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Can skipping lunch help with weight loss? Maybe or maybe NOT!

Don’t give that meal a skip for weight loss. Instead, divide it into small portions for better and faster weight management.
post-lunch fatigue
Skipping lunch – Yay or nay? Image courtesy: Shuttersock
Nikita Bhardwaj Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 13:23 pm IST
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The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of weight loss is cutting down your calories. And in all probability, you start starving yourself by skipping your meals. As per experts, most people tend to skip their lunch. But the bigger question is, is it really needed?

Today we are going to find out!

Can skipping lunch help you lose weight?

Answer to this is – not always!

According to Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Laparoscopic and Bariatric surgeon, Saifee Hospital, Apollo Spectra, Namaha, and Currae Hospitals, Mumbai, the idea of skipping meals arises out of the age-old misleading concept of “energy expenditure > energy intake” leads to weight loss.

Skipping meals
Right quality, quantity and timing matters in food. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

By skipping lunch, people attempt to restrict the total calories being consumed in a day, hoping to lose weight eventually.

However, do people actually lose weight by skipping lunch?

First of all, it is important to understand that “obesity” is a complex condition. Out of all the causes that lead to weight gain, some like “genetics” cannot be modified. Some of the modifiable factors that contribute to weight gain include diet, exercise, stress, and sleep.

The common misconception is that obesity is a result of an imbalance between energy intake and output, thus implying that if we reduce the intake, it will lead to weight loss.

Here’s what happens when we skip a meal?

Skipping a meal is an attempt to reduce calorie consumption, so as to lose weight. However, when we deprive ourselves, our body responds in the following manner:

Skipping meals
Eat healthy and you are sorted! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Hunger increases and there is an increased drive to eat.
  • Reduction in energy expenditure, which makes one feel more lethargic and tired, limiting the capacity for physical activity.
  • Slowing down metabolism, as our bodies are tuned more to saving energy than spending it.
  • Our cells burn less energy in response to reduced intake.
  • Increased chances of developing nutritional deficiencies.
  • Health problems like acidity, acid reflux, and fluctuation of blood sugar levels especially in people with diabetes can happen due to skipping meals. There can be episodes of low sugar that may leave one feeling irritable, confused, and fatigued.
  • There can be increased levels of cortisol secretion, which can in turn, make one feel hungrier and more stressed.
  • All of the above can lead to a lack of concentration and interest in daily activities.
Skipping meals
Skipping meals can lead to weight loss. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Yes, skipping lunch can help to reduce some weight initially, however, this state of negative energy balance cannot be sustained in the long run, and as soon as one goes back to their original diet, the weight comes rushing back. When people hit a wall, it leads to demotivation and ultimately decreased enthusiasm to follow a healthy lifestyle,” suggests Dr Bhasker.

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A healthy diet is essential for losing weight and maintaining weight loss. However, the diet must be sustainable in the long term. Fad diets followed in an unscientific manner can never lead to sustained weight loss. In fact, such extreme unsupervised diets can have serious side effects and lead to health issues. One must consult a professional weight loss specialist before starting any such diet, and any plan for weight loss must be done under supervision.

The last word

It is essential to eat regular and balanced meals by adding appropriate foods to your diet. Your diet can be healthy and still delicious. We don’t have to restrict our diet overtly by skipping meals. The quantity of the food you eat is important but the quality of diet is way more important.

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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