What are the dangers of overeating?

At home, we tend to get carried away in the festive season and overeat. What are the dangers of this behaviour?

Dear Doctor,

At home, we tend to get carried away in the festive season and overeat. What are the dangers of this behaviour? Kareen

Dear Kareen,

Over-eating is not healthy in any season. During celebrations in festive season, many people do get carried away and over indulge in food and drinks. The food consumed is mostly high calorie like crispy potato chips, fried fish, chocolates, e.t.c.

Normally the amount of food eaten by a person is highly variable. It depends on choice of food, frequency of meals, amount of fat and fiber in the food, level of physical activity, e.t.c. factors.

Eating in excess produces flatulence and dyspepsia. This causes symptoms like nausea with or without vomiting, retrosternal chest pain, bloating sensation in the abdomen, belching, one or more of these symptoms. It also produces much discomfort and drowsiness. Food consumed in excess places a stress on the body. This stress can even precipitate a heart attack in somebody susceptible to it. When one eats a huge quantity of food, there is simultaneous release of hormones, chemicals and digestive fluids in the body. An average meal takes about 1 to 3 hours to leave the stomach, but large meal can take 8-12 hours, depending on the quantity and fat content of the food. This causes abdominal discomfort, bloating sensation and even impairs appetite for the next meal or even next day. If something is eaten in that duration, the dyspepsia is aggravated further.

A big load of food put on the digestive system an also slow down the bowel movement. This leads to non evacuation or partial evacuation of the bowels. This also adds to the discomfort and nausea. Moreover the body is unable to assimilate and absorb the nutrients from the big load of food. The quantity of food exceeds the body’s capacity to assimilate it. Hence much of the food literally goes waste.

 

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