05/21 2013

ABCs of Nutrition: Don’t Skip Meals

There are many excuses for skipping meals. Perhaps you don’t have time, don’t make the time or simply forgot (the latter of which I find quite perplexing because I never forgotten a meal in my life!). More than likely, however, you have skipped meals to avoid unnecessary calories, save up for a meal you haven’t yet eaten or gain reprieve from one you already have.

My recommendation is to think twice before you skip your next meal. It may be wreaking havoc upon your system, especially if you are abstaining in hopes of losing weight.

Metabolic Roller Coaster

When you skip a meal, your body wonders why it’s not getting any food and goes into starvation mode, thus slowing down your metabolism. If your metabolism slows down, you’ll have a harder time burning off whatever calories you eat later. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of skipping a meal in the first?

A complication, over time, is that elevated fasting glucose levels and delayed insulin responses can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Another adverse side effect of skipping meals is hunger! If your tummy is empty and growling, you’re much more apt to make poor food decisions, such as  grabbing a bag of chips or sneaking a bite of leftover chocolate cake in the break room. A balanced meal is a far wiser choice.

Breakfast

After a good night of sleep, your body is deprived of nutrients and its metabolism has naturally slowed down. Breakfast picks it back up again! If you miss morning nutrients, your body will start the day in an energy lull, which can negatively affect your alertness and concentration. If you mask that hunger with four cups of coffee, you’ll only exacerbate the problem.

Many of people have said to me, “When I eat breakfast, it only makes me hungrier in the morning. If I skip it altogether, I don’t want to eat anything until lunchtime.” That may sound like a weight-loss, calorie-and-time-saving feat, but it’s still doesn’t circumvent metabolic mess-ups!

Mornings are a crazy time for everyone, so get up a few minutes earlier and make the time for a balanced breakfast to start your day. With protein in the mix, you’re far less likely to get a case of the late morning munchies. Not to mention, there’s nothing wrong with a mid-morning (healthy!) snack anyway.

Play it safe

Eat balanced meals and don’t skip them. Your blood sugar levels will thank you by providing a more consistent energy supply to fuel your day.

P.S. Your pancreas appreciates it, too, as it will not have to work in overdrive to produce insulin.

 

Image courtesy of Hungry Girl.

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