A recent survey by Pitango reveals that 76 per cent of Australians are ‘too busy’ to eat lunch, with 41 per cent of participants skipping lunch at least once per week.
While this may not seem like a big deal, there could be some pretty big consequences, according to health experts.
Nutritionist Maggie Moon says that skipping lunch causes people to “generally feel tired and unwell overall”.
Without a new supply of calories, your system reverts to starvation mode in an effort to conserve your energy, she says. This essentially means your metabolism slows down, preventing the food you consume later from being effectively burned off.
What’s more, it can also affect your intellectual and emotional functioning, causing you to become irritable and moody.
According to the nutritionist, another issue with skipping lunch occurs when you do eat again. This is because when you eat after skipping lunch, your body only feels a short-term relief from hunger. This is due to the fact that your metabolism remains low and your blood sugar falls after eating because your body does not know when it will receive nutrients again.
Despite all of this, Dr Edward Rosick suggests that eating less could actually be good for you, and that it may be the key to maintaining weight.
This belief is based on research by the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, where it was found that in laboratory mice, a long-term (20 week) program of intermittent fasting – a total fast every other day, interspersed with unlimited food every other day – led to all of the benefits of a calorie restricted diet.
Skipping lunch however, is certainly counter-productive to a busy work life. Making sure you are not ‘too busy’ to eat lunch will lead you to work more efficiently and stay focused throughout the day. If you are trying to lose or maintain your weight, skipping lunch may not be the most effective method as it does not serve as ‘total fasting’, says Dr Rosick.