Weight loss: Skipping meals to ‘cut costs’ could be detrimental – ‘there’s a danger’

Cost of living crisis: Farmer warns food prices will rise

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The rise in cost of living is hitting everyone hard and a new survey has found women are having to make difficult spending choices at the expense of their health. From skipping meals to save money, drinking more alcohol, comfort eating due to stress and ditching gym memberships, the squeeze is affecting their health and wellbeing.

A new survey, conducted by medically validated self-care health platform Healthily, found that almost two thirds (61 percent) of 700 respondents, aged 25 to 50, admitted the financial squeeze was “affecting their physical and mental health”.

And more than eight out of 10 (81 percent) reported “higher levels of stress”.

Chief medical officer at Healthily, Professor Maureen Baker, said the survey reveals just how much the cost of living crisis is affecting not just spending habits but health in the UK.

“The women we spoke to are delaying dental treatment, cutting back on critical illness insurance and putting off starting a family,” she said.

“This shows how deeply the cost of living crisis is affecting women’s health.

“Very high numbers said these worries about money were leading to higher stress levels, which is concerning because stress can cause mental health and sleep problems.

“With the UK’s NHS in crisis after COVID-19 and the economic strain we’re all under, it’s an especially worrying time for anyone concerned about their health or managing a long term illness,” added Professor Baker.

“More than two thirds of women say they are lying awake worrying about the cost of living and that lack of sleep can affect blood pressure and heart health as well, making it harder to manage a healthy lifestyle and keep weight under control.”

The survey also found that 39 percent of women are reducing their spending on vitamins and supplements.

While most people can get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet, others need a little boost in the form of supplements.

Vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium and vitamin C, are essential nutrients that the body needs in small amounts to work properly.

Professor Barker explained: “There’s a danger of women missing out on essentials such as vitamin D or iron.

“Especially as it’s often cheaper to go direct to your pharmacist, than buy on prescription.”

Participants also admitted to skipping meals to cut costs, something that worried Professor Barker.

“Our survey shows that 40 percent have skipped meals to save money and it’s clear that skipping meals will have a very direct effect on your health, including potential malnutrition and simply not having enough energy to look after yourself and your family.”

Not eating the right amount can cause the body to lower its metabolism causing people to burn fewer calories, ultimately leading to weight gain.

Dietician Katherine Tallmadge offered some solutions to eating healthily but keeping costs low.

Plan ahead so as not to “overbuy”

Buy produce in season

Use sales and coupons

Think frozen, canned or dried

Save on protein foods

Waste not, want not.

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