You may reconsider skipping meals after reading this
Many people turn to skipping meals when they trying to lose weight, but health experts warn against this.
Skipping meals altogether can result in tiredness and may mean you miss out on essential nutrients. You will also be more likely to snack on high-fat and high-sugar foods, which could result in weight gain
According to Angela Leach, the Head Dietician for FUTURELIFE®, while strategically skipping meals with carefully planned eating (as done in intermittent fasting) can have benefits if done correctly, randomly skipping meals on a regular basis is not a good idea.
“Whether you are trying to lose weight, working on building muscle or simply trying to maintain a healthy diet, missing a meal will do your body more harm than good,” said Leach.
Leach explains what happens to your body when you skip meals and offers advice on how you can stay fully fuelled throughout the day:
1. You’ll feel weak, sluggish and irritable
By skipping meals and not eating enough throughout the day, you deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to run efficiently. As a result, you may see your blood sugar drop, leaving you feeling sluggish and weak, with poor concentration and quite possibly a foul mood. If you’ve ever been “hangry” – then you know the feeling. You see, blood sugar (or glucose) is the number one fuel for our brains so when our stores are low, we may get irritable.
The solution: Carefully plan your meals ahead of time to make sure you are eating no less than three nutrient-dense meals a day. Keep a healthy, easy-to-prepare or instant option for a snack in you lunch bag or purse. This ensures that you can have a healthy snack or meal even when you have those busy days.
2. You are more likely to overeat at your next meal
Skipping a meal often leads to overeating at your next meal. When you deny your body food, it only wants it more and, because you are ravenous, you will be more likely to cave into your cravings and binge on unhealthy foods.
Solution: Eat a protein-rich breakfast and have a nutritious snack if you’re hungry between meals, this will ward off cravings and avoid overeating later.
3. You will start to look lousy
Each meal you consume gives you an opportunity to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy muscles, organs and other tissues. By limiting your meals, you might be missing out on vital nutrients which could lead to a nutritional deficit. And, the long-term impact will be all too visible! You see, a nutrient-dense diet will not only help keep your body hydrated and healthy, it will also make you feel good and look great.
Nutrients, especially protein, keep your hair shiny, your skin radiant and builds lean muscles. Found throughout your body, protein helps to build, maintain and repair body tissues. So if there’s insufficient protein in your diet, you’ll not only start to lose muscle mass, it will start to show in your physical appearance too.
Solution: Ensure that your diet includes at least three portions of protein a day, starting with breakfast.
4. You’re more likely to gain weight
If you think skipping a meal is a smart way to maintain weight loss, think again. Though skipping meals may lead to reduced calorie intake in the short term, it is not an effective weight loss technique in the long run! Skipping meals will result in a drop in blood glucose levels. With low blood glucose levels, you are bound to start craving unhealthy foods that are high in sugar and fat.
This can lead to overeating at the next meal which not only impedes your weight loss goals, but can make you gain weight instead. This dietary pattern can lead to a dangerous cycle of yo-yo dieting. It messes with your metabolism, which can hinder weight loss in the long term.
Solution: If you are trying to lose weight, focus on daily energy control, good food choices and regular physical activity. Have smaller meals more often as this will help to reduce the amount of calories consumed while keeping cravings at bay.
“The bottom line is that skipping meals is not beneficial for your health. Not only does it take a toll on your system, it is setting you up for a slower metabolism, foggy thinking and crazy hunger pangs. So, the next time you want to bypass breakfast or ditch dinner, think about your body first and maintain your healthy diet by eating smaller, nutrient-rich meals throughout the day,” Leach concludes.