What Happens to Your Body When You Skip a Meal? from 10 Things that Happen to Your Body When You Skip a Meal
10 Things that Happen to Your Body When You Skip a Meal
What Happens to Your Body When You Skip a Meal?
So you overslept and didn’t eat breakfast. Then you skipped lunch because you had to catch up with work. But then you were so tired, you went straight to bed and slept through breakfast again the next morning. The vicious cycle continues.
Some of the consequences you will feel right away but others will take longer. The bottom line is that your body will punish you for depriving it of energy.
And don’t even think about missing meals because you’re trying to lose weight. This is not effective in the long-term. No nutritionists will ever recommend it because of the following negative consequences.
Blood sugar levels dive
Most healthy people can maintain a normal blood sugar between meals. The average person sleeps 7 hours a night, and during that time the body has to maintain blood sugar levels within the normal range. “When not sleeping, the drop in blood sugar has a greater impact because the body is active and requires more energy, Vitamin Shoppe Nutritionist Brian Tanzer, MS, CNS says. “This is not the time to go several hours without eating.” The body basically runs on sugar. This is its fuel. If it doesn’t have it, all organs will be affected and you will feel tired and groggy.
Fat is stored
If you’re not supplying the body with enough calories every few hours when it’s hungry, it’s going to think that a crisis is coming and switch to “starvation mode.” It’s an automatic self-defense mechanism. The body is conserving energy for later, which means it’s not burning calories and you’re not losing weight.
Brain is affected too
As blood sugar levels drop, so does your metabolism. “Everything begins to slow down and this includes the brain’s metabolic function,” Tanzer says. “Lack of energy in the form of glucose affects mood, energy level and alertness.” In addition, low intake of essential vitamins and minerals affects a variety of biochemical and physiological processes that lead to the typical symptoms of fatigue and irritability.
Stress hormones are released
When you frequently skip meals during the day, your body responds by slowing down your metabolism and secreting stress hormones. “The result may be binge eating; in most cases consuming a lot more calories than your typical meal,” Tanzer says.
You get hungrier
Hunger-related hormones are also released when you go several hours without eating, according to Tanzer. They, in combination with stress hormones, are setting you up for overeating. “This type of eating causes drastic fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels,” he adds. The result is a metabolic environment more conducive to fat storage than fat utilization. “After fasting for several hours, most people reach for convenient, satisfying, sugar and calorie rich foods because they provide a sense of well being that comes from the surge in blood sugar levels.”
You lose water weight and muscle, not fat
You can lose weight by skipping meals; however, most of the weight lost will be water and lean muscle tissue, Tanzer says. “Skipping meals is not the ideal way to manage your weight. Studies show that those, who eat on a fairly regular schedule each day, have an easier time managing their weight.”
You increase chance of developing diabetes
Skipping meals may increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes because it leads to binge eating, according to Tanzer. This type of eating causes frequent spikes in blood sugar and an exaggerated insulin response. “This may result in excess fat storage which is a risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes,” he adds.
Your muscles are weak
Skipping a meal after a workout is a bad idea. “Exercise, especially resistance exercise such as weightlifting, increases calorie/protein requirements,” Tanzer says. When you don’t consume adequate calories and protein, your muscles may have a more difficult time recovering and growing stronger. The muscles need the amino acids from protein to grow and recover. “In addition, carbohydrates serve as an energy source for working muscles and help preserve lean muscle mass by sparing muscle protein from being utilized as a source of fuel,” he adds.
Your skin and hair suffer
If you’re not eating, your skin doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to glow and make you look good. The result is dry skin and sad-looking hair with no shine. It’s not just about vitamins; you need protein too, because the skin, which is the largest organ on the body, is made up of water, protein, lipids and different minerals. Eat plenty of tomatoes, berries, fish, and drink green tea.