Everybody wants to lose weight and people's instinctive reaction in this situation is to eat less. But instead of consuming smaller portions, thus fewer calories, people decide to skip entire meals
Raise your hand if you’ve ever glanced at the clock after powering through your to-do list only to realize you can barely remember when you last had a snack. Or you skipped breakfast because your well-intentioned plans to meal prep did not, well, go according to plan. No matter the reason, sometimes skipping meals is just a fact of life. And although it seems innocuous, experts are pretty emphatic about eating regularly because of the effects skipping meals can have on your body and mind.
"Without a steady supply of nutrients, your intellectual and emotional functioning changes,"
Causes Weight Gain.
“People who skip breakfast are 5 times more likely to become obese as compared to people who eat their breakfast”
You skip one meal and it doesn’t seem too tough and you start to wonder if you can simply skip one meal every day in order to lose weight. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make – skipping meals is not the answer to your weight gain problems. Studies show that people who skip breakfast are 5 times more likely to become obese as compared to people who eat their breakfast. Researchers hypothesize that skipping any other daily meal would have a similar effects.
Elevates Stress Levels.
“Skipping a meal drastically increases the risk of stress and depressive moods”
You think that skipping your meals will allow you to catch up on work and this would reduce your stress. It does seem like a logical argument, but research shows that skipping a meal drastically increases the risk of stress and depressive moods. What’s even scarier is that the more often you skip meals, the more your stress will increase and it can also lead to thoughts of suicide. These effects of skipping meals on mood are greatest in children, adolescents, and pregnant women.
Ruins Mental Focus.
“Skipping meals has a negative impact on mental focus as it reduces cognitive function and lowers problem solving skills”
You have to meet a deadline and so you decide to skip your lunch, as you feel that a heavy meal will just make you sleepy and ruin your focus. However, skipping your meal is probably worse than wolfing down a huge meal, as researchers found that skipping meals has a negative impact on mental focus as it reduces cognitive function and lowers problem solving skills.
You could run low on nutrients.
While skipping a meal here and there—sometimes referred to as "intermittent fasting"—can be beneficial, Longo says harnessing those benefits requires careful planning. Otherwise, you risk nutrient deficiencies linked to fatigue, poor mental function, and other health concerns. If you're considering fasting on a regular basis, consult with a registered dietitian or other nutrition pro to ensure you're getting enough protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids in your meals and snacks.
Your risk for some diseases may increase.
If you routinely skip breakfast, you may be headed for trouble, says Leah Cahill, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. One of Cahill's studies found that women who skipped breakfast regularly had a 20% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Another of her studies—this one in men—linked going without a morning meal to heart disease. "Our bodies need to be fed food regularly in order to maintain healthy levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol, hormones such as insulin, and normal blood pressure," Cahill says. "As we sleep all night we are fasting, and so if we regularly do not 'break fast' in the morning, it puts a strain on our bodies that over time can lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and blood pressure problems.
Inflammation calms down.
From arthritis to cancer to heart disease, many major health conditions stem from damage caused by chronic inflammation. Periods of fasting appear to trigger damage-repairing adaptations in your cells, finds a review in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (read more about the growing fasting trend here). While fasting comes in all shapes and sizes, some inflammation-lowering health perks could accrue after forgoing just one meal.
Tips to avoid skipping meals
Let’s face it—the holiday season can be hectic. If you are extremely busy, try following these tips:
- Eat smaller, frequent meals throughout the day rather than skipping meals.
- Always have a snack around like yogurt or a granola bar to hold you over until your next meal.
- Eat snacks high in protein and fiber. They will keep you full longer.
- Plan your meals in advance or prepare them the night before.
- Make a schedule for the week to avoid over booking yourself or falling behind.
- Set an alarm to ring at lunchtime if you are going to be running around all day.