Calorie is the unit used for measurement of energy released when the consumed food is broken down during digestion. Calorie is a unit referred in pounds or grams. The food that we consume is made up of principal nutrients such as protein, carbohydrate and fats. During the process of digestion food is broken down in smaller unit which is then converted into energy.The amount of energy available from the food is called energy input.
Human body needs certain amount of energy to perform even basic physiologic functions such as breathing, digestion, and various other activities in daily life. If you do not eat enough calorific food to meet such basic physiological needs of the body, you are at risk of suffering from various physical and mental ailments.
Thus knowing your basic calorie requirement will help in avoiding problems that may crop up from not consuming enough calories.
What Happens If You Don’t Eat Enough Calories?
BMR is basic metabolic rate. It is the amount of calories that is needed for basic function of the body when it is resting. Functions such as breathing, blood circulation, body temperature also consume some amount of energy. The body also requires calories that may be needed for other primary activities such as digestion of food, walking or doing routine daily work.
When the energy requirement is more than energy input, it creates an imbalance. This input is in the form of eating food. Thus not eating enough calories can give rise to several symptoms which may be mild or severe. Mild symptoms may include feeling lethargic, dizzy, hungry, irritable, tremor, headache, tiredness etc.
Most of these symptoms are because of low blood sugar. It means there is less amount of glucose in the body. Glucose acts fast to supply energy and it is the basic fuel for the body. The mild symptoms soon disappear after eating food that contains sugar; for example after drinking a glass of coconut water or lemon juice.
If you do not eat enough food for long period it can produce serious problems such as malnutrition and starvation. If your body is not provided with the necessary nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamins it can lead to a condition called malnutrition.
Signs and symptoms of malnourishment may develop such as severe fatigue, loss of weight, hair thinning, low body temperature, low blood pressure, dry and wrinkled skin, anemia, and low immunity. It can also cause chronic diarrhea and slow down of metabolism. Treatment of malnutrition requires proper intake of nutrition as well as good amount of calorie intake. Often medical attention is needed to resolve malnutrition problem.
There are several chronic problems that you may experience if you are eating few calories. Constipation is one such discomfort that is common if your intake start depleting. This is because your body is not getting enough fibers. Fibers help easy movement of digested food.
Children with reduced calorie intake for long period may suffer from various problems such as stunted growth, recurrent infection, decreased IQ, lack of social skill, and sometime even damage to the brain. Pregnant women who do not consume enough calories can increase the risk of low birth weight of the baby.