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.
Most healthy people can maintain a normal blood sugar between meals. The problem occurs when they skip them. The body basically runs on sugar, which is its fuel. If it’s not circulating in the appropriate amounts reaching your organs, every one of them will be affected.
You can technically lose weight by skipping meals; however, most of the weight lost will be water and lean muscle tissue. Skipping meals is not the ideal way to manage your weight. People, who eat on a fairly regular schedule each day, have an easier time managing their weight.
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.
A study to shed light on why this “dieting” strategy is actually a bust found that skipping meals can instigate a series of “metabolic miscues” that may lead to weight gain, and especially in the abdominal area. You definitely don't want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss.
This has to do with the “starvation mode” again. If the body has fewer calories to burn on regular basis, it will slow down. And it will stay low for as long as it’s not getting enough calories. Muscle, which you will lose if you skip meals, has a huge effect on how fast your metabolism is. The more muscle, the more overall calories the body burns throughout the day.
Slower metabolism affects the body’s ability to burn calories in general – it doesn’t get rid of them as fast. This will prevent you from losing weight. Think about that next time you wonder why you’ve been working out but the number on the scale doesn’t change.
When you frequently skip meals during the day, your body responds by, among other things, secreting stress hormones. Levels cortisol increase, making you even more stressed out and annoyed. As a result of the flow of hormones, your blood sugar levels drop. Cortisol regulates energy by choosing the right amount of carbs, fat and protein the body needs. Too much cortisol in your system on regular basis leads to hormonal imbalance, wreaking havoc in your body.
Skipping meals may increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes because it leads to binge eating. 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.
Researchers have found that skipping breakfast was linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke risk, according to the British Heart Foundation. Breakfast eaters were less likely to have risk factors for heart and circulatory disease, high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Chewing food increases saliva. Bad breath is the result of decreased saliva, which flushes away bacteria from the mouth. When you skip meals, saliva decreases, your tongue is dry, and bacteria growth increases.
Hunger-related hormones are also released when you go several hours without eating. 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. The result is a metabolic environment more conducive to fat storage than fat utilization.
Everything begins to slow down and this includes the brain’s metabolic function. Lack of energy in the form of glucose affects mood, energy level and alertness. You basically can’t think clearly because of the low blood sugar level as a result of not eating.
Skipping a meal after a workout is a bad idea. Exercise, especially resistance exercise such as weightlifting, increases calorie/protein requirements. 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. Also, carbs serve as an energy source for working muscles and help preserve lean muscle mass.
Frequent spikes in cortisol lead to the reduced immune system function. The longer you delay refueling your body with healthy nutrients, the bigger the risk of getting sick and slowed healing process. High cortisol levels lead to regular infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or allergies.
If you frequently skip meals, chances are you’re not consuming enough dietary fiber and water to keep things “moving along.” The result is constipation because frequent meals are what push already consumed food down through your system.
The logic is simple: If you’re not eating, your skin and hair don’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.
You need sugar (glucose), because that’s the body’s fuel. (Cars don’t run without gas, do they?) Not enough sugar in your bloodstream circulating to the organs will have you feel tired, sluggish, at the very least.