Is it Good or Bad to Skip Meals Throughout the Day?

Is it Good or Bad to Skip Meals Throughout the Day?

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Skipping meals leads to decreased concentration and energy.

The food you eat is your life line. Food supplies you with calories and glucose, which give your body the energy it needs to function throughout the day. When you skip meals, you deny your body what it needs. Some people skip meals to save calories, while others claim they're just too busy to eat. Regardless of your excuse, there are several reasons that skipping meals is bad.

Break the Fast

Many people skip meals with the hope that it will help them lose weight. The theory behind this is that the fewer calories you eat, the more weight you will lose. Skipping meals actually has the opposite effect on weight loss. When you skip meals, especially breakfast, your body responds by slowing your metabolism down in an effort to conserve energy. As a result, your body doesn't burn calories as efficiently as it should. Regularly skipping meals can keep your metabolism low and put you at risk of gaining weight. Breakfast is especially important because when you eat in the morning, you literally break the fast that occurs overnight while you're sleeping. According to a study published in "The American Journal of Epidemiology" in January 2013, people who skipped breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to become obese than regular breakfast eaters.

Stay Full

In addition to slowing down your metabolism, skipping meals may make you hungrier later in the day. People who skip meals during the day tend to eat more and ingest more calories when they do eat. Making this a habit can not only lead to weight gain, but it can cause potentially dangerous metabolic changes like elevated fasting blood glucose levels and a delayed insulin response. Over time, these two conditions can progress into Type 2 diabetes.

Running Out of Energy

Your body -- and especially your brain -- use glucose, the simple sugar that comes from the foods you eat, for energy. When you eat regularly throughout the day, your blood glucose levels stay fairly steady and your brain has access to all the glucose it wants. When you skip meals, your blood sugar levels drop, cutting your brain's supply of glucose. Although your brain won't completely stop working with one skipped meal, you will lose your ability to concentrate and your energy levels suffer. The University of Rochester recommends eating at least every four hours to keep your energy levels high.

The Room is Spinning

Low blood glucose doesn't just zap your energy, it causes a combination of physical symptoms that prevent you from feeling your best. When your blood sugar is low, you may feel weak, shaky, nervous, dizzy, hungry, confused, sleepy and anxious. You may also notice an increase in perspiration. Low blood glucose can also cause irritability that makes you short-tempered and snappy.


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