CAIRO – 16 December 2017: With the holiday season coming, the prospect of delicious, hearty, fulfilling food is fast approaching. Although indulging has its place, we still need to reign in our cravings and try to remain somewhat healthy during the holidays. An excess of anything tends to be bad, so it’s common sense that overeating has negative effects, but here is a closer look at how it can harm you.
There are long-term and short-term effects of overeating and they can be categorized into physical, mental and emotional. Obviously, weight gain and obesity are the most common effects. They can cause strain on the muscles and bones as they have to carry extra weight. One of the root causes of gaining weight is the body builds up a tolerance to leptin, the hormone produced by fat cells, which is responsible for signaling the your brain that you’re full. Your metabolism also slows down due to a molecule in your body called PKR, which perceive excess nutrients as a threat and responds by shutting down the metabolism.
Vegan food @ De Plak, Nijmegen – CC/Flickr
In the short term, acid reflux is a very common effect of overeating, because of the increased acidity levels in the body. Eating meals high in carbs, fats and sugars can cause your parasympathetic nervous system to slow down your body to focus on digestion, leading to lethargy.
An overproduction of insulin can also cause drowsiness, by triggering melatonin and serotonin, which interfere with the neurons in your brain that keep you alert. Overeating in the short term can even lead to insulin resistance, according to a 2009 Swedish study published in the journal "Molecular Medicine".
A feeling of a lack of control can make you experience emotional distress and imbalances in electrolytes and metabolism can also cause feelings of boredom and restlessness.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid all these negative effects:
Use a small plate. It will appear fuller than a larger plate and force you to think about filling up your plate again with more food.
Eat salads and greens first. You will have less space for proteins and carbs, meaning you will eat less of them.
Stop at 80 percent fullness. You do not need to eat until you are bursting, stop before you feel completely full to stay light and not experience post-food lethargy.
Sit next to the healthiest person. They will encourage you to not overeat since they will have the right mentality already ingrained.
Eat a snack before you eat. This way you are not extremely hungry and will not overfill yourself.
Stay hydrated. A lot of the time, when we feel hungry what we’re actually feeling is thirst.
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