8 Important Foods to Avoid If You’re On a CFS Diet

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People with chronic fatigue syndrome rely heavily on the foods they eat to maximize their energy. But it can be difficult to navigate which foods provide lasting energy and which provide a short burst (followed by a mean crash). If you’re someone who’s trying to implement a CFS diet, read on.

8 Important Foods to Avoid If You're On a CFS Diet | Quit Chronic Fatigue

What Is a CFS Diet? 

A CFS diet is strategically designed to provide more energy to those with chronic fatigue syndrome. While eating a balanced diet is important for all varieties of people, for folks with CFS, it could mean the difference between standing up in the shower or having to sit and scrub with their eyes closed.

It’s not always easy to stick to a CFS diet, as shopping for and preparing the most energy-efficient foods come with their own energy challenges. For example, as someone with CFS, the thought of chopping fresh fruits and vegetables every meal might sound like a nightmare.

The trick to sustaining a CFS diet is to come up with parameters that work for you. So, if you don’t want to chop the fresh fruits and vegetables… don’t! There are many options for high-energy foods that you can work into your CFS diet with ease.

And (to be more to the point) there are even more low-energy foods that you should avoid at all costs. Side-stepping delicious and convenient food choices might be the real struggle at hand. Like anything, it just takes some practice.8 Foods to Leave Out of Your CFS Diet

If your body requires a CFS diet, there are many foods you should avoid. But don’t be overwhelmed! Here is a short list of eight items that can seriously deplete your energy levels.

8 Foods to Leave Out of Your CFS Diet

If your body requires a CFS diet, there are many foods you should avoid. But don’t be overwhelmed! Here is a short list of eight items that can seriously deplete your energy levels.

Processed and Prepackaged Meals 

Even though processed and prepackaged foods are fast (and take little time to prepare), those minor conveniences are nothing compared to the energy deficit they cause. Processed foods tend to be higher in calories, which will slow you down. They’re also far less nutritious than their fresh-food counterparts.

Try swapping your processed quick-grab options for naturally packaged and ready-to-eat foods, like apples! Just because you’re eating fresh doesn’t mean it has to take forever.

Related: Eat Raw Food Now To Cope With Your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diet


This might seem counterintuitive, but caffeine isn’t the fuel it pretends to be. Caffeine doesn’t belong in a CFS diet because it only provides short bursts of energy. 

What’s more, caffeine can make it harder for CFS patients to fall asleep at night, making them even more tired the next day. Better to stick with water or decaffeinated hot-beverage options, like a warm herbal tea or decaf coffee!

Refined and Added Sugar 

Sugar is the enemy! While your body wants lots of it, it can only really use it in moderation. And like caffeine, sugar can give you an instant spike in energy, followed by a long, annoying crash. 

The trick to getting a decent dose of sweetness (without overdoing it) is to stick with naturally sweet foods like fruits or berries. Pair them with something protein-packed and filling for maximum results (and to curb those cravings).

Artificial Additives 

The next time you go snack shopping, pay close attention to the labels. Most artificial additives are difficult to understand, like aspartame or sodium benzoate. The natural ingredients you want are usually short and familiar, like oats, honey, and things of that nature. (Get it?)

Artificial ingredients can upset your natural balance in a number of ways. Some people complain of stomach troubles, while others experience allergic reactions. For people with CFS, the real problem is that artificial additives are slow to digest, leaving you sluggish and irritated.

Fried Foods 

While oils from corn, vegetables, or olives are technically natural, frying foods in oil changes their chemical composition. Fried foods have no place in a CFS diet because they cause inflammation and fatigue.

If you love the flavor of oil, choose something natural and drizzle a little on after your food is cooked! You’ll still get a hint of the flavor you love with all of the added energy and health perks of a healthy diet.

Avoid Drinking Alcohol As Part Of Your CFS Diet, Too

Alcohol can play different roles for different people. It’s commonly served at celebrations and parties or used as an occasional beverage to unwind at the end of the day. But if you’re on a CFS diet, you should avoid alcohol as much as possible.

Alcohol is basically liquid sugar (or will metabolize as such in your body). You’ll find that you have a harder time staying asleep at night after you drink alcohol, which is the last problem anyone with CFS needs to deal with. Better to trade up for an herbal decaffeinated tea or naturally flavored water!

Hydrogenated Oils

Hydrogenated oils are literally infused with hydrogen. As with most other foods that have been “tampered” with by scientists, it’s best to steer clear of hydrogenated oils. 

Be wary of boxed baking products, imitation butter, or chocolate. All of those things have a lengthy shelf life because of the magic of hydrogen! But the results after you eat them aren’t so magical. 


Dairy is difficult for many people to digest, especially those dealing with chronic conditions like CFS. Milk moves slowly through the digestive tract, making people feel slower than normal (even if some days that may not even seem possible!). 

Luckily, there are many dairy alternatives available in most grocery stores! Try another type of milk (like oat or almond) and see if your body handles it a little better. Just remember to stay away from added sweeteners!

Sticking to a CFS diet might seem difficult at first, but eating healthy and avoiding energy-destroyers will eventually be like second nature! Have patience and start your CFS diet by following these simple guidelines.

8 Important Foods to Avoid If You're On a CFS Diet | Quit Chronic Fatigue

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