"13 saal ho gaye dinner kare hue."
Actor Manoj Bajpayee recently revealed that he hasn't had dinner for about 13-14 years, in response to a question on how he manages to stay fit.
The actor said that he had adopted this habit from his 'extremely fit' grandfather. Over the years, Bajpayee added that he has made some adjustments to his dietary routine, including 12-14 hour fasting, which means he doesn't have dinner altogether.
But is skipping dinner even healthy?
FIT asked Bhavisha Khuman, Nutritionist & Dietician, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, and Geetika Patni, Lifestyle Expert, GOQii, a preventive healthcare company, to help us understand the pros and cons of skipping dinner, as well as some tips on how to make it work for you.
Benefits Of Skipping Dinner
There are no proven benefits of skipping dinner, say experts.
"Ideally, skipping meals is not the best way to lose weight and stay healthy. The truth is, this strategy can actually backfire. People think that by skipping food intake, they'll lose weight."Bhavisha Khuman, Nutritionist & Dietician, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre.
"Skipping meals can be bad for your health and may even make you gain weight because it deprives your body of essential nutrients," Bhavisha Khurman tells FIT.
But studies show there may be some benefits.
"If your dinner has always been in a narrow window with sleep schedule (three hours ahead of your bed time) then skipping dinner may not lead to drop in energy levels. In fact, skipping dinner and giving digestive rest helps in rejuvenation of cells and tissues through a cellular recycling process called as autophagy," Patni says.
When we avoid dinner, the body enters into a state of calorie deficit, which can lead to weight loss over time. Additionally, highly cited studies have shown that intermittent fasting, which can involve skipping meals, can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and even longevity.
While skipping dinner may not be suitable for everyone, it can be a useful tool for those looking to lose weight or improve their health under the guidance of the nutritionist. But it stops there.
The Health Consequences
"Nutritionally, skipping a meal is not recommended. It can lower down metabolism, can lower blood sugar levels too causing symptoms like feeling tired, dizzy and nauseated all the time," Patni tells FIT.
It can also lead to unhealthy cravings and overeating at the next meal.
Furthermore, long-term skipping of meals can cause nutritional deficiencies and distorted relationships with food. Skipping dinner however, is a different story.
Skipping the last meal of your day, which is dinner is actually not very fruitful, as it can lead to various side effects which may include:
Low sugar levels
Craving of high sugar foods
It better to have an adjustment in the time of meal consumption rather than skipping a meal. Also, additionally, you should always keep a check on your portion size when consuming any meal.
The Alternatives For a Healthier Way
While skipping dinner is a practice that has gained popularity in recent times, here are a few alternatives that can be more helpful:
Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism active and reduce hunger.
Choosing nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories but high in fiber and protein.
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine to burn more calories and increase your metabolism.
Practicing mindful eating, which involves paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues and eating slowly and intentionally.
If you skip dinner and naturally wake up feeling hungry then it makes sense to grab a carb/protein rich snack right away. One can replace that with tall glass of milkshake or an oats granola bar or a bowl of fruits with nuts.
It will always help us to remember that your metabolism starts to peak up in anticipation of day-to-day body functioning and so we need more energy from food to meet the fuel demands. In short, eating a breakfast will burn off across the day, but eating dinner helps keeping it stored up.