5 things that happen to your body when you overeat during Christmas

Christmas is more than just opening presents, visiting your family and watching the Doctor Who special.

It’s about what you will be eating on this important day – starting from nibbling on nuts and chocolates to tucking into your four-course festive meal.

But have you wondered what happens when you eat more than you should?

According to researchers at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia and American Chemical Society, here’s what you are doing to your body when you overeat:

1. You go into a food coma

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Too lazy to move after you’ve stuffed yourself with festive treats? Yup, we are all too familiar with that feeling, but there’s a scientific explanation as to why you go into a food coma after your Christmas meal.

When you eat rich, high-calorie meals, your body produces insulin, which in turn causes a spike in melatonin and serotonin – the hormones that make you feel happy was well as lethargic.

If your dinner is high in fat, sugar and carbohydrate, your body also produces more glucose which interferes with orexin proteins that are responsible for keeping you awake.

To make a long story short, that’s your body telling you to delay eating your Christmas pudding.

2. You might experience heartburn

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To help digest food, your stomach produces hydrochloric acid. So that means the more you eat, the more acid will be produced in your body to help break down your meal.

Sometimes the acid can corrode the stomach lining or leak up into the oesophagus (gullet), giving you that burning feeling.

Heartburn can also be caused by high-fat meals which take time to digest and can stay in your stomach for a long time.

Taking an antacid (which is generally an aklaline tablet or a solution) can help counteract the symptoms.

3. Your stomach expands (well, sort of)

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Well, thankfully this isn’t permanent. The stomach has a capacity to hold around one litre but can expand to accommodate three litres of food or liquid after eating.

Overeating can cause the stomach to create pressure around surrounding organs, cramming your abdomen and causing you to feel uncomfortable.

But your food baby can only grow so big.

Further expansion can trigger a gag reflex, making you regurgitate your food. That’s your stomach’s way of telling you it is working over capacity.

4. You will feel a bit bloated

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Every time you take a gulp of your food, you swallow a little bit of air with it.

And to add to that, if you have fizzy drinks with your festive meal, all that gas in your stomach might make you feel a bit bloated.

Eating quickly and going for foods that take longer to digest can also cause bloating so the best solution is to chew your food properly and take your time with that Christmas turkey. After all, it isn’t going anywhere.

5. You store excess calories

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The liver and the pancreas secrete enzymes to help digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

Cells in the intestinal walls absorb all the sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and send them through the bloodstream to the liver.

The liver then converts the nutrients into energy to feed our body’s cells and excess calories that cannot be used for energy are stored as fat in adipocytes (aka, fat cells).

Overeating only once a year won’t make you gain weight, but going for a walk after your meal could help you digest your food and maybe use up some of those excess calories.

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