Reaching a healthy weight is difficult for many, specifically in a society where it’s so easy to get food. It’s easy to overeat in today’s day and age. But most people don’t realize it’s also important not to eat too little as well.
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Not taking in enough calories is a major concern. It doesn’t matter if it’s due to a restrictive diet, lack of appetite or any other reason. The truth is, consistent under-eating will lead to numerous emotional and physical issues.
Below are 9 Signs You're Under-Eating:
1. Lack of Energy
Calories give you energy and are used by your body for all basic functions. When you don’t eat enough food, you face a caloric deficit. This will commonly make you feel sluggish and tired. The number of calories you must consume daily, is calculated by your resting metabolic rate.
On average, people usually have a resting metabolic rate greater than 1,000 calories a day. The addition of any physical activity will naturally increase the number by another 1,000 or so.
Hormones are also known to play an important role. Usually, if you take in more food then needed it will be stored as fat. And on the other end of the spectrum, taking in fewer calories will achieve weight loss.
Taking in less than a thousand calories a day will slow down your metabolic rate significantly. And usually this leads to fatigue and tiredness. When you are not taking in enough energy, it’s hard for your body to support even basic functions.
Eating less than required is directly linked to low energy in older adults who eat less due to a lack of appetite. Another study on female athletes determined that low food intake was the cause for fatigue when performing physical activities. The study showed this was most common in sports like gymnastics or skating, where being thin was more emphasized.
However, even lighter activities like walking or climbing stairs could easily tire someone who doesn’t take in enough calories.
2. Loss of Hair
Hair loss is highly undesirable. Even though, most people lose hair daily, an increased amount of hair loss could be a sign of malnutrition or not eating enough. Many nutrients are required for normal, healthy hair growth. And most importantly is the intake of iron, vitamins, minerals and protein. Sufficient amounts of each is enough to stop hair loss in many cases.
So the bottom line is if you are not taking in enough calories, and specific nutrients, your body will give the nutrients you do consume to your heart, brain and organs
3. Always Hungry
If you’re hungry all the time, it is usually a sign that you are not eating enough. Studies constantly show that appetite and cravings of food are in direct response to calorie deficits that change hormone levels in the body.
A 3-month study showed that mice who were fed a diet which contained 40% fewer calories has interesting results. It proved that the levels of hormones known to suppress appetite decreased and hunger signals increased drastically.The belief now is that the same response is likely to be found in humans.
Whether someone is a healthy weight or overweight doesn’t matter, people are most likely to be hungry when they don’t eat enough. Plain and simple. The belief was again proven in a study containing 58 adults who also consumed 40% less food than normal. Their hunger levels where shown to increase about 18%.
It’s also showed that lower calorie diets increased stress levels and the production of cortisol which is directly linked to belly fat. Basically, if you’re calorie intake is too low, your body will continually send the signals needed to avoid starvation.
4. Pregnancy Issues
Eating too little may also disrupt a woman’s ability to get pregnant. It seems the hypothalamus gland that is in your brain will work in conjunction with your central nervous system to create optimal health. And this includes the health of your reproductive organs.
The hypothalamus receives signals from your body that let it know when hormone levels need to be altered. It can either encourage, or discourage the production or many hormones.
Hormones like estrogen, progesterone and others created by your pituitary gland. Research has proven this is a very complicated system that is extremely sensitive to changes that occur within calories and weight.
If your body doesn’t contain enough fat, the signals your body uses to create hormones may become impaired. This impairment can lead to serious changes in the body.In an older study, there were 36 underweight women who had amenorrhea or infertility, due to the results of caloric deficits and restrictive diets.
When their diets changed and they reached optimal weight, 73% gained pregnancy and 90% started menstruating. So, the point is, if you’re attempting to conceive, make sure you are eating a healthy diet. A well balanced and very nutrient adequate diet. This will help to ensure a health and well balanced pregnancy.
5. Not Sleeping Enough
Sleep deprivation has been directly linked to the resistance of insulin and obesity. The results have been concluded by the numbers collected throughout dozens of studies. In addition to these findings, it was found that overeating caused difficulties in sleeping, but under-eating did as well. The studies have been discovered in studies conducted with humans and animals alike.
Starvation, like overeating, has proven to cause issues in all levels of sleep. In a study conducted, with 381 college students with eating issues or restrictive diets, all were shown to have poor sleep quality and low mood.
In another smaller study, which included 10 young women, dieting more problems with falling asleep. It also led to a decrease in the time spent in deep sleep. The feeling of hunger or waking up hungry, is a large indication that you’re lacking sleep.
6. Irritable Emotions
If small things are upsetting you, you may not be eating enough. Irritability is a common issue that many people with calorie deficiencies face. A study conducted, during World War 2 on a group of soldiers, showed that low calorie diets created a sense of moodiness.
Another more recent study, showed college students also had issues with sleep, resulting from caloric deficit/restrictive diets. Basically, in order to keep a stable mood, a healthy and balanced diet with efficient calories is required.
7. Cold Body Temp
If you feel cold all the time, there’s an issue. The issue is potentially linked to not eating enough food. Your body has to have a sufficient number of calories so it can create and maintain a healthy, yet comfortable body temp. Even a very small calorie deficit has been proven to drop body temperature significantly.
Over the span of six years, a study containing 72 middle aged adults, showed that people who consumed less calories, had a much lower body temperature. Another analysis of the same study, also showed restricted diets created a very serious drop in T3, Thyroid levels. The group who ate more, simply didn’t have the same results.
Another study containing 15 obese women, also showed that levels of T3 decreased as much as 66% over the course of an eight-week period when they consumed 400 more calories a day. So, the point is, the more deficient you are on calories, the colder you will become.
8. Irregular Bowel Movements
Irregular bowel movements can be linked to calorie deficiencies. It’s not surprising, considering small amounts of food will produce less waste in your digestive tract. Ailments like constipation, very common in older people who have poorer diets.
An isolated study that contained only 18 people, showed that constipation occurred in people who didn’t consume enough calories. This proved true, even when they had enough fiber, fat, carbs and proteins. The calories seem to be the most important factor for proper bowel movement.
Poor diets and not enough food was also shown to create constipation in younger people with slower metabolic rates. In one study, 301 women, college aged, had the most cases of constipation. They also had the highest rates of restrictive dieting.
So, if someone is having issues with irregular bowel movements, they’re likely having issues with their intake of calories.
Dieting has already been linked to moodiness. And along with that, it’s shown to cause anxiety. In one massive study, containing more than 2,500 Australian teens who had restrictive diets, it showed anxiety was a common factor among many of them.
Anxiety seems to be prevalent in people who are overweight and eat low calorie diets. To minimize the effects of anxiety, appropriate levels of food must be taken in daily. And the diet must include all types of proteins, fats, and carbs. As long as they’re all healthy, there is a near guarantee that levels of anxiety will be reduced.
9 Signs You're Under-Eating Final Words
Even though it’s dangerous to overeat, it’s also dangerous to under-eat. Problems can occur in both areas of dieting.
It’s even more true when the caloric deficit is regular. Instead of cutting calories, make sure to take in at least 1,200 calories a day. Also, take these 9 signs you're under-eating into consideration.