Eating fewer calories than you burn is a great weight loss strategy. This can be achieved by eating less and being more active

While skipping a meal here and there could mean missing out on the calories for a specific meal, Angela Leach, the Head Dietician for FUTURELIFE, says skipping meals is neither healthy nor helpful as a long-term weight loss strategy.

Related: 5 SIMPLE ways to cut calories and lose weight

You do actually need to eat

Whether you are busy and preoccupied or trying to drop a few kilos, you really do need to eat. 

Your body sends hunger cues like irritability, a lack of energy and poor concentration, which are all direct results of your body not having the fuel (food) it needs to function.

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“By skipping meals and not eating enough throughout the day, you deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to run efficiently. As a result, you may see your blood sugar drop, leaving you feeling sluggish and weak, with poor concentration and quite possibly a foul mood,” says Angela. She explains that your blood sugar or glucose levels are the main sources of fuel for the brain and when you are running low, you may struggle to concentrate and become irritable.

To avoid this Angela suggests planning healthy, balanced meals and always having a healthy instant snack to turn to when you get hungry between meals.

Related: Why intermittent fasting works (and how to make it work for you)

If you don’t eat when you’re hungry you might binge later

While strategic fasting can help you successfully manage your weight, sporadically skipping meals could mean grabbing something quick, easy and often unhealthy when you get the chance.

“When you deny your body food, it only wants it more and, because you are ravenous, you will be more likely to cave in to your cravings and binge on unhealthy foods,” says Angela.

Planning your meals and making sure you have a nutritious meal when you need one can help you manage your food and calorie intake as well as a healthy intermittent fasting strategy.

It just isn’t healthy

Skipping meals will result in a drop in blood glucose levels. With low blood glucose levels, you are bound to start craving unhealthy foods that are high in sugar and fat. This can lead to overeating at the next meal which not only impedes your weight loss goals, but can make you gain weight instead. This dietary pattern can lead to a dangerous cycle of yo-yo dieting. It messes with your metabolism, which can hinder weight loss in the long term.

If you are trying to lose weight, focus on daily energy control, good food choices and regular physical activity. Have smaller meals more often as this will help to reduce the number of calories consumed while keeping cravings at bay,” says Angela.