Meal Skipping: Smartness or Diet Disaster?

Sabera

Are you very much conscious of being overweight? Do you think that skipping meal will help you to reduce some weight? Sometimes it’s a prestigious issue for some teenagers and youngsters who think that meal skipping is a part of smartness. In fact, there are several myths about meal skipping that are being believed by many people. For example, some people think that skipping meal can help to reduce  weight, some may even think that everything eaten late night turns to fat!

There are many people who skip breakfast or lunch by saying that they were too busy to have it. Even some people replace their lunch with snacks or fast food items. They may go for heavy dinner in the evening to minimize the effects of unhealthy eating throughout the day. Such type of meal skipping if continued for a long period of time can take a toll on body.

Researchers showed that meal skipping can help to reduce weight but there are certain conditions that are need to be fulfilled. Increasing only eating frequency (e.g. 6 times a day) will not help to reduce extra fat of the body as it can improve body’s metabolism rate. But this is not true all the time. Eating frequency can minimize cravings for food but it has little to do with metabolism. Quality and quantity of food should be the main consideration for a person who wants to reduce weight. Eating foods late night will not hamper the diet if proper calories are taken.

Meal skipping is also related to weight gain. Though it may sound surprising but the fact is people who remain hungry for a long time eventually develop cravings for food. And in this situation, the spicy, frozen, fried and oily foods seems to be more attracting. Thus craving leads to insensible and overeating resulting in weight gain. This type of larger meals after ‘no meals’ stretches the belly that makes it full. This stretched stomach pressurize the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). LES is the muscle ring of stomach that prevent back direction of acid that moves through the stomach. But too much pressure sends the stomach acid back up to the throat and cause heartburn.

Again, remain hungry for a long time can cause acidity, ulcers and gastroenteritis. Production of digestive enzymes is also hampered with meal skipping that causes poor food digestion resulting in gas, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhea.  

When the body do not get food for a long period then chemical reaction of ketoacidosis starts that breakdown body chemicals and develop unpleasant smell. Not only this, empty stomach also reduces the amount of saliva production. Saliva normally flushes away unwanted bacteria but in absence of saliva dry mouth results that is also associated with bad breath.

Skipping meal can cause many disease conditions in long run. Generally it is obvious that when a person do not eat for a long time then the blood glucose level falls below normal. To compensate this some hormones are released that increases the blood pressure and cause headache. Again, when a heavy meal (including more carbohydrate and grains than normal level) is taken after remaining hungry for long period, it increases blood glucose level and delay insulin response. Is the situation continues it might cause diabetes in the long run.

Not only the physical health is hampered but also mental health is affected due to meal skipping. Researchers found that those who skip lunch turn to bad performers in professional life. They face lack of self-confidence, lack of focus, difficulty in concentrating, depression, irritation, frustration, decrease in patience, anxiety, slower pace of making decisions and emotionally drained feeling. Sometimes it has been observed that when the brain do not get adequate supply of glucose then it trigger muscular convulsions. Epilepsy and seizures are common in that case.

It is always desired to have a healthy body to live a healthy life. Proper diet and physical activity is very important to lead a balanced life. Skipping meal can prove to be a diet disaster. If meal is skipped (sometimes but not often), then diet should be planned with fresh fruits and vegetables and sufficient amount of water should be taken. Frequently meal skipping should be avoided as it has many short and long-term side effects on body.

Sabera Rahman is a master’s student of pharmaceutical science, she has completed her graduation under the department of Pharmacy, East West University. Sabera is a student correspondent at Association of Life Science and Engineering Writers (ALSEW). She can be reached at sabera.rahman@ymail.com

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