By Spy Uganda
On a day like this decorated with heavy meals in every home, be aware that overeating can easily spiral out of control and lead to various negative health consequences.
Here are 7 harmful effects of overeating.
1. May promote excess body fat
Your daily calorie balance is determined by how many calories you consume versus how many you burn.
When you eat more than you expend, this is known as a calorie surplus. Your body may store these additional calories as fat.
That said, overconsuming protein doesn’t likely increase body fat due to the way it’s metabolized. Excess calories from carbs and fats are much more prone to boost body fat.
2. May disrupt hunger regulation
Two major hormones affect hunger regulation — ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and leptin, which suppresses appetite.
When you haven’t eaten for a while, ghrelin levels increase. Then, after you’ve eaten, leptin levels tell your body that it’s full.
However, overeating may disrupt this balance.
Over time, your body may associate these pleasure sensations with certain foods, which tend to be high in fat and calories. This process may eventually override hunger regulation, encouraging you to eat for pleasure rather than hunger.
3. May increase disease risk
While occasional overeating likely doesn’t affect long-term health, chronic overeating can lead to obesity. In turn, this condition has consistently been shown to increase disease risk.
Obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, is one of the main risk factors for metabolic syndrome. This cluster of conditions raises your chances of heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.
Indicators of metabolic syndrome include high levels of fat in your blood, elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
Insulin resistance itself is closely linked to chronic overeating. It develops when excess sugar in your blood reduces the ability of the hormone insulin to store blood sugar in your cells.
If left uncontrolled, insulin resistance may lead to type 2 diabetes.
4. May impair brain function
Over time, overeating may harm brain function.
Several studies tie continual overeating and obesity to mental decline in older adults, compared with those who do not overeat.
One study in older adults found that being overweight negatively affected memory, compared with normal weight individuals.
5. May make you nauseous
Overeating on a regular basis can cause uncomfortable feelings of nausea and indigestion.
The adult stomach is approximately the size of a clenched fist and can hold about 2.5 ounces (75 mL) when empty, though it can expand to hold around 1 quart (950 mL).
When you eat a big meal and start to reach the upper limit of your stomach’s capacity, you may experience nausea or indigestion. In severe cases, this nausea may trigger vomiting, which is your body’s way of relieving acute stomach pressure.
6. May cause excessive gas and bloating
Eating large amounts of food may strain your digestive system, triggering gas and bloating.
The gas-producing items that people tend to overeat are spicy and fatty foods, as well as carbonated drinks like soda. Beans, certain veggies, and whole grains may also produce gas, though these aren’t overeaten as often.
Furthermore, eating too fast may promote gas and bloating due to large amounts of food rapidly entering your stomach.
7. May make you sleepy
After overeating, many people become sluggish or tired.
This may be due to a phenomenon called reactive hypoglycemia, in which your blood sugars drop shortly after eating a big meal.
While not fully understood, the cause is thought to be related to excess insulin production.