What really happens when you skip a meal?

I'm sure one point of your life, you have woken up too late on a weekend and skipped breakfast, or been too busy at work to eat lunch, or maybe even skipped a meal in pursuit of particular health goals.

But have you ever wondered what happens to your body when you skip a meal, other than hunger pains, low energy levels and getting ‘hangry’?

There's a lot of overwhelming information out there so it was super important to me that I addressed this question with the help of my in-house dietician. 

First and foremost, it might surprise you to know that even if you skip just one meal your blood sugar (glucose) levels fall. Glucose is a super important fuel source for your body and brain, which can not function at their best without it.

In periods of starvation and extreme food restriction, your metabolism can slow down to conserve energy and start to draw on its muscles for protein and energy – and reduced muscle mass significantly reduces the speed of metabolism. When you return to eating normally, your metabolism speed may not return to normal and you may even you gain weight quicker than you previously did.

What if I accidentally skipped a meal?

While skipping even one meal will cause your blood sugar levels to fall, an accident - like sleeping in - every now and then is not the end of the world. Yes, you may feel tired or even hangry but the best thing to do is to go about your day as normal and enjoy your remaining meals. It's also really important to listen to your body and adjust portion sizes to your hunger levels as you may find yourself feeling hungrier than usual.

How often should I be eating?

Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer because everyone is different and with different requirements. Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself is to listen to your body.

I personally eat three main meals and two snacks every day, as this suits my lifestyle. Therefore, it’s how I have structured my BARE Guide so you can be sure you're getting all your macronutrients across the day. However, I suggest you do whatever suits your lifestyle, hunger needs and personal goals.


If you have any other questions, be sure to let me know via my contact form or Instagram! I absolutely love hearing from you and want to answer any questions you may have.

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Leah xx