We're too busy to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, so in order to save time we decide to skip meals. In other cases, people believe that by skipping meals, they are decreasing the number of calories they will consume, and thereby see a greater amount of weight loss. But is this really effective?
How Your Metabolism Works
Before discussing some of consequences associated with skipping meals, it's important to understand how your metabolism works. Your metabolism digests food and calories, and therefore is very important in a discussion about skipping meals. In order to function properly, the body relies on a specific number of calories. For most people, this number can be determined by calculating your weight in pounds by ten. For example, if you weight 200 pounds, your daily caloric requirements are probably around 2,000 calories. These calories are digested and absorbed during the metabolic process.
Here's a look at some of the consequences of skipping meals:
1. Altered Metabolism
If a person begins to severely restrict the number of calories they consume over the course of a day, which may be the case with an individual who is skipping a meal, the person will initially lose weight because they are not supplying the body with enough fuel. When this is done regularly, the metabolism will eventually realize what is going on and will begin to function on a lower number of calories. This results in decreased amounts of weight loss until weight loss is no longer occurring. When this happens, the person will often cut even more calories from their diet, and like the first attempt, this will initially result in weight loss. But again, once the body's metabolism begins to understand what is going on, it will learn how to function on fewer calories.
Eventually the person will more than likely start to increase their calorie intake back up to their original level. But now the body is used to running on 1,800, 1,500, or even fewer calories. When the person begins to regularly eat 2,000 calories, they will start to experience weight gain. Therefore, skipping meals can have a dangerous impact on the functioning of the metabolism. This can result in serious weight gain that can be difficult or even impossible to lose.
2. Nutrient Imbalance
Skipping meals means that you may be decreasing the amount of vitamins, minerals, protein or other important nutrients that the body needs to function properly. Eliminating these from your body will not only lead to diminished performance, but can also result in a number of serious health concerns, including heart disease, stroke or even some cancers. It is important to eat all meals of the day in order to get the best chance of consuming all necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Another consequence of skipping meals is intense feelings of hunger. This can make you feel anxious, lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous, and it can also result in overeating at future meals which leads to weight gain in the long run. Be sure to eat all meals and include snacks throughout the day if you're concerned about mid meal hunger.