"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

Why you shouldn't skip meals!

Lisa Cutforth - Monday, February 07, 2011

Reasons not to skip meals, why it can actually slow your metabolism and contribute to your weight problem!

When you skip meals or don't eat your body enters what is referred to as a fasting state and then starvation state.  This starts to happen after 4-6 hours without food, and depending on how you have trained your body, the effects can be more or less serious.

Here are some of the physiological effects though that tend to occur in the body, when it goes for a period without food:
  1. The body when depleted of carbohydrate stores will switch to alternative fuel sources, this process is known as Ketosis. The body will use available blood glucose, and then revert to carbohydrate stores for example glycogen in the liver and muscles. Once those are depleted (usually within 6 hours) the first "alternate" fuel it reaches for is protein, and unfortuately unlike carbohydrate and fat your body doesn't have stores of protein, so your body will break down muscle. This will directly affect your metabolism and your energy levels.  Your muscles or lean body mass help to set your metabolism.  The lower your metabolism the less energy you burn and have.
  2. Slowing of metabolism as the body readjusts it’s energy output and input and attempts to become more efficient.  Your body slows down its metabolism in a defensive effort to preserve energy and important resources. Your brain, nerves and red blood cells rely on carbohydrate to function, your body makes meeting these needs a priority.
  3. Malnutrition: Deficiencies start to result as essential nutrients are depleted and are not replenished.  If you are not taking nutrients in your supplies are used up and over time you can be malnourished but even in the short term your body processes can be compromised if you are missing important tools to function.
  4. Wasting occurs as tissues are broken down for fuel, muscle wasting occurs before fat stores are immobilised.  Your body starts to break down muscle and eventually fat stores and as a result you start to see and feel changes in your body.
  5. Survival: the body activates stress and survival strategies.  It is stressful for your body the longer it has to go without food particularly if your eating patterns are erattic and it doesn't know when it can expect it's next meal.
  6. Shutting down of “unnecessary” processes: the body decides which body functions are non- essential, for example long term starvation as in the case of anorexia can result in anorexic dysmenorrhea (loss of periods/menstruation.)
  7. Organ and System failure, eventually key organs may begin to malfunction or shut down
  8. Death: finally in severe cases of prolonged starvation (or periods without any nutrition such as excessive ongoing fasting and starvation - beyond a couple of weeks, and depending on the individual).
Too many people skip meals in a misinformed attempt to manage their weight or because of poor planning with a busy schedule, essentially your body will work better for you if you respect it, its rules and its simple and effective functioning. 

It is a good idea to eat small regular meals.  That is the most effective way to control your blood sugar, your energy, your weight and your mood.  The result is health worth celebrating!

Recent Posts


food intolerances gluten intolerance life lessons lunch immune system fussy eaters taking a break brain health high cholesterol natural alternatives to drugs nutritionists diet diary celebrate life pop-eye and spinach time management and healthy living which is better for you butter or margarine feels good new year's resolutions low calorie meal plan seasonal quick and tasty recipes dancing weight heart foundation tick explained nutritionist four questions you must ask your doctor before taking medication obesity benefits of strength training, why you should strength train breast cancer prevention sugar and add Add new tag quizz how to love exercise health with 10 % effort keep focused fatigue assertiveness sugar and adhd should I eat organic veggies fresh start Nutritional Therapist nutritious fruit and vegetable shortage recipe dance organic vegetables dangers of multitasking while you eat Nina Simone sensitivity to milk muscle wasting Egg allergy what is movember comfort foods making time to relax how to be happy getting fit have fun in the kitchen is chocolate bad for me cooking with allergies reducing coffee are frozen veggies any good low calorie diet cheap fruit and vegetables, what's in season in autumn in australia healthy cooking parties how to avoid doing the right thing and getting the wrong results sexy salads I don't get hungry music detox relax Lactose intolerance simple 7 day detox plan homocysteine cholesterol lowering diet skip meals ability to respond indigestion libido improve your memory delicious natural toothpaste ask my doctor love food health one step at a time quick eating solutions go for 2 and 5 cooking class in brisbane soccer, role of team sports in longevity, role of exercise and community in longevity empty your mind Cancer recipies quick recipes focus alzheimers healthy wine, healthy beer, healthy alcohol options mobile phones and brain cancer, Dr Teo to know and not do is not yet to know gift how to check your breasts motivation foods in season, seasonal recipes fruit fun breast cancer awareness video hot guys blood pressure the tummy beast have more energy weight loss trans fats comfort eating happiness course support your body how to avoid injury during exercise life choices heart disease leaky gut, gut health, symptoms of leaky gut recipes for allergies diet diary of a nutritionist success and you 10 % principle healthy shopping list increasing energy weightloss comfort pig fresh the power to choose avoiding a choice what is a good breakfast anxiety is sugar bad soft drink and behaviour problems Dr Randy Pausch on Oprah drugfree alternatives 7 steps to detox what is healthy food breakfast sustainable living, rural development, organic gardening, rampumps, biogas Alan Pease christmas diet diary nutritious cooking fun hunger and stress reasons to eat foods in season how to say no wrong type of exercise, exercise and results low cholesterol herbal toothpaste healthy cooking demonstration health pioneers memory overindulge strength breast cancer awareness salad Happiness great second hand books healthy fast food, healthy take away food sensitivities Lisa's Diary ways to improve prostate health are grains healthy addicted to chocolate benefits to keeping a diet diary skipping meals love, loneliness image control healthy cooking party energy do i have to drink milk; where do i get calcium from; non dairy calcium sources real food allergies best exercise mood corporate wellness make stress work for you muffins how to get more of exercise happiness workshop soft drink and behavior problems health for busy people prostate cancer relationship with food I've Got Life childrens lunch boxes sexy salad nutrition Laughter and stress immune boosting tips performance benefits of sleeping life health nutritionist in brisbane Sensational taking responsibility stress, keys to managing stress, benefits of stress healthy shopping food allergies maintain a healthy weight, underweight calorie controlled diet 7 Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol and Protect Your Heart