What Meal Skipping Does to Your Body
By Sandy Schroeder
In a quest for diet magic, more of us are considering intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. If you are weighing the advantages, you may want to know what actually happens to your body when you skip a meal. Some things are good, and some are bad.
Prevention takes a closer look at the process to help you make the call. You will probably lose weight, but you may get an assortment of other results. To try meal skipping, nutritionists recommend starting with a large breakfast, and then adding an average lunch 5 or 6 hours later, followed by a long overnight fast.
Here are some of the things that may happen.
You may get quite tired - The drop in glucose in the blood will signal shutdown to the body when you are fasting. To make this a healthy effort, you need to eat whole foods that will sustain you during the fast.
Your memory may sharpen - Johns Hopkins neuroscientists say skipping meals reduces inflammation which helps sharpen brain functioning as new brain cells are generated
Bloating may stop - During fasting the body can process food that is already in the body. Fasting can reduce inflammation and belly fat, helping the body slim down and fight disease.
Overeating may be a temptation - If you bounce back from fasting with a handful, of sugary treats, all of the benefits of the effort will be lost. The whole exercise may be stressful, which tends to accelerate hunger.
You may be really cranky - When the brain is starved for glucose the first reaction is often irritability. Craving sugar is an automatic reaction which can defeat the positive benefits of fasting.
You may extend your life - Current mouse research in Cell Metabolism says male mice on fasting diets were healthier and lived longer than the mice who ate often. The mice who ate less also had fewer age linked diseases. Ongoing fasting may allow time for healthy repairs and maintenance that might not occur in normal eating routines. Overall, the fasting effects were all positive in contrast to normal eating patterns.
Weight loss may not be maintained - Recent studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, indicated that normal weight loss diets and fasting approaches achieved similar maintenance results in weight lost, but the ones fasting were metabolically healthier.
As you consider the plus and minus effects of fasting, it is important to gauge how it works for you. If you are very cranky and given to sugar cravings and overeating when you are hungry, it may not be worth the effort. On the other hand, if you can pace yourself, lose weight and shed belly fat as you improve your health, fasting may be well worth the effort.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chula Vista, Calif.