Is it Better to Have a Small Dinner or Just to Skip Dinner Altogether?

Many people skip dinner when they are trying to lose those extra pounds because they believe that skipping that one meal will help them lose weight faster. However, this is a bad idea because it can cause a contrary effect, as you are depriving your body of much-needed nutrients for a healthy body.

small dinner or skip dinner

Reasons why you should never skip dinner

In this following article, we will mention some negative effects that occur when we skip dinner:

When we skip dinner our body fasts for too long of a period

When individuals have dinner, they will fast for around 8 to 10 hours from their last meal till breakfast. When they wake up, the majority of them feel quite hungry and their bodies have almost completely depleted their glucose levels, which are needed to supply the body with energy.

Now, when you skip dinner, this prolongs the fasting period even more, lengthening the fasting period from 12 to 14 hours. This causes the body to go into starvation mode, since the glucose is depleted, your body begins to use up the glycogen reserves that are stored in your muscle mass and liver. This leads to an unwanted side effect, muscle atrophy causing your muscle mass to break down in order to provide your body energy. Also when the glucose levels drop to this low level, it sets off a chain reaction in your body, causing you to feel extremely hungry. Your body will tell you that you are starving, leading you to eat larger quantities of food and calories in the morning, which favors weight gain and fat accumulation.

Those that skip dinner often snack throughout the day

They tend to justify eating certain snacks throughout the day because they are planning on skipping dinner. But these snacks are often very unhealthy such as candies, junk food, snacks and baked goods. This results in a larger caloric intake throughout the day and the total sum of these consumed items is higher than what would have been a healthy balanced dinner. The worst part is snack food often has a very low nutritional value.

It reduces the thermogenesis induced by digesting our meals

Fractioning our meals by 5 or 6 small meals a day is recommended because it increases the thermogenesis that is induced from digesting your food. The thermogenesis is the energy burned in the process of digesting, absorbing and using the nutrients consumed.

By skipping dinner, this thermogenesis is considerably reduced because there are too many hours without any food being ingested.

By skipping dinner we miss out on the opportunity to add important healthy nutrients to our diet

Dinner is an essential meal, without including it in your daily diet plan it would be almost impossible to meet the daily requirements for protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Dinner can include lean meats (as they contain proteins, vitamins such as B complex and iron), raw and cooked vegetables (as they contain many vitamins, minerals and fiber), and non-fat lactose products (as they are an important source of calcium).

What should a healthy dinner be based on for losing weight?

Dinner should be lighter than lunch and it should contain healthy nutrients such as fish, lean meats (with little to no fat), brown rice, quinoa or other grains and these items should be combined with fruits and fresh vegetables. You can use healthy fats in moderation such as avocado, seeds, dried fruits and extra virgin olive oil.

It is recommended to have your dinner between 8pm and 9pm, to allow yourself enough time to digest your food before going to bed. This will improve your quality of sleep, which is fundamental for losing weight.

Examples of light and healthy dinners that promote weight loss

  • Steamed swordfish with vegetables (carrots, onions, peppers, zucchini) plus a spinach and tomato salad with an extra virgin olive oil dressing.
  • Stuffed tomatoes with brown rice, avocado, celery and tuna (with no dressing) plus a carrot salad with green apples, with a lime dressing.
  • Quinoa risotto with sunflower seeds, vegetables (eggplant, green onion, lemon grass and cherry tomatoes) and mushrooms.
  • Grilled chicken breast with a pumpkin soufflé and non-fat ricotta cheese and walnuts.

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