Manoj Bajpayee in a recent interview revealed that he has been skipping dinner for almost 13-14 years now and how his grandfather’s fitness levels inspired him to follow his eating habits. The actor said that while he initially started with 12-14 hours fasting to manage his weight, in the due course of time, he stopped having dinner altogether. Bajpayee eliminated dinner from his diet after his doctor advised him to have early last meal. Bajpayee says his eating pattern is similar to intermittent fasting, but he does it for 18 hours and eats between 9am to 3pm and consumes only healthy food. (Also read: Intermittent fasting can prevent tooth decay, improve dental health; know all benefits from experts)
Skipping dinner or following intermittent fasting can help some people
Intermittent fasting is a diet plan where you eat during certain hours while fasting for the rest. There are different types of intermittent fasting. In 16:8 intermittent fasting, people eat during 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours each day. Intermittent fasting has many benefits and can help people lose weight and delay onset of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure. People who follow intermittent fasting either skip their breakfast or dinner, but experts say if the choice is between breakfast or dinner, one should choose to skip the latter.
What research says about benefits of intermittent fasting
Not eating for several hours can lead to a metabolic switch and help burn fat more effectively and manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. There are studies that prove intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol.
What experts say about skipping dinner
Experts say that what works for one person may not work for the other and hence skipping dinner may not suit everyone.
“In our pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, we often come across various dietary strategies. One such approach gaining attention is skipping dinner. The idea behind this practice is to reduce calorie intake, potentially aiding weight loss and preventing chronic diseases. However, it’s crucial to understand that our bodies are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another,” says Nutritionist Anupama Menon.
Understanding individual body types
Before considering any dietary changes, it’s essential to assess our body type and caloric requirements based on our routines and exercise patterns.
“If you are generally healthy and close to your desired body weight, skipping dinner may not accelerate fat loss; in fact, it could hinder your progress. Each of us has specific nutritional needs, so it’s important to identify the point in the day when hunger strikes the hardest,” says Menon.
Side-effects of skipping dinner
“Skipping meals can have negative effects on our body and mind. When we skip a meal, our blood sugar levels drop, causing us to feel lethargic and irritable. It can also lead to overeating later on. Additionally, our body may go into ‘starvation mode’ which slows down our metabolism and holds on to fat in order to conserve energy. It’s important to nourish our bodies with regular, healthy meals to maintain our energy, mood, and overall well-being,” says Nutritionist Sakshi Lalwani.
“Skipping meals can also disrupt our metabolism. When our body doesn’t receive regular meals, it can go into starvation mode which slows down our metabolism in order to conserve energy. This means that the body burns fewer calories, making it harder to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, when we skip meals we may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals that are important for our body’s health and well-being. For example, skipping meals can lead to a deficiency in iron and other essential nutrients which the body needs for cognitive function, immunity and other important processes in the body,” Lalwani adds.
So what one can do instead of skipping dinner
Menon says rather than blindly skipping dinner, it is advisable to distribute our calorie intake throughout the day according to our hunger patterns.
“If you find yourself most hungry in the first half of the day, allocate around 20 to 25% of your total calories during this time. For instance, focus on consuming say 70% of calorie requirements during the first half of the day which is breakfast, lunch, and mid-meals until late afternoon. Then, opt for a lighter evening meal such as a comforting soup, salad, or a refreshing fruit bowl. On the other hand, if your hunger peaks in the afternoon due to work and stress, skipping dinner may not be the best approach. In this case, consider having a lighter lunch and reserving a wholesome dinner to meet your nutritional needs,” suggests Menon.
How to work on healthy dinner combinations
Regardless of whether you choose to skip dinner or not, keeping your dinner combinations simple is a beneficial practice, says Menon.
– Avoid overwhelming your digestive system by consuming too many food groups simultaneously. For example, opt for a three-slice whole wheat sandwich with vegetables, a simple grilled chicken paired with soup, or a sautéed paneer with veggies.
– By maintaining simplicity, you allow your body to digest and absorb the nutrients efficiently.
The pitfall of late-night snacking
“One crucial point to consider when skipping dinner is the potential risk of late-night snacking. If you skip dinner but find yourself awake and hungry later in the evening, the temptation to indulge in unhealthy snacks can arise. Your mind may justify these cravings, thinking you haven’t eaten, but this can do more harm than good. It’s important to be mindful of late-night snacking and its impact on your overall dietary goals,” says Menon.
“When it comes to skipping dinner, the effectiveness varies from person to person. It’s essential to listen to your body, understand your hunger patterns, and make informed choices about meal distribution. Skipping dinner may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you are generally healthy and close to your desired weight. Instead, focus on a well-rounded approach by consuming nutritious breakfasts, satisfying lunches, and light evening meals. By adopting a mindful and individualized approach, you can achieve your health goals while ensuring your body receives the nourishment it needs,” concludes Menon.