Whatever else you may read on this subject, let’s start off with one immutable fact – three meals a day are OPTIMAL for controlling appetite and managing food intake. This has been the stance of the scientific, medical and nutrition community for decades and sister, it ain’t gonna change no time soon. Essentially, this means your calorie intake is spread throughout the day and you shouldn’t get hungry between meals. If however, you have a tendency to graze or skip meals, your calorie intake can be all over the place and it puts your metabolism on a rollercoaster. Skipping meals can have all sorts of impacts on your digestion, metabolism, nutrition and calorie count and …
1. It Disturbs Weight Management
It may seem an odd reason for why skipping meals is bad for your health and almost counterproductive, but skipping meals during the day can actually disturb your weight management and halt any successful and meaningful weight loss. This is due to the fact that periods of sporadic starvation and subsequent binging to quench hunger can slow down your metabolism, leading to a slower calorie burn rate.
2. Spikes in Blood Sugar
When you skip a meal, especially breakfast or lunch, it usually means that you will tend to eat a bigger than usual evening meal. During your fasting period during the day, your body’s blood sugar level will have gone down due to a quicker rate of carbohydrate burning. Subsequently, when you fill back up in the evening, your body will experience a rush and spike in blood sugar levels, which can have the unpredictable result of either making you feel really energized or really drowsy, and also contributes to high blood pressure.
3. Headaches, Nausea, Dizziness
As mentioned previously, high blood pressure is something that can arise as a result of skipping meals, and high blood pressure can manifest itself in a number of unwanted and detrimental side effects including headaches, nausea and dizziness. In something of a vicious cycle, these symptoms may then dissuade a person from eating, meaning that they therefore skip more meals and become even unhealthier.
4. Bad Breath
When you skip a meal, a chemical reaction starts to occur inside your body called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is when the body begins to break down chemicals in an empty stomach, which then creates an unpleasant odor. Having an empty stomach also means you produce less saliva, and saliva is vital for flushing bad bacteria away from mouth.
5. Depression & Fatigue
If you skip meals regularly, your body may start to replicate feelings of depression and fatigue. Think of your body as a car and food as the gasoline - if you don’t fill the car up on a regular basis, the car is going to stop running and will require expert attention. Make sure that you do not run out of gas.
6. Acid Reflux
Regardless of whether you eat regularly or not, your stomach will continue to produce stomach acid as if you were. If this acid has nothing to break down in the stomach, it will start to cause unpleasant problems within your body including painful acid reflux and gastritis. If left for too long without any food to digest, stomach acid posses the risk of eroding the stomach lining which can lead to serious ulcers or, in extreme cases, cancer.
Heartburn is most often caused by indulging in overly fatty or greasy foods too late at night. If you have skipped both breakfast and lunch, there is a higher probability that you will feast on something fast and unhealthy at night, which will certainly put you at higher risk of developing heartburn. Also, eating too quickly to rectify your day-long hunger will lead to your stomach stretching, which means that more stomach acid will be released than normal and could potentially travel up to your throat.
3 meals a day is a foundation to a healthy diet. Even if you are trying to lose weight, you will still be better off following a 3-a-day plan. So tell me, are you a meal skipper?