A fast paced schedule and high stress levels characterize the actual lifestyle of most people today that often includes not enough time to eat. Skipping meals and starving our body for hours can be damaging to our health and quality of our dietary nutrition.
Why is it recommended to eat every 3 to 4 hours?
By eating regularly throughout the day it helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels (glucose) and replenish the glycogen deposits that are found in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is made up of glucose molecules linked together to form a reserve of carbohydrates for the body. These molecules are available for the muscles, so they can function properly and reestablish the glycemic levels needed between meals.
On the other hand, it is worthy to mention that the red blood cells, or in other words the blood cells that are responsible to supply oxygen to each cell. These blood cells only use glucose as their main source of energy and the brain consumes more than 2/3 of the carbohydrates that are acquired by adequate daily diet in order to function correctly.
In order for the body to correctly function, it is necessary that the blood sugar levels be always between 70 to 110mg/ld. The only way to achieve this is by eating meals every few hours.
Skipping meals: adverse effects on your body
When we fast for several hours or skip breakfast, our body begins to produce a hormone called Cortisol. This is often known as the stress hormone, that can cause the loss of muscle tissue, by breaking down the proteins found there, to be used as glucose.
One of the consequences of this muscle breakdown is muscle loss, which undesirable since the muscle structure is designed to protect the bones and be able to move about.
If someone desires to increase muscle mass, they need to eat every 3 to 4 hours; this will assure that the proteins consumed will be used to build muscle and not glucose.
Also, if the blood sugar levels drop below 50-55mg/Ld., this can cause a condition called hyperglycemia. The symptoms of this condition are very unpleasant as they cause vertigo, excessive sweating, muscle weakness, headaches, trembling, dry month and more.
If we skip breakfast, the chance of suffering from hyperglycemia is greater and is directly related to physical and mental performance of adults and children.
On the other hand, when fasting for many hours without consuming anything, when we do eat something, we tend to choose larger quantities and higher caloric items that release an overload of insulin into the blood stream. Insulin is a hormone that stimulates the development of fat, for this very reason skipping meals is directly related to weight gain.
Skipping meals: How it affects your diet
As we mentioned beforehand, eating only a few times a day and reducing the glucose and glycogen levels in our blood stream and body. This causes an overwhelming sense of hunger, causing the person to lose control and overeat, henceforth leading to undesired weight gain.
On the other hand, this intense desire to devour everything in sight leads to eating large quantities of food in a relatively short period of time. This leads to digestive issues such as nausea, stomach pain and bloating.
Eating every three to four hours, allows you to eat about six to seven times a day. This aids in increasing the energy expenditure through thermogenesis, by eating.
Finally, breaking up our eating habits into fractions throughout the day is highly recommended to avoid feeling hungry. Also, it will aid in making wiser eating choices that will promote maintaining a healthy diet and reaching a healthy weight.