- The cons and pros of skipping meals have been heatedly debated.
- Experts find how does skipping meals affect mental health.
How Fasting Benefits Mental Health
Skipping meals is the common recommendation for weight loss and improving metabolic health, provided that it occurs healthily and is well-scheduled. Certain types of fasting like water fasting and intermittent fasting benefits sustainable lifestyle changes and work well with a long-term nutritious, whole foods diet.
Fasting also benefits mental health, including:
- Enhancing mental strength and the ability to resist short-term gratification to pursue long-term goals
- Alleviating stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms
- Contributing to clearer thoughts, better memory, and increased sharpness of senses
Can Skipping Meals Cause Mental Health Issues?
The negative effects of skipping meals are far-reaching. Physically, unhealthy fasting weakens a person, draining his/her body of the necessary nutrients and energy levels. The mental health impact of skipping meals includes several triggered mental health disorders, such as:
- Mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.
Why Is Skipping Meals Bad For Teens and Adolescents?
A recent study shows that adolescents skipping meals have risk of developing mental health issues like depressive symptoms, irritable mood, inability to cope with stress, impaired cognitive functioning, and suicidal ideation. Unhealthy fasting in adolescence and childhood is also associated with criminality in adulthood.
Who Shouldn’t Be Skipping Meals To Lose Weight?
Research reveals that skipping meals can be harmful for:
- Children and adolescents
- people who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Diabetic people
- People on medications
- People with a history of eating disorders (like anorexia, bulimia, etc.)
Practicing Meal Skipping The Right Way
Consider the following measures to use fasting to improve your well-being:
- Consider cutting back slowly on food and drink intake over a few days or weeks, and not immediately taking to crash dieting.
- Avoid sugar intake on a daily basis.
- Cut back on physical activity, such as strenuous movement or exercise.
- Consider medication and supplements to help your body replenish itself even while fasting.
- Help your body adjust to your dietary restrictions by moderating your lifestyle in general.
While fasting itself is recommended from time to time, drastically skipping meals has a deeply negative impact on our physical and mental health. Developing a healthy way to fast (for instance, through intermittent fasting) can help you better reap the benefits of fasting.