Should I skip dinner to lose weight? Experts answer

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Take care of your body, it’s the only place where you live — a quote by famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn stands apt for the generation today.

For most of us working for long hours, stressing ourselves, not eating on time and even missing meals to compensate for the lack of regular exercise is the norm. While many of us accomplish our professional goals, we tend to overlook the damage unhealthy eating habits do to our body.

While, some side effects show instantly and can be taken care of, others gradually surface over a period of time. The most common reaction of our body to unhealthy eating and lifestyle is fatigue and weight gain. We may not be very health conscious, but a lot of us tend to be weight conscious. To control the excessive weight some of us do try to crunch in exercise in our busy schedules but many look for quick fixes to deal with this excessive weight. We look out for various diet plans, programmes and selective food intake that seemingly offer a relatively easier and faster result. However, many of us are unaware about the consequences of these quick solutions. To lose weight, the calorie intake of the body needs to be reduced and many believe that by skipping a meal, often dinner, we may be able to achieve results.

Depriving our body of food for a prolonged period of time could lead to major physical as well as psychological problems. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

However, contrary to common belief, omitting dinner from our diet may do more damage that we are aware of. Renowned nutritionist Kavita Devgan feels that misinformation and lack of knowledge about the subject often leaves the patient confused. When asked whether giving dinner a skip was a good idea, she responded with a clear no. “Skipping a meal, let alone dinner, is the worst thing you can do to yourself. With lesser calorie and protein intake, the metabolism will come to a grind and there will be side effects.” While she does suggest eating an early dinner and also a bit of a stroll before sleeping, she strongly criticises the habit of not eating dinner. “It may give short-term results, but not benefit in the long run,” she adds.

While eating right is difficult, it’s fairly simple to eat wrong. As per Dr Sandhya Pandey, chief clinical nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, missing meals has a lot of do with the lifestyle and routine an individual follows. Most of the people who come to her belong to an early age bracket. “Today, youngsters who are single or live alone find it convenient to skip dinner. They have busy routines and often feel lazy to cook for themselves. Also, weight is one of the factors why people stop eating.” Pandey also feels that people tend to follow diets and routines without proper information and guidance. Stating the common saying; breakfast like a king, lunch like a common man and dinner like a pauper, Pandey suggests eating light and healthy but not skipping a meal.

While we would want to believe in quick fixes, but there aren’t many when it comes to losing weight and eating right. Eating unhealthy food during the day and then skipping dinner to balance the calorie count often leads to weight gain. As per Devgan, “There is no right way of eating as each body is different but for majority of people eating three meals, along with two light snacks is recommended.” She also suggests increasing protein intake and reducing carbohydrates.

According to both nutritionists, depriving our body of food for a prolonged period of time could lead to major physical as well as psychological problems. While, constipation, restlessness and fatigue are some of the known repercussions, anxiety and depression too could be related to unhealthy eating.

So, skipping dinner is a huge no. “Nowadays, healthy options are available in the market. If one doesn’t want to put in a lot of effort in making dinner, oats is always a good option. Avoid eating wheat or rice and instead consume two bowls of pulses,” says Pandey. “It’s better to eat protein over carbs,” she adds. If weight loss is your objective, then increased intake of fruits and greens would benefit physically as well as psychologically.