Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Why Shouldn't I Skip a Meal?


You know what they say: “Learn from your mistakes.” This is especially important when it comes to managing diabetes — as some mistakes can be more serious than others. Here's a lesson you can take away to care for your condition like a pro.

Management Mistake: Skipping meals

You check your blood sugar and notice it’s higher than it should be. Maybe you had a particularly stressful day at work … maybe you’re coming down with a cold. To balance out that number (and maybe kick-start your weight-loss plan) you could skip a meal, right? But “diet compensation” only makes an unhealthy situation worse, says Ann Doherty, RN, CDE, manager of the diabetes center at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, CA. Depriving yourself of sustenance not only has the potential to send your blood sugar spiraling dangerously low, Doherty explains, but it can actually raise it even further by sending your liver into overdrive, causing it to release a surge of glucose into your blood stream.

Mistake Managed! Instead, Doherty suggests eating a balanced, protein-rich meal (such as a tuna or salmon salad with a side of berries) to stimulate insulin production, at your normal mealtime. Oh, and those pesky pounds you were hoping to lose? Skipping meals isn’t the answer for that either. A 2012 study revealed that women who skip meals lose an average of 8 pounds fewer than those who don’t, proving that healthier forms of self monitoring, like keeping a food log, were more sustainable than extreme deprivation-based tactics. Tracking your meals is easy with a smartphone app like My Diet Diary (for iOS and Android); it links to Sugar Sense (for iOS and Android), our blood glucose tracking app, so you can manage all your data in one place.


Published on April 20th, 2015. Updated on September 27, 2015.


—by Katie Lewin. Katie is a health and lifestyle writer living in San Francisco.

Reviewed by Shira Goldenholz, MD, MPH on February 13, 2015.
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