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Signs and Symptoms of Not Eating Enough

By ProjectManhattan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As a human being, your body needs a certain amount of calories in order to function, even people who lead a sedentary lifestyle need calories. Not eating enough calories to meet your body’s needs can cause a variety of mild to severe mental and physical ailments. Knowing how many calories your body needs in order to function optimally can help you avoid becoming malnourished or experiencing any issues that could happen when you don’t eat enough.

How Many Calories Do You Need?

The number of calories a body requires to function at its basal metabolic rate will vary from person to person. A person’s basal metabolic rate or BMR is the amount of calories your body will need while at rest, to perform basic functions like blood circulation, breathing, temperature regulation and organ function.

The human body also requires additional calories to provide energy for other things like digestion, exercising and basic daily life activities.

Signs and Symptoms of Not Eating Enough Calories

When a person does not eat enough calories, it can result in health problems. Some medical conditions, eating disorders and extreme diets can result in a person not getting enough calories. Medical treatment may be needed in some situations if person is experiencing malnutrition-related health issues.

If a person restricts their calories, it for an extended period of time, malnutrition can happen. People who participate in strict calorie restriction can have a slower metabolism because the body is in starvation mode in order to conserve energy. Individuals who are suffering from malnutrition can have an irregular heartbeat which can raise the risk of heart attack.

Another symptom of caloric restriction is digestive problems due to a slowing down of the system. When an individual isn’t consuming enough calories, the stomach empties slower and the lining of the intestines can shrink. The pancreas will manufacture digestive enzymes slowly and it can cause diarrhea and dehydration.

Those who are engaging in caloric restriction can develop nutritional deficiencies. Several deficiencies can result in the body not making enough red blood cells, resulting in anemia. The most common symptoms associated with anemia include fatigue, irregular heartbeat, pale complexion, and dizziness, shortness of breath, and cold hands and feet. Most people with anemia don’t recognize the signs and symptoms of the condition until it becomes severe.

Consuming too few calories can cause someone to lose a considerable amount of weight. Not only is this habit not sustainable, it is bound to wind up causing a person to become unhealthy and soon the individual will go back to old eating habits. Calorie restriction causes muscle atrophy and rapid weight loss, which can be extremely unhealthy.

Why it’s Important to Consume Enough Calories

Eating enough calories to be within the recommended daily amount will allow you to be healthy. If you are having trouble eating enough calories on a daily basis, you may wish to do the following:

•Drink meal replacement shakes
•Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day about 5-7 times
•Limit low calories, low fat foods
•Take vitamins
•Eat high protein snacks such as cheese, nuts, trail mix, etc.

Eating enough calories will ensure you can function normally and avoid experiencing all the health related issues that come from starving yourself.