Is Skipping Meals Really Bad for You?

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There's something about this time of year that seems to set us all in a frenzy. The rush of the holidays seems to have not yet worn off, and we're running around hell-bent on getting our new year's resolutions off to a good start -- and that's all in addition to our everyday responsibilities.

It's easy to get so wrapped up in the events of the day that you forget to stop and eat. Whenever I finally manage to find time to eat, I'm so famished that I act like I've never seen food before, and eat way more than I normally would in one sitting. To find how this impacts my health, I did a little research.

A 2007 study published in the journal Metabolism showed that people who skipped two meals a day, but didn't change their total calorie intake, ended up with elevated fasting glucose levels and delayed insulin response – two conditions that can lead to diabetes if they persist.

But skipping meals isn't necessarily always a bad thing. Another 2007 study, published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, showed that overweight adults with asthma could improve asthma-related symptoms and lose weight by skipping a meal every other day.

The bottom line is that it's sometimes ok to skip meals during the day, as long as you're not overeating at any meal. If you're really trying to lose weight, you may want to consider a reduced calorie diet plan, such as the one the asthma patients adopted in the study mentioned above. Otherwise, try to make an effort to eat three balanced meals throughout the day.

Here are some tips I use to avoid skipping meals:

  • Designate one day of the week to prepare all your meals. If you have healthy dishes at your fingertips, eating becomes less of a chore.
  • Set an alarm to ring at lunchtime. If you're on-the-go, set your cell phone alarm to act as a reminder that it's time to eat.
  • Make a lunch date. Not only can we neglect our nutritional needs when we get busy, but we can also neglect the people we care about. Attend to both by making plans to meet friends and family members for lunch. 
  • Treat yourself to something slightly decadent on a day you plan to be especially busy. These are days when you’re most likely to skip meals, so make the meal as enticing as possible. Just remember to reserve this tip for especially busy days, or you may end up gaining weight.

Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

Deborah Enos
Deborah Enos, CN, also known as "The One-Minute Wellness Coach," is The Health Coach for busy, working people. She pares her good-health messages down to simple and fast bullet points that can impact lives in 60 seconds or less. Deborah serves as a board member of the American Heart Association.  In addition to writing the Healthy Bites column for Live Science, Deborah is a regular on FOX Business News, NBC and ABC, and is a frequent contributor to The Costco Connection, Parade Magazine, Self Magazine, Good Housekeeping and USA Today. Deborah is also The One Minute Wellness Coach for The Doctors TV Show.