Appetite Loss During Heatwaves? Nutritionist Shares Ways To Cope
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The harsh heatwaves in the summer can cause much more than just sweating and dehydration. You might also face a significant decrease in your appetite as the temperature rises. If that’s the case with you, know that it’s completely natural to feel that way. The body often loses its appetite, but to answer why, Slurrp interviewed a functional nutritionist, Mugdha Pradhan.

Mugdha Pradhan is a Pune-based nutritionist and the founder and CEO of iThrive. As per the expert, “Losing appetite in case of harsh summer conditions is a concern for many people and is certainly not a myth.” If you, too, don’t feel like eating anything in the summer, here are some of the reasons behind it and the ways to cope, as shared by Mugdha Pradhan.

How Do Heatwaves Decrease Appetite?

Increased Body Temperature

The nutritionist says, “The human body releases heat when people eat food. Since digestion is an exothermic process, the body does not require to burn food to keep itself warm because of the high temperature of the surroundings. The thermo-regulatory effect is one of the main reasons why people feel less hungry whenever the temperature is too high.”

Slower Metabolism

As per a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology in 2015, during extremely high temperatures, the metabolism of the body slows down and directly affects calorie intake. Mugdha Pradhan comments, “You might have noticed that you feel hungrier during winter. That is because your body needs energy to keep itself warm, which is not the case in summer. Due to the slowed metabolism during heat, you feel full for a longer time, and the hunger doesn’t strike.”

Intake Of Fluids

While it is important to keep yourself hydrated during the summer, the continuous intake of fluids also impacts your appetite for solid food. During peak summer hours, you might keep drinking water to soothe yourself, which creates a feeling of fullness. Also, the body craves more cold and juicy content like summer fruits, cold coffee, and lemonade, which can also hinder your appetite for a three-course meal.

Uncomfortable Conditions

Mugdha Pradhan further says, “The ideal temperature for the human body is 23 to 24 degrees Celcius. During heatwaves, all the people do not have access to continuous air conditioning. The hot temperature hampers the sleeping patterns, which thereby hinders the appetite for the next morning.”

How To Cope With Heatwaves?

Don’t Panic

The first and the most important step stated by the nutritionist is to tell yourself that a loss in appetite is a pretty normal thing to happen during the heat. So, not panicking and affirming yourself is the way to go.

Avoid Fluids Before Meals

Even though the chilled glass of a chocolate shake or iced water might seem enticing, the nutritionist advises that it is important that you are mindful not to fill up on fluids before your meals. You can complete your water intake throughout the day, but try not to have a lot of glasses right before eating.

Complete Your Protein Intake

Mugdha Pradhan says, “While your cravings for food might be lesser, ensure that your protein intake is completed. Since protein is the most important nutrient for the proper functioning of all the body processes, try to include high-protein-based foods and beverages in your diet so that you don’t feel drowsy throughout the day.”

Keep Surroundings Cool

Lastly, you should try to keep your surroundings cool. Apart from using air conditioners, coolers, or fans as per usual, you can also try natural ways of keeping cool. For example, you can sit on the floor, use clay pots (matkas) to store and eat food, include frozen treats in your diet, etc. 

The nutritionist advises, “If, in severe cases, you have a heat stroke, the best way to cope is having as many electrolytes as possible to replenish the water content of the body. You can drink coconut water and lemonade, eat summer fruits like watermelon, and add salt and Magnesium while drinking regular water.”