What actually happens to your body when you skip meals

Let’s face it, you’ve all been there: You want to drop a few kilos and you think that skipping a few meals will help you do it. While you might think riding out your hunger until the next meal is a simple plan of attack, your body has other ideas.

Skipping a meal here and there can be disastrous for your blood sugar level. If it’s breakfast you aren’t bothering with, things are worse because you aren’t giving your blood sugar a chance at all and we hate to break it to you but sugar is a fuel your body runs on so when you don’t have the right amount your whole body is affected.

When you miss a meal (intentionally or not) there are a whole chain of physical happenings, both good and bad.

The good

Inflammation settles
If you suffer from arthritis, heart disease or another major health condition caused by chronic inflammation a period of fasting has been found to boost the damage-repairing adaptations in your cells. A review published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that there are some health benefits to skipping the occasional meal if you are looking to lower your inflammation.

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More calories get burnt
While it is largely dependent on what the rest of your diet is like, if you like to rise early and get out and exercise, it could be more beneficial for you to do so before your first meal. A study published by the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that you can burn up to 20 per cent more fat if you sweat it out on an empty stomach.

The bad

Nutrient deficiencies
You need to be a little savvy when it comes to skipping meals if you want it to be beneficial because if you get it wrong you risk becoming nutrient deficient. This can lead to issues of fatigue and you might struggle to function mentally. To ensure you are on the right path — if you are fasting — it could be in your interests to talk about your plans with your health care professional or a dietitian to make sure you get the right amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.

Disease could develop
According to a study out of the Harvard School of Public Health, if you regularly skip breakfast your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes increase, as does your risk of heart disease.

Exercise goes out the window
Exercise is an important part of maintaining your health and wellbeing, but if you start skipping meals you might lose the motivation all together. (Yes, this is the negative to that positive from earlier.) If your blood sugar drops and you combine it with the daily stresses of your life you might just want to flake on the couch at the end of your day.

Have you ever undertaken a fasting diet? Do you skip meals?