What Happens to the Stomach When You Overeat

Overeating is a situation that can be faced by anyone. In fact, there will hardly be anyone in this world that has not overindulged every now and again, and many of us do it on a regular basis.

During celebrations such as birthdays, dinners, parties, wedding, get-togethers, and others, there is a strong urge to eat almost anything that comes your way. It is a temptation about 80% of humans give in to, so do not blame yourself if you find yourself in this predicament.

When you over eat occasionally there is really no long term effect, more than likely you will just feel bloated, maybe a little sick and uncomfortable.

It is clear that occasional overeating hardly affects your system over the long run but frequent overeating does the exact opposite.

Common effects of frequent overeating include the intake of way too many calories and of course, that means weight gain.

One more effect of overeating, which is rare, but does occur is the possibility of a stomach rupture, but even if it doesn’t get this far, obesity and other related health disorders are enough to make you want to take pause and evaluate your diet.

How Does the Digestive System Work?

In order to understand what actually happens when you overeat, you need to have an idea about how the digestive system works. The food you chew is mixed with saliva in your mouth after which it goes down your oesophagus and into your stomach.

Enzymes, hormones, and hydrochloric acid acts on the food in order to reduce it to liquid. The food, which is initially stored in the upper part of the stomach, now moves to the lower part for digestion. At this point, the stomach muscles squeeze and relax the food in order to mash and squash it.

Problems Caused By Overeating

The average stomach has a capacity of about one litre; however, in cases of overeating, the stomach muscles stretch as much as they can forming a balloon in order to accommodate the extra food.

At this point, it is only natural for you to start feeling pain and discomfort but funny enough, regular overeaters tend to feel all right at the end of such meals. This is because their stomach muscles have become more elastic than they are normally supposed to be. It is also a matter of tolerance, when one always overeats, those uncomfortable feelings become normal and are much less noticed than by those who only overeat occasionally.

An overfilled stomach leads to food pushing against the diaphragm, which lies just below the lungs. If this process becomes too much, there’s a possibility that the diaphragm will in turn push into the lungs causing slight difficulty in breathing.

Heartburn although not in any way related to the heart is a burning feeling, which occurs in the chest as a result of acidic liquid flowing upwards from the stomach to the mouth. It occurs when you overeat and especially when the food has high fat contents. A valve, which regulates food from the oesophagus to the stomach, relaxes thereby sending this acidic liquid back to your mouth.

The Consequences

The formula for healthy weight management is to eat less than you burn every day. Activity levels dictate how much calories one is allowe4d to eat and when they eat more than they burn, weight gain is inevitable.

The effect of long term overeating that consequently results in weight gain on the health cannot be overemphasized.

When you continuously consume foods containing high fat and calories, you increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you become obese because of overeating, you also risk gallbladder disease, high cholesterol, certain types of cancer, and sleep apnea. Heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women, and the Centers For Disease Control estimate that many of those deaths can be avoided by making healthy lifestyle choices.


The problems associated with short term overeating are not extremely dangerous to the health, but the opposite is the case if it continues over long term.

If you have developed it as a habit then you will have to do whatever it takes to drop the habit so that you do not harm your body.

One common way with which you can control overeating is by taking a few cups of water before every meal as it makes you feel slightly full even before you start eating. Another is to use plates no larger than 6,” this ensures proper portioning every time.

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