That 2:30 Feeling

Have you seen the ads for 5 Hour Energy Shots? People in a busy work environment, talking about "that 2:30 feeling?" Long about 2:30 pm, they're tired and groggy, can barely keep their eyes open. They used to drink several cups of coffee or bottles of soda to cope with the fatigue. Now they take one little two ounce bottle of 5 Hour Energy, and they're wide awake and focused for hours, with no crash later.

I actually have a bottle of 5 Hour Energy on hand; I got it as swag at the Health Food Expo out in California, what, six years ago? And there's the point: I've had it for six years. I have neither thrown it away, nor drunk it. It lives in the kitchen cabinet where I keep my vitamins. I haven't thrown away the 5 Hour Energy Shot because it looks like a pretty good product. It consists of vitamins and amino acids that actually should have the effect of perking one up and making one feel more energetic and alert, and with no objectionable junk. If I needed an energy product, it would be an option I would consider. It's just that I'm still waiting for "that 2:30 feeling."

This is not an original advertising ploy. (Yes, I know I talk about advertising a lot. Go with what you know, right?) For years, Dr. Pepper was advertised with the slogan "10, 2, and 4." Apparently some sort of study had been done that demonstrated that most people's blood sugar bottomed out at those times, causing fatigue and a dip in efficiency. The obvious solution was to swill down some carbonated sugar water and get that blood sugar back up. Right?

You see, we don't have coffee breaks in this country. (Nor, I suspect, in other countries.) What we have are blood sugar breaks. People get up in the morning and have some carbs -- juice, sugar in the coffee, or a can of soda, plus cereal or a bagel or some toast or a muffin. Their blood sugar shoots up, and they perk up and feel ready for the day. But a couple of hours later, long about 10, when the insulin has tidied all that sugar away into their fat cells, they're tired and cranky and getting foggy, and head to the vending machine, or hit the break room for a donut. They feel better fast, just like a junky feels better as soon as they have a fix, but by lunch time they're crashing again. So it's a Coke and some fries, and they're good until... well, 2 or 2:30. And they do it again.

Or, if they've been watching this particular ad, they have a 5 Hour Energy Shot instead. And frankly, it would be a huge improvement over a can of soda or a candy bar. But my point is -- you knew I had one, right? -- if that person were ketoadapted, had trained his or her body to run on fat instead of sugar, there would be no 2:30 feeling. Because those of us who run a fat-based metabolism have a handy-dandy fuel tank, and can shift over to stored energy without a hitch. No crash. No fog. No desperate stumble to the vending machine.

I certainly remember the crash; I remember it all too well. Because I'm Ms. Night-Owl-Sleep-Disorder, and for years got to work at 1 pm, my crash came later than 2:30, in the early evening. But it hit with a vengeance, and I was barely able to keep my eyes open for a good two or three hours. In my thirties, when I was taking classes at dear old Harry S Truman in Chicago, I popped herbal ephedrine and slugged down cup after cup of tea to get those As in chemistry, because my classes were scheduled right at what I thought of as my "biorhythm low." Biorhythms my butt, it was my low fat, high carb lunch dropping me like a hot potato. (Come to think of it, that lunch probably was a hot potato.) Funny how that biorhythm thing cleared up when I went low carb. I have no predictable dip during the day. I have days when I'm more energetic than others, sure. But some identifiable time? A mid-afternoon crash, or my old early-evening crash? Nope. Doesn't happen.

So I'm sorry, 5 Hour Energy Shots. It looks to me like you have a good product. It's just that it, like so many others, is aimed at correcting a problem that's caused by our lousy carb-based diets. For those of us who eat right, there is no "2:30 feeling."

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5-hour energy/tyrosine

First of all, the formula has changed, slightly, and for the better, imho, from what it was 6 years ago. Secondly, the next time you have a long road trip--or some other activity that you need to be awake and alert for 4-5 hours, you should try it. I don't use it regularly--primarily because I can't afford it at $9.25 an hour. If I was making double that, I would, if for no other reason than that it tastes much better than the 3 gelatin capsules of Tyrosine (500mg each) that I now take instead--along with a 2500 µg sublingual B12 tablet.

I originally hit upon Tyrosine about 11 years ago as a natural (read non-prescription, and therefore not needing a $70 doctor visit to obtain a prescription) substitute for Adderall for my ADD while I drove truck. I noticed the "side affect" of added mental alertness. I have recommended it to friends and acquaintances for years--even offering them 3 capsules to try. I have found that it works for about 75% of those who try it. For those it doesn't work for, there is usually no effect, although one person said it made them drowsy, and another noticed his heart speeding up noticeably for 2 hours or so.

My point I guess is that, for some of us at least--especially adults with ADD, diagnosed or otherwise*--5-hour energy (and the even more "powerful" SPIKE hardcore energy 16 oz beverage--not affiliated with 5-hour energy, but similar ingredients) is useful, irregardless and independent of a low-carb (or high carb) diet. It's effectiveness is largely diet-irrelevant. (As I don't drink coffee, I never got into the "coffee break culture").

*The clinical psychologist that diagnosed me--and my 5 children--with ADD in 1995 was himself badly afflicted with it--he was on 3 meds for it and 2 others that counteraffected the side-effects of the first 3! He confessed that up until the advent of PET Scans showing differences in brain metabolism of glucose between those with ADD and "normal" people, he was an ardent disbeliever in ADD. I asked him one day, if he was so badly affected by ADD symptoms that he had to, then, take so many meds to improve his concentration and focus, how he ever made it through medical school? He said that he had, in essence, self-medicated by smoking 3 packs a day! MY conclusion from that was/is that probably a great many "addicted" smokers became that way because of a genetic predisposition to ADD. He did not discount the possibility, except to say that no studies had been done on the subject.

Okay, here is a conundrum for

Okay, here is a conundrum for you - ate a nice low carb breakfast of 2 eggs and 2 pieces of bacon, coffee with half and half (about 7 am). At lunch (11 am) had tuna mixed with cream cheese, onions, horseradish. At 12:30???? CRASH. I was grading some papers and at one point put my head down on them and could have gone straight to sleep. I didn't get as much sleep as normal last night but still a good 6.5-7 hours. Can not figure out what happened. I've eaten this menu many times before and whizzed right through until my 3 pm snack.

Hey, KJ. I don't know what

Hey, KJ. I don't know what your normal allotment is, but for me, six and a half hours of sleep would be well and enough to explain feeling sleepy! Also, you might check the ingredients on your brand of tuna. They might have changed what they pack it in. That 'broth' can have a number of triggers in it.
Your mixture of tuna and cream cheese with etcs sounds good. I'll have to give it a try.