Whether you're at home or away, the endless tasty food options and wide availability of quick snacks make it easy to overeat.
In terms of nutrition , if you are not aware of portion sizes, overeating can easily spiral out of control and lead to various negative health consequences.
One way to master this habit is to first understand how overeating affects your body.
Here are 7 harmful effects of overeating:
1. May Promote Excess Body Fat
Your daily calorie balance is determined by the number of calories you eat versus the number you burn.
When you eat more than you expend, it's called a calorie surplus . Your body can store these extra calories as fat.
Overeating can be particularly problematic for developing excess fat. body fat or obesity, because you may be consuming far more calories than you need .
That said, overconsumption of protein probably doesn't increase body fat because of how it's metabolized. Excess calories from carbohydrates and fats are much more likely to increase body fat .
To avoid excess fat, try to fill up on lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables before eating foods high in carbohydrates and fats.
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, levels of ghrelin increase. Then, after eating, leptin levels tell your body that it is full.
However, overeating can upset this balance.
Eating foods high in fat, salt, or sugar releases feel-good hormones like dopamine, which activate the pleasure centers in your brain .
Over time, your body may associate these pleasurable feelings 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 .
Disrupting these hormones can trigger a perpetual cycle of overeating.
You can counter this effect by distributing certain wellness foods and eating them at a slower pace to allow your body to register its fullness.
3. May Increase Disease Risk
Although occasional overeating is unlikely to affect long-term health, chronic overeating can lead to obesity. In turn, this condition has been shown to increase the risk of disease .
Obesity , which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, is one of the main risk factors for metabolic syndrome. This group of conditions increases your risk of heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke .
Indicators of metabolic syndrome include high blood fat levels, high 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 not controlled, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.
You can reduce the risk of these conditions by avoiding high-calorie and processed foods, eating plenty of fiber-rich vegetables, and moderating carbohydrate portion sizes.
4. May Impair Brain Function
Over time, overeating can impair brain function.
Several studies establish a link between continuous overeating and obesity and mental decline in the elderly, compared to those who do not eat too much .
A study in older adults found that being overweight negatively affected memory, compared to people of normal weight .
That said, more studies are needed to identify the extent and mechanisms of mental decline related to overeating and obesity.
Since your brain is about 60% fat, eating healthy fats such as avocados, nut butters, fatty fish, and olive oil can help prevent mental decline .
5. Can make you nauseous
Regular overeating can cause uncomfortable feelings of nausea and indigestion.
The adult stomach is approximately the size of a closed fist and can hold around 75ml when empty, although it can expand to hold around 1 pint (950ml) .
Note that these numbers vary depending on your size and the amount of food you eat regularly.
When you eat a large meal and begin to reach the upper limit of your stomach's capacity, you may feel nausea or indigestion. In severe cases, this nausea can trigger vomiting, which allows your body to relieve the acute stomach pressure .
Although many over-the-counter medications can treat these conditions, the best approach is to regulate your portion sizes and eat more slowly to prevent these symptoms in the first place.
6. Can cause excessive gas and bloating
Eating large amounts of food can strain your digestive system, trigger gas and bloating .
The gas-producing products that people tend to overeat are spicy and fatty foods, as well as carbonated drinks such as soda . Beans, some vegetables, and whole grains can also produce gas, although these are not eaten too much.
Additionally, eating too quickly can lead to gas and bloating due to the large amount of food that quickly enters your stomach .
You can avoid excess gas and bloating by eating slowly, waiting after meals to drink fluids, and reducing portion sizes of gassy foods.
7. Can 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 sugar drops shortly after a large meal .
Hypoglycemia is usually associated with symptoms such as drowsiness , sluggishness, rapid heart rate and headaches .
Although not fully understood, the cause is believed to be excessive insulin production .
Although more common in people with diabetes who administer too much insulin, reactive hypoglycemia can occur in some people as a result of overeating.
He is easy to overeat if you don't pay attention to how much you eat or how full you feel.
Indeed, this common habit can lead to bloating, gas, nausea, excess body fat and a higher risk of several diseases.
Therefore, you should avoid overeating by reducing your portion sizes, eating fewer processed foods, and orienting your diet around whole (unprocessed) foods .