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How Do You Know If You’re Eating Too Little?

Although we tend to talk about it like it’s a constant, a person’s eating habits are prone to change as they experience shifts in their health, lifestyle, or environment. For some, this means consuming more calories as they age, leading to weight gain and the health risks that accompany it; for others, the shift leads to fewer calories consumed each day, and while this may not sound like such a bad thing in this image-obsessed society of ours, the reality is that not eating enough food can be just as dangerous as eating too much. So, how do you know if you’re eating too little, and what can you do about it? To find out, keep reading as the experts at ENU discuss how to manage your weight with nutrition shakes if you’re eating too little.

How to Tell If You’re Eating Too Little

It may sound like an objective truth, but the fact of the matter is that determining exactly what constitutes “too little” food for a specific person will depend on a number of factors, including their height, weight, fitness level, and overall health. For instance, someone who works out frequently and maintains significant muscle mass should observe proper nutrition for athletes, which means more calories and protein than what a sedentary individual would need. Likewise, someone with cystic fibrosis needs as much as 50% more calories than someone without the condition, so an average level of calorie intake would be considered too little for them.

Assuming that there are no special factors present in your case, the best way to determine whether you’re eating too little is to look at the long-term effects of your diet, the best example of which is any change in weight you might be experiencing. Though it’s affected by the conditions in each of our bodies, any change in weight can be generally characterized as a result of a calorie surplus (having too many) or deficit (having too few). If you find that you’re losing weight pretty consistently, it likely means that you’re eating too little; that said, any unwanted or unexpected weight loss should be brought up with your doctor, as it could be a sign of some underlying medical condition as well.

To help determine whether a change in your weight is linked to how much you’re eating, consider keeping a food journal. Using this simple tool, record every meal and snack you eat, making sure to account for any calorie-laden drinks as well, such as soda or beer. Estimate the total number of calories that you consume each day (there are a number of online calculators and other resources that can help with this) and track how many calories you’ve been taking in. If, during this period, you’ve been losing weight, you can test whether you’ve been eating too little by increasing your average calorie intake by a moderate amount – say, 500 calories per day – and seeing how it affects your weight. If your weight loss stops, then you were probably eating too little.

What to Do If You’re Eating Too Little

In addition to the food journal strategy outlined above, there are a number of changes you can make in your life to address the fact that you’re eating too little. Most of these changes are simple and easy to implement, but remember that any long-term lifestyle adjustments that could affect your weight or overall health should be discussed with a doctor. The following are a few of the things you can do to improve your weight if you’ve determined that you’re eating too little:

Aim for Calorie-Dense and Nutrient-Dense Foods

For many people who eat too little, the issue can’t simply be addressed by adding more food to their plates. Once a person has gotten into the habit of eating very little, their sense of hunger may be diminished, making it difficult to force down more food at mealtimes. Instead, try to aim for foods that offer lots of calories and nutrients without much volume; good examples of this are dairy products (which can offer fats, protein, and lots of calories), fruits, whole grains, and meal replacement shakes.

Change How You Organize Your Meals

Most of us plan to eat two or three large meals throughout the day, but this model of eating may not be best for someone who tends to eat too little. A better option may be to eat five or six small meals or snacks throughout the day, as spacing out your food intake can make it easier to increase calorie counts without causing the discomfort that comes with the feeling of overeating.

Add Condiments and Cook with Healthy Oils

Not only can spices, toppings, and condiments make food tastier – encouraging you to eat more — but they can also boost the calorie content of food without really changing the volume. In addition, cooking with heart-healthy sources of fats, such as olive or coconut oils, can be another effective way of increasing your calorie intake if you’ve been eating too little.

Balanced Nutritional Supplements for People Who Eat Too Little

As easy as some people make it sound, increasing the amount of food you eat isn’t always a simple matter. If you’re in a position where you’re eating too little, know that ENU offers well-rounded meal replacement shakes and powdered nutritional supplements that can help you meet your calorie goals in a safe and effective way. To learn more about these products, visit ENU online or call (855) 266-6733 today.

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