Skipping a meal may not seem like a big deal – our increasingly busy life means it is common for many of us.
But what really happens to your body when you do? From turning you ‘hangry’ to your body starting to ‘eat’ itself, here are some of the key stages.
The First 6 Hours
Everything is quite normal. Your body begins to break down glycogen, which stores energy in your body, into glucose, which your cells use for fuel.
About 25% of the energy generated is used only in the brain and the rest goes to the muscles and red blood cells.
After 6 Hours
This method of energy production stops when glycogen is stored and begins to run out. This can lead to feeling “hungry” (angry and hungry).
Your body enters a state called ketosis as it begins to fast or starve. Because there is so little glucose in the blood now, your body must begin breaking down fat for energy, which breaks down into fatty acids.
However, your brain does not work that way and it impairs normal brain function.
After 72 hours, your body is basically cannibalizing itself. With no sugar and fat reserves, your body searches for energy from other sources and begins to use protein reserves.
Without vitamins or minerals, the body’s immune system begins to shut down along with any “unnecessary” bodily functions, such as menstruation and libido.
3 Weeks – 70 Days
Hunger can lead to death in as little as three weeks or up to 70 days.