Why skip meals?
Skipping meals is a tendentially incorrect habit that can have essentially three reasons:
- Temporal / logistical problems
- Caloric restriction aimed at weight loss
- Anatomy-functional or pathological difficulties or disorders (dysphagia, gastritis, nausea, vomiting, colitis, diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence etc.) or psychiatric (depression or anxiety, respective loss of appetite, anorexia nervosa) etc.
Why is it wrong to skip meals?
The consequences of this practice are not positive.
First, a disordered eating behaviour can only create more disorder in the diet and, over time, get worse; skipping meals is therefore highly non-educational.
Second, depending on whether it is breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner, eliminating the foods that should normally be eaten at that juncture can probably favour a specific nutritional imbalance; below we will try to better understand why.
Do you lose weight by skipping meals?
Skipping meals do not make you lose weight. This is because the greater the caloric reduction, the greater the hunger stimulus that follows; ergo, skipping breakfast you will eat more for lunch, skipping lunch you will binge for dinner, and skipping dinner you will hyper-feed in the first 4-6 hours of the following day.
Since weight loss occurs because of a deficit in the energy balance [ENERGY IN – ENERGY OUT], by “moving” the food from one meal to another, the fat reserves will initially be affected and then immediately reconstituted.
Is skipping meals bad?
The main variables are: which meals, how many, how many below, how long there is between main meals, how long we repeat the habit, who puts it into practice, in what way and in what context.
To better understand what we are about to expose, it is necessary to make a brief premise: skipping a meal or two does not mean fasting.
A body accustomed to this circumstance, thin or fat, can afford to remain without food, suffering no repercussion even for almost a whole day.
Shortly after the start of the use of glycogen and fatty deposits, the brain attenuates the appetite or hunger stimulus (depending on the circumstance) until we eliminate it.
This is because the long-feared circumstances of prolonged fasting do not appear.
Hypoglycaemia and ketosis: do they occur by skipping a meal?
First, the fasting time between meals is not enough to cause hypoglycaemia – thanks to the very efficient neo-glucogenesis of the liver – let alone ketosis – since the increase in fat consumption does not occur in the lack of glucose.
Obviously, this can change under circumstances of a significant increase in energy consumption.
Do you lose muscle mass by skipping a meal?
By skipping a meal there is no risk of affecting the muscle masses. Just think that there is a specific nutritional strategy aimed at increasing muscle mass called intermittent fasting.
Now, regardless of its real effectiveness, it does not cause the exact opposite.
Following short periods of fasting, the organism adapts itself “sparing” the anabolic hormones in the absence of nutrients, to subsequently pour greater quantities of them into meals.
Does skipping a meal lower your basal metabolic rate?
The basal metabolic rate is not affected and the calorie consumption at rest is the same.
Laboratory analyses have shown that even an entire day of fasting does not reduce the activity of the thyroid gland.
Do you run the risk of dehydration by skipping meals?
It is the only aspect not to be overlooked: hydration.
Food is a source of water, necessary for the proper functioning of the body.
Skipping meals, especially in the presence of sweating, can easily lead to excessive fluid losses, which if not filled can lead to dehydration.
As anticipated, the consequences of skipping meals depend essent
ially on the context, therefore on the overall diet as much as on the subject in question.
The topic is, in reality, very broad and with infinite facets. We will therefore try to be as brief but clear as possible:
Skipping a meal after a binge: why not, even if, perhaps, rather than skipping it, it would be correct to decrease it.
However, it remains crucial not to get too hungry to the next meal, or you will get the opposite result.
Hyperinsulinemia, leptin secretion and digestive difficulties act in a complementary way by removing the desire to eat as soon as you wake up; be careful though, if the lifestyle is active, the situation could quickly turn around.
Skipping meals in sedentary conditions: if our habits have “evolved” in this sense, there will be a reason. Be careful though, this doesn’t mean it’s right. Many obese people skip meals and, despite this, do not seem capable of restoring the correct body composition; on the contrary, especially in the short term, in many of these cases by inserting the missing meal there is a correction of the appetite stimulus, a different management of subsequent meals and consequent weight loss.
However, in metabolic terms, it is clear that in the vast majority of cases this cannot even be called a “real problem“.
Skipping meals with heavy physical activity: it’s always wrong, because we don’t know how the body will react. In fact, if it is true that on the one hand a healthy and nourished subject can perfectly maintain a constant glycemic level any fasting would require using first the circulating glucose and then the glycogen stores proportionally to the energy consumption.
A sedentary “trained in fasting” could abstain from meals even for ? of the day without having big problems; to be honest, this habit also allows you to force the body to use fat reserves.
A person who works/trains intensely and by intensely means even “sweating” from fatigue – empties himself very quickly; the first symptoms are: hunger, weakness, recurring yawns, nervousness, muscle cramps, etc.
Skipping meals if you are used to it: here the matter gets complicated. In overweight and sedentary conditions, if one realises that skipping the breakfast the same symptoms as a very active person appear, it is the case to “reprogram” one’s metabolism.
When the physicist goes into crisis too quickly, where energy supplies are abundant, a certain “metabolic flexibility” is missing (cit); ergo, the body is no longer used to using its own supplies, which affects a possible weight loss process.
Conversely, a thin person, worse if an athlete or a sportsman, cannot absolutely afford to skip breakfast when he is totally used to it. This would lead him, even far from performance, to compromise muscle recovery and consequently performance.
Up to now we have mainly talked about glucose, glycogen and fat of the adipose tissue, therefore of calories or energy.
On the other hand, feeding has a far more complex function.
With nutrition we must also take: water, amino acids and essential fats, minerals, vitamins, fibres and other non-essential nutritional factors such as plant antioxidants.
Since each meal of the Mediterranean diet has a nutritional function in its own right, and there are several foods that “tend to” make it up, skipping the same meal systematically could cause a specific defect.