No time for breakfast in the morning, worked through lunch, or arrived home too tired and couldn’t be bothered to cook. Will there be consequences?
While your bodies reaction to a missed meal can depend on the rest of your diet, age, health, the act of skipping meals can start a range of physiological processes- good and bad.
1. Lack of nutrition
Cutting back on meals means cutting back on opportunities to consume adequate amounts of micronutrients- vitamins and minerals to enable the body to function properly. When it comes to weight loss, the emphasis tends to be on total calories, and the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Because micronutrients are required in smaller amounts, the roles are typically less emphasized. However, these dietary components are essential to many body processes such as growth and development, disease prevention and overall well-being. To maintain a healthy lifestyle and get your body to function at its best, focusing on consuming foods with more nutritious content as well as more rounded meals is necessary for overall health.
2. You might lose weight, but there’s a catch
Despite everything you hear about “calories in, calories out”, the links between skipping meals losing weight can be confusing. A research study from Ohio State University suggests you drop bad weight in the short term-but you eventually gain back the weight- if not more. More studies suggest the weight you lose may come from muscle and not just fat, which is not ideal. There can be some unavoidable reasons to skip meals sometimes but losing weight should not be one of them.
3. Your likely to make up for a missed meal with junk food or binge eating
Research by Cornell University found that meal-skippers grab just over 31% more junk food at the supermarket when shopping hungry, compared with when they had a snack beforehand. Hungry shoppers who hit the aisles during the times of 4pm and 7pm selected a larger percentage of high-calorie foods. These findings suggest your body may crave more calorific foods which are high in fats and sugars if you skip meals.
Its important to note that everyone is different, there are range of influences, habits that play a role in each individual’s weight and health. However, as a general recommendation, it is advisable to try and adapt healthier eating habits and incorporate more regular exercise, rather than skipping meals to lose weight.