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Dear Doctor I cut out dinner in order to maintain a good body shape. However, I am a coffee addict so instead of having normal food for dinner, I opt for a light snack and coffee.
 Dr. Rada Pande
Dr. Rada Pande

Dear Doctor

I cut out dinner in order to maintain a good body shape. However, I am a coffee addict so instead of having normal food for dinner, I opt for a light snack and coffee. My friends are discouraging me, saying that it is unhealthy. What advice can you give me?

Martha, Kibagabaga

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Dear Martha,

Many people skip meals with the belief that they will lose weight. Usually people skip breakfast, but more popular now is dinner, for the same purpose.

In doing so, they do not realize that they are damaging their health and inadvertently gaining weight instead of losing it. When one skips a meal, the body seeks and utilizes other sources of energy. Irregular eating habits cause the body to utilize stores of carbohydrates, proteins and fats present in the body.

Gradually, glycogen present in the liver gets depleted. Brain cells and nerves of the body need constant glucose supply in order to function properly. To fulfill this demand, glucose is derived from the liver, muscles and other tissues in the body. In a bid to preserve other sources of energy in the body, the body starts utilizing the fats present. As fats are metabolized, ketone bodies are produced, making a person sick. 

Gradually, you start feeling weak and sick. You suffer from nausea, vomiting, muscular weakness and have difficulty in concentration. As the adequate amount of diet is not available, bowels do not function well, resulting in constipation. As food is not consumed on time, the acid in the stomach is not neutralized, causing burning pain in the abdomen and back chest.  If this continues for days, there is a risk of developing ulcers in the stomach.

Moreover, when you eat after skipping a meal, you tend to eat more the next meal around. The body also tends to conserve more fat to maintain an uninterrupted supply of fuel to maintain the normal body functions. But instead of losing weight, you can gain it.

Therefore it is not wise to skip meals, particularly for the purpose of losing weight. It is better to eat food with low calories. Eating vegetables and fruits in abundance will help in this regard. Among meat products, fish is okay but others like goat’s meat and beef should be avoided.  Alcohol and soft drinks also contribute to weight gain and have no nutritional value whatsoever. They should be avoided too. “Snacking” in between meals is something that can also be easily avoided.

The best way to lose weight is to burn the calories consumed. This can be achieved by doing physical exercise or engaging in sports every day. Brisk walking, jogging and swimming all work perfectly. The only thing necessary is regularity. Exercising for some days and then skipping for another 2 to 3 days negates the benefits obtained.  One should start exercise slowly and then increase it gradually, with consistence.

 

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