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What Happens To Your Body And Mind When You Don't Eat Enough Food?

It is not new information that it is important to eat enough in order to let your body function in a healthy way. What happens when you don't eat enough food? Well, there are many side effects of malnutrition. Most of us are aware that consuming too much would lead to obesity and certain health problems but in fact, when you don't consume enough, that might also lead to certain health issues.

Our body needs three proper and balanced meals a day to be healthy physically and mentally. A lot of people neglect their meals frequently. This may be due to their hectic lifestyle or dieting. People also follow fad diets blindly in order to slim down and get into shape.

Skipping meals is never healthy. You may notice that you frequently catch infections or fall sick often. This is due to your body's weakened immunity. Nutritionists, time and again, have stressed the fact that starving is not an effective form of dieting. Instead of losing weight, you have a higher chance of gaining weight as you will tend to overeat after a period of starvation.

It is imperative to provide your body with its daily requirement of carbs and other micronutrients. What do you think your car will do if it is out of fuel? It will break down, right? Your body functions in a similar way.

Below mentioned are some of the common signs that you are not eating enough.

1. Blood Sugar Fluctuations (Low Energy)

The moment you eat, your body starts converting the carbs into glucose to provide us with energy. Our body needs a constant supply of glucose in order to function correctly. When we starve, our body is deprived of glucose, which results in our blood sugar levels decreasing too much [1]. This causes headaches, low energy level and sluggishness. It also makes concentrating on a task much difficult. Fluctuating blood sugar levels may lead to heart diseases in the long run.

2. Constipation

Starvation often means that your body is deprived of nutrients, including fibre. Depriving your body of fibre will eventually lead to constipation. Your stools become hard and infrequent as the amount of intake of food reduces.

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3. Insomnia

When you are starving, your body is busy burning fat instead of glucose to provide energy. As the insulin level dips, your body goes on overdrive and increases the production of an enzyme called orexin, which gives you temporary energy. Also, during starvation, your brain signals your body to secrete excess adrenaline, making it difficult for you to fall asleep [2].

4. Hair Loss

Our hair is basically made of protein. But it needs calcium, iron and monounsaturated fatty acids to remain healthy. Depriving the body of these will make the scalp dry, and hair follicles loosen up, resulting in excessive hair loss [3].

5. Anger And Irritation

Have you ever wondered why you are so irritated or angry on some mornings than the others? The reason may probably be with you skipping breakfast. There is a very simple science behind it. When you are hungry, the serotonin levels in your body decrease, leading you to feel angry or upset easily [4].

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6. Digestion Problems

In addition to causing constipation, not eating enough can severely affect your digestive system as well. All the food that we eat ends up in our stomach. When we starve ourselves, the gastrointestinal tract shrinks, and this makes it difficult to accommodate a normal diet. The production of acids in the stomach also dips. If starvation is frequent and prolonged, the enzyme activity in the stomach may cease completely, after which you may require treatment to get it back to normal [5].

7. Constant Hunger

Being hungry throughout the day is another sign that you are not eating well. Appetite and food cravings can increase in response to major calorie restriction due to changes in levels of hormones that control hunger and fullness. So, if your calorie intake is reduced, your body will send signals to your brain, making you hungry [6].

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8. Inability To Get Pregnant

Studies have shown that people who starve themselves and under-eat often find it difficult to conceive-the main reason for it being irregularity in periods. When your body is not receiving adequate food, it may run low on iron. This, in turn, causes a delay in the monthly cycle. An irregular monthly cycle makes it difficult to conceive. So, it is best you ditch that diet if you want to conceive [7].

9. Constant Feeling Of Cold

Experts say that your body needs to burn a certain number of calories in order to create heat and maintain a healthy, comfortable body temperature. So, if you are not eating enough, you are most likely to feel cold all the time [9].

10. Anxiety

Studies point out that anxiety can occur as a response to very low-calorie intake. Anxiety has also been reported in overweight people who eat very-low-calorie diets [10].

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On A Final Note...

While overeating increases the risk of developing health problems, under-eating can also be a highly unhealthy practice. Under-eating on a regular basis can lead to a number of mental, physical and emotional health issues. Make sure to eat at least 1,200 calories per day.

Story first published: Saturday, April 17, 2021, 15:06 [IST]
Read more about: hunger malnutrition obesity