Almost everyone has skipped a meal or two. Some that are trying to lose weight eat fewer Meals in a day. Others are too busy or are running late, and have no time for a meal. There are also others who take dieting to extremes and avoid eating altogether.

Skipping a meal on rare occasions isn’t that bad, but regularly skipping meals can have negative health effects. Numerous scientific studies prove the effects of skipping meals - it can lead to eating disorders, unhealthy weight gain and poor performance among others.

It is important to note that the body doesn’t understand the difference between starvation or skipping a meal.

This means that the body reacts the same way when it doesn’t receive enough energy source. Here’s what happens to our bodies when we skip a meal.

Slows down metabolism

First, what is metabolism? It is the body’s process of converting food into energy. Even when we are physically doing nothing, the body is still functioning – blood circulation, breathing, and such, and it these activities requires energy that comes from food.

Skipping a meal signals the body that there isn’t enough food or energy source and the body responds by lowering the metabolic rate to conserve its fuel sources. The body will store extra calories in the next meal to avoid the lack of fuel source.

Basically, when the metabolism slows down, the food eaten is not “used” as efficiently.

It helps to eat balanced meals to keep the body’s metabolic rate in check. It also helps when to get the right amount of sleep (7-9 hours) and drinking plenty of water.

Overeating and overweight

When we skip a meal and get really hungry, our next meal turns into a feast – we tend to eat more. According to the National Institute of Health, skipping a meal will make us feel hungrier the next time we eat.

Several studies have associated weight gain with skipping meals (especially breakfast).

When the body is deprived of food, the brain will be on high alert for any food and will crave for high caloric (unhealthy) foods. On our next meal, the body will store extra calories from the food as a survival instinct because it is not sure when it will eat again.

Some extra calories that are not used are turned to fat.

Feeling… hangry.

Hangry is real. It is the feeling when one is so hungry that it causes him to be angry and frustrated. This is because when we skip meals, our body’s blood sugar levels go down. Our brain runs on glucose and when the brain doesn’t receive enough fuel, it takes the body into starvation mode and releases stress hormones.

This is the same reason why it’s harder to focus when we are hungry. The brain is low on fuel and is deciding the best way to use the remaining energy left. We turn into moody, irritable and least fun version of ourselves.

The bottom line is skipping meals on a regular basis takes a toll on our bodies. It conspires against us and we are basically depriving ourselves of food. If you are trying to lose weight, make sure to eat right portions of healthy meals throughout the day, sleep, exercise and drink plenty of water.