This is What Occurs in Your Physique When You Overeat Simply As soon as

Whether or not it is a summer season barbecue with buddies, your favorite quick meals takeaway, or Christmas dinner, we are able to in all probability all recall occasions after we’ve eaten extra meals in a single sitting than we would have liked to.


Loads of analysis has regarded on the long-term well being results of overeating energy – which embrace elevated fats storage, impaired endocrine (hormone) management and adjustments to our skeletal muscle and fats tissue.

But little is thought about how our physique copes with these one-off events of overindulgence, and whether or not they have any impact on our total well being – which is what our newest examine aimed to search out out.

People have an enormous capability to overeat over an prolonged time period. For instance, members of the Massa tribe take part in Guru Walla, the standard fattening competition the place they try to achieve as a lot weight as potential by consuming as a lot as they’ll.

Many members acquire 11 kilograms of fats in simply two months by consuming roughly eight,700 energy per day – greater than 3 times what most adults are suggested to eat in a day.

Whereas that is an excessive instance, it exhibits us that our our bodies are readily able to over-eating – which is not essentially factor. Whilst little as 24 hours of overfeeding can have some damaging penalties for our well being, together with elevating blood sugar concentrations.


In our newest examine, we needed to grasp how a lot people can eat after they push previous the purpose of fullness. We additionally needed to know what impact this has on the physique, by measuring how overeating impacts metabolism within the hours after the meal.

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We checked out a gaggle of 14 wholesome males between 22 and 37 years previous. In a single trial, we requested them to eat as a lot pizza as they might till they felt full. They ate roughly 1,500 energy on common – slightly below one giant pizza.

On a separate day, we then requested them to eat till they could not anymore, going past the conventional feeling of fullness. Remarkably, they managed to eat virtually double – round three,000 energy on common, although some had been in a position to eat the equal of almost two and a half giant pizzas (four,800 energy).

This advised that whenever you really feel full, you are in all probability solely half full.

Blood samples had been taken at common intervals for 4 hours after the start of the meal to see how the physique was coping. Surprisingly, regardless of consuming twice as a lot meals, there was solely a small enhance in blood sugar and blood fats ranges.


Having the ability to hold blood sugar and fats in a traditional vary signifies how wholesome an individual’s metabolism is. It might additionally present the chance for growing ailments, together with kind 2 diabetes or heart problems.

In these bodily lively and wholesome folks, the physique is ready to management the sugar and fats within the blood after an enormous meal by working a bit tougher than common to regulate metabolism.

We noticed that hormones launched from the intestine and pancreas (together with insulin), helped the physique to manage blood sugar ranges. Coronary heart price was additionally elevated after the meal, confirming that the physique was working tougher to maintain issues beneath management.

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We additionally measured how folks felt through the post-meal interval, by fullness, sleepiness, and cravings for sure sorts of meals.

Whereas we regularly really feel like we have now room for dessert, our examine’s individuals had little need to eat something (even candy meals) after they ate previous the purpose of feeling comfortably full – even 4 hours after the meal. We additionally discovered that individuals felt sleepier and fewer energetic after consuming an excessive amount of.


We solely measured as much as 4 hours after the meal to get a snapshot of how the individuals had been dealing with overeating. If we measured an extended interval – six or eight hours, for instance – we could have seen some extra variations, particularly as a result of blood fats concentrations stay elevated for longer.

Nevertheless, our outcomes inform us that one meal of overeating does not trigger a lot hurt to your well being – though 24 hours of overeating does appear to have an impact. So the main target of additional analysis could also be to grasp how our our bodies deal with the subsequent meal after a binge.

Understanding how the physique copes so simply with events of utmost calorie consumption helps us perceive what goes fallacious within the long-term. Wholesome people depend on the physique’s capability to work tougher in occasions of want (by growing insulin, intestine hormones and coronary heart price) to take care of metabolic management.

Once we repeatedly eat too many energy at every meal, metabolic syndrome (a mix of hypertension, diabetes and weight problems) will ensue and the physique turns into unable to react to those conditions.

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Earlier than beginning the examine, we had been anticipating the physique to wrestle with the large calorie surplus of overeating. Our outcomes present the physique’s exceptional capability to deal with the stress of consuming an excessive amount of meals, by tightly regulating blood sugar concentrations and blood stress.

All through historical past, the human physique has had to deal with intervals of famine and abundance – this examine is one other demonstration of that evolutionary adaptation.

Although we centered on younger, wholesome individuals, will probably be vital to now take a look at how the physique copes with overeating in people who find themselves obese or vulnerable to illness, reminiscent of kind 2 diabetes.

However whereas overeating typically could also be regular – and does not pose an excessive amount of of a threat to our well being – it is vital to emphasize that consuming greater than we want regularly is not wholesome. That is partly as a result of consuming extra energy than are required over an extended time period will result in weight acquire, and will result in metabolic illness. The Conversation

Aaron Hengist, PhD Candidate, Division for Well being, College of Tub; James Betts, Senior Lecturer in Diet, Metabolism and Statistics, College of Tub, and Rob Edinburgh, PhD Candidate, Well being, College of Tub.

This text is republished from The Dialog beneath a Artistic Commons license. Learn the unique article.


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