Are You Under Eating?
In a society where everyone talks about the problem of obesity, we can easily forget that there are many people who do not eat enough. Whether they are trying to cut down on food bills, have been through a stressful time, or have taken dieting too far, there are millions of Brits who are underfed and malnourished.
According to The Food Foundation, 12.8 per cent of households have skipped meals, 8.8 per cent have not eaten despite being hungry, and 4.6 per cent have not had food for a whole day due to the cost-of-living crisis. This is the result of food prices escalating by 5.9 per cent between May 2021 and May 2022, making it increasingly difficult for families to afford to buy enough food.
In addition to this, up to 3.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, 10 per cent of whom have anorexia nervosa, which is characterised by food restriction.
Some people might not realise they have disordered eating, as they are functioning seemingly well and do not avoid food altogether. However, there are some signs to look out for that could indicate a problem with under-eating.
These include fatigue, as the body does not have enough energy to function adequately. Not only will they feel physically tired, but mentally drained as well.
Medical News Today recognises they are likely to get ill more often as they are not consuming enough nutrients to have a healthy immune system. They could also experience hair loss, as they are lacking in protein, minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Some people might find their reproductive functioning is effective and their sexual drive declines, making it harder for them to get pregnant. They may feel cold constantly because they do not have enough calories to maintain a healthy body temperature; they could also encounter skin problems, constipation, impaired growth, and even depression.
Lots of people might start on a journey to lose weight, but, if it is taken too far, it can lead to not eating enough and, eventually, becoming malnourished.
The NHS recommends a daily intake of 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men. However, this can vary depending on your age, lifestyle, height, and starting weight.
Teenagers, for instance, are likely to need a lot more calories as they are growing, while older people do not need as many as they are not as active.
To know how many calories you should be consuming, you need to work out your daily energy expenditure based on how much exercise you do and whether you are constantly on the move or have a sedentary lifestyle. If you are very active, you may find out you have not been eating enough for your height and habits.
You could then start tracking your meals to work out how much you consume and find out how much more you need to eat to maintain a healthy weight, instead of being low in nutrients.
Alternatively, our meal prep services will deliver healthy meals to your door with all the nutrient information on each box, including its calorie content. This can help you track your intake, so you can ensure you are eating enough throughout the day.