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What Are the Side Effects of Not Eating Enough Food?

While the prevalence of obesity in society today is certainly cause for alarm, the focus on this particular issue has led many to overlook the risks posed by undereating, which can be just as dangerous or debilitating as those associated with overeating. Those who don’t eat enough tend to struggle with daily responsibilities, and although some of the effects of undereating may seem minor in the short term, they can spiral into a serious health problem if left unchecked. So, what are the side effects of not eating enough food, and how can you address this problem? To find out, keep reading as the team at ENU, makers of meal replacement shakes, tackle this topic.

Common Signs and Side Effects of Not Eating Enough Food

Whether you’ve recently seen a change in your eating habits or have long struggled to consume enough calories and nutrients, there are a few specific side effects related to not eating enough food that you should watch out for. If you experience any of the following symptoms, talk to a doctor and be sure to discuss the possibility that you might be undereating.


The calories in food are what give our bodies the fuel they need to function, which means that not eating enough food can leave you without the energy to go about your normal routine. This lack of energy could manifest as feelings of physical tiredness when moving around or mental fogginess that makes it difficult to concentrate, and it can limit your ability to exercise as well.

Reproductive Issues

When energy is at a premium in the body, your system begins to prioritize the essential, life-sustaining processes – breathing, for instance – over ones that are less vital for immediate survival, such as reproduction. This side effect of not eating enough food can not only reduce your desire to have sex, but it can also hinder your ability to conceive.

Changes in Mood

We’ve all known someone who gets irritable when they don’t eat, and many of us have experienced it firsthand. If you often don’t eat enough food, this low mood may linger until you change your eating habits and raise your blood sugar levels by eating more.

Failure to Thrive

While calories are important for everyone, not eating enough food as a child can have especially serious side effects. Because a child is actively growing, they need the energy and nutrients to fuel that growth, and not receiving it can mean that they end up shorter and weaker than other people their age, even into adulthood.

Frequent Illness

As one of the most important systems in our bodies, the immune system needs to be maintained by eating enough nutritious food. Without proper resources, this crucial system may not be able to fight off even minor illnesses, such as the flu or the common cold. This weakened immune system can also make infections much more dangerous.

Low Body Temperature

One of the most basic functions in the body is maintaining a warm internal temperature, but this process requires a significant amount of energy. By not eating enough food, you may be depriving your body of the calories it needs to stay warm, leaving you feeling cold as a side effect of not eating enough food.

Loss of Hair

No one wants to see their hair coming out, but if you’re not eating enough food and getting the nutrients you need to create new hairs or maintain the ones you have, you might start noticing changes, including a change in the color of your hair or a loss of hair.

How to Avoid the Side Effects of Not Eating Enough Food

Although the problem of not eating enough food may seem like it has a simple answer – eating more – the truth is that many people struggle to consume more calories, which can happen for a number of reasons. If you have a hard time getting yourself to eat enough food, consider some basic lifestyle changes that may help improve your condition.

For starters, many people find that changing to an eating schedule that involves frequent, smaller meals (instead of 2-3 large ones) makes it easier to eat more. In addition, making a conscious choice to eat foods that are more nutrient- and calorie-dense can allow you to boost your intake without increasing the actual volume of food you eat. Good choices for this include foods cooked in unsaturated fats, such as olive or coconut oil, as well as dairy products (which are high in protein and calories) and whole grains, which can provide extended energy and lots of nutrients.

Products that combine all of these aspects can be especially useful; this includes meal replacement shakes like those from ENU, which contain 400 calories from real food ingredients, as well as 20 grams of protein, complex carbs, heart-healthy fats, and 24 key vitamins and minerals that can help you stay nourished if you’re not eating enough food.

Healthy Nutritional Supplements to Help Avoid the Side Effects of Not Eating Enough Food

If you find that you chronically under-eat and have to deal with the unpleasant side effects of not eating enough food, consider adding an ENU nutritional supplement to your diet. Our meal replacement shakes and nutritional powders can make it easier to add calories and nutrients to your daily routine, helping you stave off any side effects that you may be experiencing and even gain weight, if necessary. To learn more, visit ENU online or call (855) 266-6733 today.

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