9 Side Effects of Overeating on Your Body's Health

Man Overeating

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Overeating can become a habit that has negative side effects on health.

Even though eating is important for every human being to meet the nutritional needs of the body, excessive consumption is also unhealthy.

A healthy body has a daily calorie balance where the number of calories consumed corresponds to the number of calories burned.

When you eat more than your body burns, this is known as a calorie surplus.

The side effects of overeating will affect body health, including:

1. Increase body fat

The first side effect of overeating is often that it causes the body to store extra calories as fat.

This will lead to obesity.

However, consuming excess protein will not increase body fat because of the way it is metabolized.

Excess calories from carbohydrates and fat are much more susceptible to increasing body fat.

To prevent excess fat, it is recommended to consume lean protein and non-starchy vegetables before eating foods high in carbohydrates and fat.

2. Interfere with hunger signals

There are two main hormones that influence the hunger and fullness cycles.

Ghrelin stimulates appetite, and leptin suppresses appetite (fullness).

When you haven't eaten for a while, ghrelin levels increase.

After you eat, leptin levels tell the body that it is full.

However, overeating can cause side effects that disrupt the hormonal balance.

Eating foods high in fat, salt, or sugar when digested will release feel-good hormones, such as dopamine.

Later, it will activate the pleasure center in your brain.

If you consume them too often, your body may associate the sensation of pleasure with that particular food, which tends to be high in fat and calories.

The process can ultimately override hunger, encouraging you to eat for pleasure.

Disruption of these hormones can trigger a continuous cycle of overeating.

You can overcome this side effect by portioning out certain foods that taste good and eating them at a slower pace to allow your body to feel full.

3. Increases the risk of heart disease

Overeating can have the side effect of being overweight or obese, ultimately triggering heart disease.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.

When you are obese, it will be more difficult for your heart to pump blood to your lungs and throughout your body.

Having a lot of fat, especially around the stomach, increases the risk of:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. High cholesterol
  3. High blood sugar

All of these things increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Sometimes heart disease has no symptoms, making it difficult to know you have it.

Here are some warning signs:

  1. Chest pain
  2. Dizziness or fainting
  3. Fast heartbeat
  4. Hard to breathe
  5. Sweating.

4. Increases the risk of diabetes

Studies show that people who overeat also have the side effect of being more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes can be a lifelong disease that requires ongoing treatment.

If you already have diabetes, overeating can make your blood sugar more difficult to control.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme hunger or thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Needing to urinate more often than usual
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.

Instead of overeating without rules, it is recommended to:

  • Eat less fat and sugar.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Drink water instead of soda or juice with added sweeteners.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take the diabetes medication prescribed by your doctor.

5. Triggers depression and mood

The side effects of overeating can also trigger depression and anxiety to become more frequent.

Many people who overeat do so to improve their mood. However, that will only make you eat more.

Eating too much when you're not hungry may actually be a sign that you're depressed. You may also experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Desperate or helpless
  • Guilty
  • Disinterest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Sad or empty all the time
  • Tired or like you have no energy?

6. Damages brain function

The side effects of continuous overeating can harm brain function.

Several studies link persistent overeating and obesity to mental decline in older adults.

One other study found that being overweight negatively affected memory compared to individuals of normal weight.

However, more research is needed to identify the extent and mechanisms of mental decline associated with overeating and obesity.

Considering that your brain is made up of about 60 percent fat, to help prevent mental decline, it is recommended to eat healthy fats such as:

  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish
  • Olive oil.

7. Cause excessive gas and bloating

Eating large amounts of food can burden the digestive system, triggering gas and bloating.

Food sources that can cause gas and are often eaten excessively are spicy, fatty, and carbonated foods.

Nuts, certain vegetables, and grains can also produce gas, even if they are not eaten very often.

Additionally, eating too quickly can increase gas and bloating because large amounts of food quickly enter your stomach.

  • You can avoid excess gas and bloating by eating slowly.
  • Wait until after eating to drink fluids.
  • Reducing portion sizes of foods that contain gas.

8. It makes you nauseous

Overeating regularly can cause uncomfortable side effects such as nausea and indigestion.

An adult's stomach can hold approximately 2.5 ounces (75 ml) when empty. Then, it will expand to hold about 1 liter (95 ml).

However, this number can vary from person to person. When you overeat and fill your stomach to its maximum capacity, you may experience nausea or indigestion.

In severe cases, this nausea can trigger vomiting, which is your body's way of relieving acute abdominal stress.

9. It makes you sleepy

After overeating, many people experience the side effect of becoming lethargic or tired.

That may be due to a phenomenon called reactive hypoglycemia, where your blood sugar drops shortly after eating a large meal.

Low blood sugar is generally associated with symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Headache.

Although not completely understood, the cause of drowsiness after overeating is thought to be related to excess insulin production.

Although too much insulin is most common in people with diabetes, reactive hypoglycemia can also occur in some individuals as a result of overeating.

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