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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How will skipping meals affect my body?

    Related Topic
    Will skipping meals help me lose weight? Is it a very bad habit?
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  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Skipping meals is often seen as an attractive way to lose weight. Unfortunately, the side affects of skipping meals are much more serious than any potential benefits. Some consequences of skipping meals can include promoting the development of diabetes, inadequate nutrition, and drastically altering the way that your body digests food.Blood Sugar Drops and SpikesOne of the most important reasons that skipping meals is unhealthy is due to the affect this has on your blood sugar. When you eat a meal, your body breaks up the food. Some of this food is stored as fat, while other parts of it enter your bloodstream as sugar, and work to provide you with energy throughout the day. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops dramatically. This not only can make you feel sluggish and tired, but it can also wreck havoc with insulin in your body. If you chronically skip meals, you can be setting yourself up for the development of diabetes later in life.Inadequate NutritionAnother important reason why skipping meals is unhealthy is due to the fact that you are more than likely not receiving adequate nutrition. Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats helps not only to ensure that your body functions properly, but can also help in the treatment and prevention of a number of serious conditions. Some conditions that can be improved with proper nutrition include cardiovascular disease, strokes, and some types of cancer. You may believe that you can skip meals and still achieve optimal nutrition by supplementing your diet with multivitamins. And while multivitamins do have their place, research has shown that these pills aren't as effective as real food at providing your body with what it needs. For good health, try to eat as naturally as possible.Altered MetabolismYou typically skip meals for two main reasons. One, you are ultra busy and don't have enough time to grab a quick snack, or two, you are trying to lose weight. If you are one of the people who are trying to lose weight, you may be actually sabotaging yourself by skipping meals. When you eat, your metabolism, which is one of your body's functions, works to break the food down into smaller, usable parts. When you skip a meal, your metabolism has nothing to do. In a way, your metabolism is like a muscle. You must use it, or you will “lose it.” When your metabolism does not have to work to break down food, it begins to slow down. Then, the next time you do actually eat something, your metabolism is not able to break the food down as quickly, and as a result the food is stored as fat. Therefore, in order to maintain a healthy weight (or even lose weight), it is essential that you eat regularly throughout the day. Recent research has found that five to seven small, regularly timed meals eaten over the course of a day works best when trying to maintain a healthy weight.

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