If you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off, health experts say skipping meals is not a good idea, as it can get the opposite effects to those desired.
Medical News Today shares that if a person eats a lot and then goes for long periods without eating, the body can burn calories more slowly and store more fat cells.
Eating regularly at regular times, with intervals of about 4 hours, can help maintain metabolic balance.
The UK National Health Service (NHS) notes that skipping meals altogether can lead to tiredness and can mean you miss out on essential nutrients. They will also be more likely to snack on foods high in fat and sugar, which could result in weight gain.
To lose weight you need to reduce the amount of calories you consume and increase the calories you burn through exercise. But, indulging in extremely restrictive diets can slow down your metabolism.
“Because not enough calories are being consumed, the body slows down its metabolism in an effort to conserve energy. You may feel sluggish and cold and have gastrointestinal abnormalities, such as constipation,” shares the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
How to lose weight
The World Health Organization recommends:
1. Limit energy intake from the amount of total fat and sugars.
2. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts.
3. Carry out regular physical activity (60 minutes per day for youth and 150 minutes per week for adults).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping the weight off.
“Healthy weight loss is not just about a diet or program. It is about an ongoing lifestyle that includes healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity,” the CDC shares.
The Harvard Nutrition Source notes that instead of choosing foods based on caloric value alone, people should choose high-quality, healthy foods and minimize low-quality foods.
High-quality foods include unrefined and minimally processed foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy sources of protein.
Lower-quality foods include highly processed snack foods, sugary drinks, refined (white) grains, refined sugar, fried foods, foods high in saturated and trans fats, and high-glycemic foods like potatoes.
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