Why Skipping Meals Won't Help You Lose Weight

by Heather Reese Patient Expert

I recently read that fainting dieters are one of the top reasons that New York subway trains run late And according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), this is a year-round problem. Since it's the time of year when people make resolutions to lose weight, if you live in New York you may want to leave more time for your morning commute or walk.

The MTA doesn't keep an official record of the nature of each rider's illness, so we don't know exactly how many delays are actually caused by dieters. But we do know that not eating can lead to fainting and that is not a healthy way to lose weight. While I may make light of these findings, skipping meals is not a laughing matter. In fact, not eating to lose weight can have serious consequences.

It is a common misconception that skipping meals will accelerate weight loss because you are eating less. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. Skipping meals can lead to food cravings, binge eating and weight gain. This is because you are more likely to overeat and choose high calorie, high fat foods when you are extremely hungry.

Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day are heavier than those who eat breakfast and four to five small meals a day. Eating regularly helps you maintain a higher metabolic rate so that you burn more calories, and it helps control your appetite.

When you do not eat for a prolonged period of time, like when you skip a meal, your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down to preserve energy. This means that your body will compensate for the inadequate calories by burning fewer calories than it normally would. When your body goes into starvation mode it does not draw from its fat stores for energy, and this makes it virtually impossible to lose weight. Once you do eat, your body will store those calories, rather than use them, because it expects you to starve it again.

If you are dieting, do it the healthy way by following a well-balanced diet that includes all the food groups, and do not skip meals. You are more likely to lose weight if you eat regularly throughout the day. Eating smaller meals more frequently helps keep both your blood sugar and your metabolism on an even keel allowing you to feel better, burn more calories and lose weight.

Find delicious and healthy recipes at FoodFit.com.

Heather Reese
Meet Our Writer
Heather Reese

Heather wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Food & Nutrition.