Last Updated : 2019-07-22 00:06:00

Fasting ok, but not skipping meals

26 January 2018 01:46 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



How many times have you heard that ‘breakfast’ is the most important meal of the day? And how many times have you skipped breakfast after making an excuse of being late to work, school etc ? If you think you can make up for skipping a meal by eating more on the next one, think again.  Health Capsule got in touch with Dr. Damayanthi Perera, a nutrition specialist, in order to gain some insight on the subject. Here’s what she had to say,   

QIs skipping breakfast or dinner bad for your health?
It is well-known that skipping breakfast is not good because there is a long time gap between dinner and breakfast. It may lead to poor school performance in children and poor work performance in adults. This is why some Companies provide free breakfast to workers. Scientific studies show that this has a positive effect on the productivity of workers. Skipping dinner may lead to heart burn or gastritis in the long run. Instead of skipping dinner it is better to have a light meal.   


QWhat happens to your body when you skip a meal?
If a person has little or no body fat (i.e. very skinny people) and glycogen stores (A small amount of glucose stored in the liver that could be used by the body, especially the brain, when the blood sugar level falls),  the body may not have adequate energy to function properly.  Such people may experience headaches, feel lethargic, drowsy, dizzy etc. You may have seen children fainting during school assemblies in the morning. However, today we are living in an era where people have energy in abundance, are overweight or are obese and it is less common to see such a scenario.   


QCan skipping meals help you lose weight?
Skipping meals is not a good way to lose weight. To lose weight one must follow a calorie reduced, balanced meal plan.   


QIs it bad for diabetic patients to skip meals?   
If a person is on Insulin or Sulfonylurea drugs, it is not good to delay or skip meals because it can lead to hypo glycaemia or low blood sugar, which may create negative health effects. Sometimes, hypo glycaemia can be fatal.   


QWhy should you not skip meals?
In addition to the above reasons, when you skip a meal you are more likely to overeat at the next meal or indulge in unhealthy snacks.   


Q  What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting during a defined period.  Intermittent fasting has been proved to have a lot of health benefits,   Speaking further on Intermittent Fasting, the doctor said, “I would also like to mention a few things about the other side of the equation; fasting.  There is a difference between skipping meals and fasting. As mentioned earlier, 

since we are living in an era of food and energy in abundance, ‘planned’ intermittent fasting can be very beneficial and healthy. Although intermittent fasting is now promoted as a Western Concept. Fasting is nothing new to Hindu, Buddhist and Islam followers. Christians also fast during certain religious festivals such as Lent.   “As per the Buddhist ‘Vinaya’ (Code of Conduct for Monks) Buddhist monks and nuns are expected to refrain from partaking any meals after the mid-day meal. Lay Buddhists practice semi fasting during Sil (religious observances) on Full Moon (Poya) Days, meditation and retreats. The Middle Path refers to avoiding extremes. The Middle Path, preached by Gautama Buddha is now accepted as a highly scientific concept. Fasting is a practice that has been embedded in some religious and cultural practices. It is evident that our ancients were aware of the health benefits of fasting.   

“In India fasting is a common practice among Hindus, during religious festivals and also other times. Some Hindu women fast once a week. These fasts are ‘planned’ fasts and the person may fast the whole day, avoiding cooked meals, consuming only one meal or consuming some fruits and water. The energy deficit aids fat burning and weight management. These fasts will also help the organs such as the liver and the kidneys to have a rest or have a lighter work load. Due to the presence of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial phyto-chemicals (plant chemicals), fruit fasts help to detoxify and rejuvenate the body,” Dr. Perera said. 

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