Everyone knows that balanced nutrition is essential for a healthy life, but the word “balanced” often gets disregarded in favor of unorthodox “get thin quick” diets. Fasting is one of these diet fads in which people skip meals for a predetermined time to promote weight loss. While fasting technically works, it’s far from the most effective way to lose weight and can lead to a plethora of other health issues.
Here are 10 reasons to avoid skipping meals and why you should ignore the fasting trend in favor of a consistent eating schedule.
1. You Miss Out on Essential Nutrients
Eating is a more complex process than filling your stomach and satisfying hunger. It gives your body the nutrients it needs to perform essential functions for a healthy life. You need to consume protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals regularly to get the most out of your body. Skipping meals causes you to miss out on those nutrients for hours longer than it should.
2. Your Hunger Levels Fluctuate
Your body has a difficult time adapting to skipping meals. It doesn’t know when the next meal will come, so your hunger levels will randomly fluctuate throughout the day. You might find hunger creeping up on you at strange times, especially in the middle of the night. Instead of skipping meals, manage your appetite with controlled portion sizes and light snacks.
3. Metabolism Slows Down
Most people intentionally skip meals because they want to lose weight, but sometimes it can have the opposite effect. Infrequent meals lead to inefficient digestion, a slowing metabolism, and making weight loss more difficult. Your body wants to eat consistently to maintain a steady metabolism.
4. Blood Sugar Levels Drop
Your blood sugar plummets when your body goes without a meal for a long time, which creates a snowball effect. Low blood sugar causes your body to produce more cortisol, which triggers stress symptoms like high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
While it’s true that other dieting methods contribute to low energy, skipping meals has the most profound effect because of the total lack of sustenance. Plus, due to the hunger fluctuations we mentioned earlier, you never know when your blood sugar will crash.
5. Brain Fog and Fatigue Increase
Two significant side effects of low blood sugar are brain fog and bodily fatigue. You can’t think properly when you skip meals. Your cognitive abilities aren’t as sharp. Everyday tasks become more challenging for both your mind and body. Something as simple as walking up a flight of stairs becomes a draining obstacle, even if you’re in good shape.
6. Mood and Hormones Change Frequently
Blood sugar levels also affect your hormones. When your blood sugar constantly drops, your hormones also change, leading to sudden mood swings. Again, since you never know when you’re going to get hungry, these changes can occur at any time. People on diets are often irritable and emotionally unstable, so just imagine how unpleasant you will become from skipping meals.
7. Risk of Diabetes Increases
Skipping meals forces your body to raise its blood glucose levels to prevent your energy from crashing right away. As this occurrence repeats itself, you become more susceptible to type 2 diabetes. Consistent eating promotes stable blood glucose levels and better cardiovascular health.
8. You Lose Muscle
When you skip meals, your body eventually uses energy stores in your fat and muscles to keep moving. As a result, you lose both fat and muscle. If the goal of your diet is to lose fat and maintain muscle, fasting is a counterproductive method that you should avoid.
9. You Overeat to Compensate for Lost Meals
Suppose you fast between the hours of noon and 8:00 p.m. You spend all eight hours looking forward to your next meal. When the time finally comes, your body is starving and you end up eating the equivalent of two or three meals in one sitting.
This irregular eating pattern does not sit well with your body. Large meals overfill the stomach and lead to improper digestion. You should instead try to consume moderate portions throughout the day.
10. You Could Develop an Eating Disorder
When you combine extended fasts with binge eating, you lay the foundations for an eating disorder to develop. An unhealthy preoccupation with weight loss and dieting affects your brain as much as your body.
If you let meal skipping go too far, you could become anorexic, bulimic, or worse. Take care of your mind and body with stable eating habits.
Stabilize Your Eating Schedule
Skipping meals negatively affects your body’s energy levels, brain function, and emotions. It can also lead to more serious long-term issues such as diabetes and eating disorders. Make consistent eating a top priority in your daily life to avoid these problems. A stable eating schedule keeps your body balanced and your mind sharp.
Even if your occupation or lifestyle doesn’t allow for consistent meals, you can at least make time for healthy snacks throughout the day. Start giving your mind and body the care they deserve!a