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What are the Effects of Under-Eating?


Under-eating can occur in many forms. Some of these include restraining food intake to keep weight under control and eliminating specific food groups from a diet for fear of putting on weight. There are a number of negative effects associated with this eating disorder.

Emotional Effects of Under-Eating

Depression is one of the most common effects of under-eating. Many nutrients in food affect the brain and can lead to negative effects on a person’s mood. Those who under-eat generally feel low and are prone to irritation or anger.

Those who under-eat are also susceptible to panic attacks. These commonly arise if a person does not receive the nutrients he or she needs to balance and cope with life. The body’s stress system can only be tamed when a person regains normal weight.

Heightened obsessiveness is also an effect of under-eating. Those who under-eat may feel compelled to walk a certain distance each day, be inflexible or carry out strict fitness routines. This can interfere with a person’s ability to relax, and therefore increase stress, which can keep off weight.

Physical Effects of Under-Eating

There are a variety of physicals effects associated with under-eating. Some of these effects include:

  • Heart erosion
  • Poor circulation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Risk of bone fracture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Slowing of digestion
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Restlessness


People who under-eat sometimes experience cravings, or withdrawal. Cravings for food rich in sugar or fat are the most common. To ignore these cravings, some people take up smoking or drink alcohol to distract themselves. Some research has suggested that cravings are biologically driven by under-eating and will continue until a person reaches a healthy weight.

Source: National Centre For Eating Disorders