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Why Skipping Meals Isn’t The Answer and The Cause of Diet Headaches

A meal plan journal

Medically Reviewed By:

Mary K. Polinard, BSN, RN, CNOR

Many individuals grow up eating three meals per day, but sometimes life gets in the way of regularly scheduled eating. However, skipping breakfast because of sleeping in late or skipping meals due to a busy schedule aren’t just disruptive. These habits can also have broader effects on your overall health. It’s also counterproductive (and ineffective) to skip meals to slim down as a weight loss strategy.

A lack of food in the body has a profound effect on how its systems function, and it can lead to a food headache and other symptoms. Here is some information about why skipping meals isn’t the answer, the symptoms of a diet headache, and why consistency often leads to better overall health.

Why Skipping Meals Isn’t The Answer

Skipping breakfast does a whole lot more than just save a little time and a few calories. When the body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to function, its blood sugar dips and impacts every organ in the body. If left unfed, the body will shift into survival mode and start to use up nutrients that the body needs to store for later use. Skipping meals also slows down the metabolism, which means that it doesn’t process food as well when a meal is finally consumed later.3

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If the brain does not regularly receive enough glucose, a condition known as hypoglycemia may occur. This is a condition of low blood sugar, or hypoglycaemia, individuals can experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, sweating, and even loss of consciousness.3 Skipping meals can also trigger migraines, which is why it’s a good idea for people who are prone to migraines to keep healthy snacks on-hand at all times.1

The Cause of Diet Headaches

One of the most common symptoms of skipping meals is a diet headache. While hypoglycaemia alone can trigger headaches and migraines, there are other factors at play. Fasting or skipping meals may also release stress hormones which can trigger headaches. Lack of sleep, fatigue and changes in caffeine intake may also be factors to consider when looking at the cause of a diet headache.3

A lack of nutrients in the body leads to fatigue and makes it harder to maintain optimal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin. It is also very common for people who miss meals to make up for them by snacking unhealthily or indulging on junk food. Overeating and weight gain are very real possibilities when one skips meals.2 Skipping meals may also lead to a weaker immune system, increased irritability, and reduced cognitive abilities.

How to Treat a Low Blood Sugar Headache

It may sound obvious, but the best way to prevent a food headache is to eat! Blood sugar dips are headache triggers, so make a plan to prepare healthy meals each day and keep healthy snacks around for busy moments.1 Apples, nuts, and baby carrots are all great snack options to prevent a diet headache or soothe one away. Some orange juice may also help to quickly restore blood glucose levels.

Keeping a regular schedule with meals is a good idea as well so that the body can come to depend upon receiving essential nutrients at approximately the same time each day.

Vanquish® is indicated for tension headaches. If you have a cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine headache or any other type of headache you may want to consult a doctor.

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References for Why Skipping Meals Isn’t The Answer and The Cause of Diet Headaches

1. American Migraine Foundation. Migraine and Diet. Retrieved on September 5, 2019 from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/migraine-and-diet/.
2. Piedmont Healthcare. What Happens To The Body When You Skip Meals? Retrieved on September 5, 2019 from https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/what-happens-to-the-body-when-you-skip-meals.
3. The Migraine Trust. Hypoglycaemia. Retrieved on September 5, 2019 from https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/trigger-factors/hypoglycaemia/.

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