Skipping meals will help with weight loss.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Skipping meals will help to cut calories out of your day.
WHAT WE KNOW
Many individuals trying to lose weight attempt a meal-skipping diet to reduce their caloric intake. Dieters will bypass breakfast, lunch, or dinner in order to shed the pounds. However, they often end up overeating later in the day – a result of being hungry from their meal-skipping behavior. In addition to potentially triggering overeating later in the day, skipping meals may also slow metabolism. The body uses food as fuel, and burns calories while it digests food. When individuals skip meals, the body may go into starvation mode and metabolism will slow down.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
Studies have shown that adolescents who report skipping meals during the day are more likely to consume a greater amount of calories from snacking later than adolescents who do not skip meals. Additionally, individuals tend to have larger portion sizes during later meals after skipping an earlier meal. For those trying to lose weight by cutting out meals, the overeating that often results may instead lead to weight gain. Research also suggests that skipping meals can cause irritability, fatigue, and poor concentration.
Eat regular meals. It is easier to control calorie intake by planning to eat regular meals, and appropriate foods are more likely to be available. It may also help to control appetite because your body will ‘learn’ when to get hungry. It is best to listen to your body’s cues for hunger and for fullness.. Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full will help you to consume an appropriate amount of calories. Restricting meals takes the pleasure and enjoyment out of eating, and it may adversely affect weight loss plans. You are more likely to overeat and consume more calories if you’re feeling extremely hungry. Rather than waiting until you feel like you’re starving, have healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. If you miss meals because time is an issue, plan ahead to have some foods available that you can eat on the run. See how fruits and vegetables can help in our Weight Management section.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Skipping meals is not an effective weight loss strategy and is a behavior that can lead to overeating. Instead, consume balanced meals and healthful snacks, including fruits and vegetables throughout your day to prevent extreme hunger and to keep your metabolism going. While it is not necessary to eat by the clock, eating at regular times throughout the day will allow your body to get hungry at regular times, likely when appropriate foods are available or can be planned. Since overeating is likely to occur when meals are skipped, make sure to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry.