Skipping meals could cause more harm than good, expert warns

4 min read

Skipping meals could be bad for your health, an expert warned (Image: Getty Images)

Fasting is a commonly practised method to help aid weight loss.

And while skipping meals may seem like a quick and easy way to cut calories, it can actually do more harm than good, if not done properly.

An expert has warned that not consuming enough food throughout the day can lead to fatigue, sluggishness, and health issues in the long run.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, nutrition expert Ashleigh Tosh from Prepped Pots, said: “Some people mistakenly use skipping meals as a means of losing weight, unaware that it often leads to the opposite outcome.

“Your body will go into starvation mode which means that when you do eat, your body is more likely to store those calories as fat and you’re also more likely to overeat later in the day as your hunger builds up.

READ MORE Mum shares the simple lifestyle tweaks that helped her lose more than two stone

Woman feeling hungry

Feeling hungry for extended periods makes you more likely to overeat (Image: Getty)

“Many people find it difficult to prioritise mealtimes next to their busy lifestyles and end up skipping breakfast when rushing to work or forgetting to have lunch because their meetings ran long.

“Fuelling your body with nutritious food is very important, especially with a busy lifestyle, as it keeps you energised and productive, ultimately leading to more success at work.”

She shared seven ways in which skipping meals could damage your health.

Slow metabolism

When you don’t eat for a long time, your body goes into a state of starvation, triggering a natural response to conserve energy by slowing down your metabolism, according to Ashleigh.

She said: “This means that when you do eventually eat, your body is more likely to store the calories consumed as fat, rather than burning them for immediate use.”

Woman feeling dizzy

Skipping meals could cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leading to dizziness (Image: Getty)

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Low blood sugar

Skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to drop.

“This can result in fatigue and dizziness,” she said. “Additionally, when there’s a deficiency of glucose, your brain doesn’t operate efficiently, resulting in issues with concentration and an increased tendency to become irritable.”

Increased risk of overeating

Ashleigh warned that skipping meals can make you feel much more hungry later.

This can make you more likely to overeat or make unhealthy food choices because you’re craving food that’s high in carbs and sugar.

She said: “This can lead to weight gain and other health problems, like binge eating.”

Depressed man

You’re more likely to experience anxiety, mood swings and depression if you skip meals (Image: Getty)

Nutritional deficiencies

“If you’re skipping meals then you’re not giving your body the nutrition it needs to thrive,” Ashleigh explained.

The most common symptoms of nutrient deficiency are severe hair loss, bone pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat and mouth problems.

It can also lead to more serious health complications, such as anaemia caused by lack of iron.

Disrupted hunger hormones

If you ignore your body’s natural hunger cues, it can cause a hormonal imbalance that reduces the production of appetite-suppressing hormones.

Ashleigh said: “This makes it more difficult for you to tell when you’re full and you can end up overeating.”

Digestive problems

She warned that leaving too long in between meals will cause the body to release a stress response which can irritate your digestive system and cause diarrhoea, stomach pain, nausea and constipation.

“This is due to a build-up of gastric acids in the stomach which happens when the stomach is left empty for too long,” she said.

Mental health issues

Besides physical health, constantly skipping meals can have a serious impact on your mental health as well.

Ashleigh said: “Because your body starts to produce more cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone, you’re more likely to experience anxiety, mood swings and depression.”

It could also put you at greater risk of developing an eating disorder, she said.

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