Skipping meals is one of the more popular ways that the uninformed dieter uses to try to lose weight. If a dieter only knew the havoc that skipping meals causes in the body, they would eat all their meals on time. We hope to discuss this common weight loss myth in this video article.
Table of Contents for Article
Skipping meals to lose weight
Your logical mind tells you that you should be able to reduce your weight by reducing the food amount that you eat. When you think logically, you should be able to lose some weight by depriving the body of a meal. After all you have consumed lesser calories right. Well, not exactly.
The body is a complicated machine whose ultimate aim is “not to die”. It will do what ever it takes not to die. The body’s survival processes have not evolved in tandem with the progress in technology. We now live in an age of abundance where people rarely die of starvation in most developing and developed countries. In-fact people are dying of over-eating. Your body does not know this and thinks that food is still scarce. Technology has made food abundantly available but the body has no way of knowing this.
Skipping meals sets of the starvation response
When you skip a meal, you set off what is called your body’s starvation response. This is a panic situation for the body when it senses that there is a food shortage. When this panic situation arises, your body reduces it’s energy utilization. Your body needs a certain amount of energy to run all your bodily processes such as breathing, digesting food and everything else required to keep you alive. The amazing thing about the body is that it can ramp up or down energy utilization. This energy utilization is also known as your metabolism. When your body senses that there is not enough food to go around, it ramps down your metabolism. This is mainly done by sacrificing your muscle mass and making most processes in the body sluggish.
This is exactly what happens when you skip a meal. If a period between your meals is longer than what your body is used to, it will panic. It will set off the starvation response. Most people who skip meals think that they are losing weight but the exact opposite happens. They are in-fact reducing the amount of fat that they might burn when eating regularly.
You store even more fat in the next meal
To make matters worst, the body remains in this starvation mode until the next meal. When this next meal is eaten, the excess calories are stored as fat. As a consequence of skipping a meal, you not only reduce your fat burning ability but also store more calories as fat in the next meal.
Skipping meals is never a solution to weight loss. Skipping meals is a weight loss myth. What you should do is to spread out your meals to 3 main meals and 2 small snacks. This regular eating will help keep your body’s paranoia at bay. The body burns the most amount of fat when it is not paranoid of starving to death.
Suresh and Dr Jasvin address these issues in the video above. After reading this article and watching the video, you should never again think about skipping meals.
Transcript of “Weight Loss Myths – Skipping Meals”
Hi I am Suresh and I am Dr Jasvin and we are from the Correct Weight Loss team. Today we are going to talk about weight loss myths, in particular about skipping meals in the hope of losing weight. And at the end of the talk, you will realize that skipping meals is a fundamentally flawed approach to sustainable weight loss.
What happens when you skip a meal [0:00.24.4]
[Suresh] Dr Jasvin, would you like to tell us what happens to the body when we skip a meal.
[Dr Jasvin] A very common scenario goes like this. Most people get up in the morning and probably have a cup of coffee. They then rush out of the house and go to work. They are busy the whole day. They have not had breakfast. Maybe at about 10 o’clock or so, they will have a snack probably consisting of some pastries. They then go for lunch. Even then, lunch may or may not happen. Most of the time they think that lunch should be really small. They then probably have another cup of coffee. They go back home absolutely starving.
[Suresh] Famished because they have not eaten well the whole day and look forward to dinner.
[Dr jasvin] It’s also family time. Dinner is probably the only meal where they sit down to eat together. Dinner also seems to be the biggest meal. This is indeed a recipe for disaster. Because it has been a long tiring day,> To make things worst, an hour after dinner they are most likely asleep.
[Suresh] So what happens to the body when you do that.
[Dr Jasvin] People may think that they are on a restrictive diet. They think they have not eaten much. Lets look at the day as a whole. They have missed their breakfast. They have gotten up from a whole night of sleeping for about 7 or 8 hours and are in a fasted mode. In fact, they are in a starvation mode and not had anything for breakfast. That is why the call it “break fast”. It is literally to break the fast. By skipping breakfast, they have not broken the fast.
[Suresh] What happens to the body when you don’t eat for so long.
[Dr Jasvin] Basically the body goes into starvation mode. The body is not sure when the next meal is going to come.
[Suresh] You are saying that the body has its own intelligence.
[Dr Jasvin] Off course it does.
[Suresh] I guess it has because it has kept us alive for millions of years. It is a very intelligent body.
[Dr Jasvin] It is basically got a basal metabolic rate which keeps you alive. It is the energy required for your heart to beat, your breathing functions and your other metabolic functions.
[Suresh] It has its own intelligence.
[Dr Jasvin] For all these functions, you need a certain amount of energy every day. Even if you do nothing at all the whole day by just sitting around on the couch, there is a certain amount of energy that is required to sustain your life. That energy is different for different people.
[Suresh] An individual who has more muscle mass, has a higher metabolic rate. Those who have lesser muscles have a lower metabolic rate.
[Dr Jasvin] What happens to those people who don’t east is that the body brings down the basal metabolic rate to increase chances of survival at a time of food shortage. It brings down the metabolic rate to a minimum level possible so that it can survive longer.
You lose muscles when you skip meals [0:03.31.6]
[Dr Jasvin] One of the strategies to bring down the basal metabolic rate is to cut down on the largest contributors to your metabolic rate which are your muscles. In order to reduce your metabolic rate, your muscle will be broken down by your body and get sacrificed.
[Suresh] When they skip their meal, they think they are burning fat. The body to preserve itself , actually burns muscle. It actually forces the body to store fat as it wants to preserve the fat for future energy usage.
[Dr Jasvin] When people do eat, most of the time they end-up eating sugary and fatty food. They also have very large meals for dinner. Dinner is mostly made up of fat, carbs and sugar. When the body finally receives food, it wants to store it because it has starved the whole time. It does not know when the next meal is going to come. It becomes a little paranoid.
[Suresh] The body does not know when it is going to get the next good meal. So it stores everything. All of the calories go into fat storage. Whatever you need for your daily energy consumption will be taken and used and the rest stored as fat. Bear in mind that the basal metabolic rate is already low.
[Dr Jasvin] Even though you are eating about the same or slightly less calories than what a typical person would eat, you have created a starvation response in your body. This is because you have disrupted your meal patterns.
[Suresh] Even though you may be eating similar or lesser calories than other individuals, your body forces you to lose muscle mass and store more fat.
[Dr Jasvin] Exactly.
[Suresh] So you are losing muscle and you are storing fat. It is a recipe to become fatter and fatter. So which is why skipping meals is a bad idea. We are not saying that you should go and eat 3 meals and 2 snacks up to your throat because that is also a bad idea. You have to find a way to eat what you need but spread it out evenly to keep the body from going into panic or starvation mode.
[Dr Jasvin] What is very important to remember is that nutrition and diet in a day is not only how much you eat, but it is a combination of your meal quantity, timing , frequency and quality.
[Suresh] I guess you have to consider a few parameters and when you apply them correctly, then it is correct nutrition. That is what we call correct nutrition. Correct nutrition will help you achieve sustainable weight loss while creating health and youthful performance.
From the Correct Weight Loss team, this time do it right.