send a signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has caffeine and also contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help you relax. But milk chocolate doesn’t contain serotonin and can actually make you feel more awake!


Potassium and magnesium in bananas can make you sleepy by relaxing your muscles. Instead, reach for an orange because its citrus scent can be energising.


Energy bars & Granola

Often loaded with carbohydrates, fats and sugar, and all of that processing can make it high in additives that can cause an imbalance in blood sugar levels. It's important to read labels on these bars to decide which ones are lowest in sugar. 

Pumpkin Seeds

While seeds are great for our health, pumpkin seeds are incredibly high in magnesium. If you're eating pumpkin seeds, monitor portion sizes and include another source of energising protein to balance it out. Great options include Greek yogurt or chia seed pudding.


Check out other blogs for more help and tips - 'How to Create a Fatigue Diary'