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Is Skipping Meals Good For You?

60% of UK adults skip at least one meal a day, according to our recent survey carried out by Mortar London[1]. We know that some people intentionally avoid meals, with diets such as intermittent fasting on the rise, but here we focus on the people who skip meals due to a lack of time, prep, or they simply forget. Although skipping meals isn't necessarily bad for you, we're giving you both sides of the coin.

Irregular meal times

We can all relate to irregular meal times. You may normally eat lunch at 1pm, but that unexpected meeting pops up so you quickly grab something to keep you going. It's these occasions of varying our eating times that we should keep to a minimum to support a healthier lifestyle[2].

Eating at irregular times, or skipping meals completely can cause some people to experience a drop in energy, with some even eating and snacking more throughout the day. With this, there's a possibility of not getting enough micronutrients, and an increased risk of developing certain health problems such as type 2 diabetes.

Snacking

In the same survey, 70% of people chose convenience over nutrition, highlighting the importance of convenience. Skipping meals may also lead to snacking[3]. If the snacks are high in sugar and/or fat then this can lead to an overall unhealthier diet. What is unclear is whether missing meals results in more snacking due to increased hunger, or feeling less hungry around meal times.

Micronutrients

Even if you find that you're not snacking, skipping meals may result in the intake of significantly fewer vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, iron, and folate[4]. This is because breakfast cereals (one of the most common breakfasts) are often fortified with these nutrients and it's been shown a meagre 24% of people know their nutritional requirements[1]. However, breakfast eaters tend to have higher sugar intakes as cereals can be high in sugar. The good news for Hueligans is you know you’re getting all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, with little sugar.

Weight loss

Some people suggest that skipping meals can help with weight loss. There is conflicting evidence on both sides of this argument. A person’s calorie intake may be lower on a daily basis, however, you may use less energy if a meal is skipped, resulting in no weight loss[5].

Huel

If you find yourself missing out on a meal you feel like you should be having, or you're grabbing a convenient and unhealthy snack due to lack of time, then think Huel. Convenient, nutritionally complete, and probably cheaper than a pre-packaged alternative.

Reference List

  1. Mortar London. Eating Habits and Attitudes Towards Food. 2019.
  2. St-Onge MP, et al. Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017; 135(9):e96-e121.
  3. Kelishadi R, et al. Is snack consumption associated with meal skipping in children and adolescents? The CASPIAN-IV study. Eating and weight disorders: EWD. 2017; 22(2):321-8.
  4. Coulthard JD, et al. Breakfast consumption and nutrient intakes in 4-18-year-olds: UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (2008-2012). Br J Nutr. 2017; 118(4):280-90.
  5. Betts JA, et al. Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2016; 75(4):464-74.

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