Is undereating good for gut health?
I had a lot of patients with weight issues over the year. One of their key beliefs was that they should be undereating to lose weight. But, for many people, it just doesn’t work like that.
I don’t think undereating is a good idea. You need to know how many calories you need given your lifestyle, age, genetics, and body composition. Some people suggest that 10x your body weight in pounds is a starting point for how many calories you need each day.
What happens if you undereat to the extent that you’re in eating disorder territory? In those cases, undereating is often driven by body image. I also get concerned when undereating comes along with overexercising or overtraining. Those two habits, in combination, are not a good idea.
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A lot of people don’t lose weight by restricting. They may get grumpy, constipated, tired, moody, and their blood sugar can take a real hit. If your blood sugar is low, the liver responds by breaking down stored sugar using a process called glucogenesis. This process elevates insulin and cortisol, which can result in an emotional roller coaster.
If you undereat enough, the production of sex hormones like estrogen can decrease. Low levels of sex hormones can result in significant symptoms such as low energy and brain fog.
Instead of following a generic “undereating” plan, it’s important to customize your diet. You shouldn’t have to severely restrict your intake as long as you are favoring the healthy foods I talk about on my website ad Youtube channel. Of course, try and keep away from having a chocolate bar for lunch or making pop your beverage of choice.
Both undereating and overeating leads to problems. You got to find the right balance for you.