It is important to understand that many chronic diseases and illnesses can be prevented through a healthy diet. There are some important tools to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. This includes, limiting the amount of skipped meals, staying hydrated, and eating in moderation.
Normally, the body breaks down food and stores part of it as fat and the other as sugar in the bloodstream. Skipping or missing a meal can cause a dramatic decrease in blood sugar, which can lead to lethargy and a change in insulin function, which can ultimately lead to the development of diabetes later in life due to insulin resistance. In addition, if one is not acquiring the proper nutrients throughout the day, the body is not able to function appropriately, and is less likely able to fight off ailments and disease.
Lastly, skipping meals can actually slow down one’s metabolism. When food is subsequently consumed, the metabolism is not able to break down the food as quickly and, as a result, the food is stored as fat. Recent studies have shown that eating 6-7 small meals throughout the day is most effective when trying to maintain a healthy weight. In addition to eating consistently throughout the day, it is important to drink plentiful fluids as dehydration leads to lethargy. It is recommended that adults drink 8 glasses of water per day however this does vary based on body mass. To make the rule more standardized based on weight, a good concept to remember is to drink half one’s body weight in ounces.
Authored by: Alison Prins, MPA, PA-C