Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Happens to Your Body After A Holiday Food Binge

An interesting piece at the NY Times this week looks at the surprising consequences and myths surrounding food binges.

We all do it. At Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Sizzler buffet and other times, places, we gorge on food. On Thanksgiving, for example, Americans pull in 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. But most of us have no idea what’s going on inside our bodies after a binge and what the possible consequences are.

Worst of all, you could die. After a binge, your heart works strenuously to get blood to the stomach and intestines. Also, a super-dose of fatty foods can lead to blood clots. These factors equal a four to seven fold increase in the risk for heart attack in the two hours after a binge.

Chest pain after a Thanksgiving feast? It’s not necessarily a heart attack. It could also be an overworked gallbladder. As stomach moves from your stomach to the intestine, the gallbladder cranks out bile to breakdown fat. When it works overtime, it can bring on excruciatingly painful gallstone attacks.

Any pain is probably not you stomach bursting, though. “The problem [of stomach ruptures] is usually limited to people with major eating disorders,” reports the Times. For the record, average stomach capacity is 8 cups, but ranges from four to 12.

The reason we binge is in our DNA. “Experts say the ability to ignore satiety signals is an evolutionary adaptation that helped build fat stores during times of plenty.” However, balancing that fantastic ability is a trigger in your stomach that releases a nausea-inducing hormone after 1,500 calories.

Food myth busted: The tryptophan in turkey doesn’t make you sleepy after the Thanksgiving feast. According to one doctor, the amount of the amino acid found in turkey isn’t significant enough to have an effect. You get tired after a mega-meal because your body is working so hard to digest it. The sleepiness causes another potential danger as drivers hit the road after holiday overindulgence.

Interesting fact: The average meal takes one to three hours to leave your stomach. A binge can take eight to 12.


Anonymous said...

Hello there! . Happy Thanksgiving!. !! :) :) :) :) :)
Thanksgiving is 1 of my favorite holidays, and each yr I like to get into the mood-extend the holiday, as it were-by reading "Thanksgiving novels." And in addition, those stories are mostly about family and friends, about coming together to heal old hurts and giving them thanks for the gift of love. .. .. ***
Have You Been Currently Far better Off These days Than You Were 5 Years Ago?

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About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.