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What Happens When You Overeat?

What Happens When You Overeat?

We’ve talked about how to stop overeating, but we haven’t talked about what happens in your body when you do. Chances are you over-ate at least once during the holiday season and paid the price. Here’s what actually happens when you feel a little too full after eating a big meal:

  1. Your intestines actually signal fullness to your brain and it goes from there. Your stomach and intestines have a sort of brain that uses hormones to signal to your brain to stop eating. These hormones are called oxyntomodulin and peptide tyrosine-tyrosine. Another hormone called leptin also tells your brain how much food you actually need based on your current energy levels. This can take a while though, so if you are a fast eater, you might overeat by accident. Eat dinner and chew slowly to really assess when you’re actually full.
  2. Chances are if you overeat, you’ll get very tired. This is because the small intestine tells the brain you need to rest and digest, which in turn makes us sleepy. You also might have high insulin levels which can trigger drowsiness.
  3. Your body will try to get rid of excess gas which can lead to burping and/or farting. This can happen with rich foods, dairy, fizzy drinks, anything you might be a little intolerant to or simply eating too much. Try chewing on charcoal tablets, a digestive enzyme or peppermint to ease the pain. Luckily it should pass in a few hours anyway.
  4. Heartburn might happen, which is actually when digestive acid leaks into your esophagus. If you overeat, it might trigger the acid in your stomach to be pushed upwards and hence, give you heartburn. Take an antacid to relieve pain.
  5. Some people might believe that their stomach expands if they eat a large amount, but this simply isn’t true. Your stomach typically holds one liter but can hold up to three liters and will be begin to press onto your surrounding organs at that point, making you feel like your stomach is expanding. So don’t worry about your stomach bursting, you would have to surpass a lot of mental and physical triggers to get to that point. You’ll just have to ride out the uncomfortable feeling.

Were you surprised by any of this information? Did you overeat at all this holiday season? Share with us!

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing