School is back in session and everyone is getting back into their usual diet and exercise routine. There is a great desire to shed all those added “summer pounds” . I have overheard clients talking about their dieting habits and how they are planning on losing weight. While most are healthy, I would like to discourage the idea of skipping meals.
Going too long without food denies your body glucose, the sugar that supplies your brain with energy. Skipping lunch also slows down your metabolism, leads to overeating and makes it difficult to meet your nutrient needs for the day. Listed below are a few good reasons to not skip meals:
- You will likely get less work done and will be slower to make decisions if you have an empty stomach.
- After four to six hours, the glucose stored in your liver will run out, and you will be likely to eat too much when you finally do eat again. Fasting activates a fear response that urges you to binge as soon as possible. This overeating may lead to higher fasting blood glucose levels and delayed insulin response.
- If you skip meals often, you may develop nutrient deficiencies.
- People who skip breakfast have a 20% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and are more likely to have hypertension.
- Do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry; studies show that you will purchase 31% more junk food.
- You are less likely to exercise in the evening if you have been fasting during the day. If you do try to exercise, you are unlikely to perform well or “keep up.”
- If you are doing a long and intense workout on an empty stomach, you are likely to have a sharp rise in cortisol, which is associated with lower immunity. It is important to eat carbohydrates before and after these types of workouts.
- People who often skip lunch or dinner burn fewer calories overall and spend less total time exercising.
- Skipping breakfast might raise heart attack risk among older men; in fact, their risk was 27% higher in one study. These men often ate a larger meal later, which spiked blood sugar levels and led to clogged arteries.
- Individuals who skip meals are more likely to be single, to be smokers, to work full time, to consume more alcohol, to be younger, and to have less physical activity compared to individuals who do not skip meals.
- Researchers at Ohio State found that skipping meals leads to metabolic miscues, which results in abdominal weight gain.
- Mice that only eat one meal per day develop insulin resistance in their livers and more fat around their middles; this adipose tissue picks up glucose from the bloodstream and stores it.
- Prolonged fasting has been found to lead to an increase in blood pressure, an increase in insulin, an increase in triglycerides, an increase in free fatty acids, an increase in LDL-cholesterol, and a decrease in HDL.
Genine Brand R.D., L.D.N. is available for Personalized Nutrition Counseling. Contact us at: 305-446-6899 for more information.