Whenever surrounded by our favourite lip-smacking, scrumptious dishes, we often tend to overeat. Similarly, enjoying snacks while watching our favourite TV shows or movies, we usually tend to overlook the portion size which results in overeating.
Overeating is not good for our health and might result in serious health complications.
In this article, we will discuss some of the harmful effects of overeating on our health.
1. Increase body fat percentage - When we consume calories more than the required amount then the remaining calories are stored in our body as fat. Therefore, overeating is directly associated with an increase in overall body fat. Eventually, this habit may lead to stubborn body fat making it difficult for us to lose leading to obesity.
2. Increase the risk of metabolic disorders - As discussed above, overeating makes us more prone to develop obesity. This is because calorie intake is more than energy expenditure. Studies have shown that obese people are at higher risk of developing chronic metabolic disorders like diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.
3. Hunger hormones imbalance - Our appetite is regulated by two major hormones - leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that stimulates appetite and leptin is known to make us feel satiated. It has been observed that overeating, especially consuming foods high in salt, fat and sugar disrupts the balance of these hormones. This is because such food creates a pleasant feeling in our brain hence making us crave to eat more and more. This cycle leads to overeating and alters the balance of these hunger hormones. It slows down our metabolic rate and we gain unwanted weight.
4. Alters brain functioning - Studies suggest that overeating also increases the risk of mental decline and slows down cognitive functioning. People who tend to overeat are more likely to suffer from neurological decline disorders in the later stages. It can cause memory loss and cognitive impairment. Hence, one should aim to meet daily fat dietary needs using good sources of fat like fatty fish, avocados, olive oil, etc. Good fats keep our heart healthy and also promotes healthy brain functioning.
5. Digestion issues - Eating large portion sizes might cause gastrointestinal disturbances. It may trigger bloating or excessive gas formation. It may make us feel nauseous and cause indigestion. Foods which are spicy, carbonated, some vegetables or beans are more likely to cause digestion issues when consumed in a large amount. Hence, overeating is not suggestible so that regular bowel movements are not deranged.
6. Makes us feel sleepy - It is commonly observed that we tend to feel sleepy after eating a heavy meal or eating large food portions. This is because when we eat high glycemic index foods, our blood sugar levels spike immediately but they drop after a short interval as well. This reduction in blood sugar levels makes us feel lethargic and stimulates sleep. Overall, this habit encourages a sedentary lifestyle and high deposition of fat in the body.
To sum up, overeating is not healthy for our health and associated with many harmful health consequences. Overconsumption of calories makes us susceptible to metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes. In addition, the likelihood of digestion issues also increases which can further cause illnesses.
Hence, we should always have small frequent meals instead of having one large meal. Foods should also be chosen wisely, in a well-balanced quantity from each food group. Intake of packaged, processed, junk foods, sugar-loaded foods and beverages should be avoided.
- Lee, N. M., Carter, A., Owen, N., & Hall, W. D. (2012). The neurobiology of overeating. Treating overweight individuals should make use of neuroscience research, but not at the expense of population approaches to diet and lifestyle. EMBO reports. 13(9), 785–790. https://doi.org/10.1038/embor.2012.115
- Avena, N. M., Murray, S., & Gold, M. S. (2013). Comparing the effects of food restriction and overeating on brain reward systems. Experimental gerontology, 48(10), 1062–1067. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2013.03.006
- Davidson, T. L., Jones, S., Roy, M., & Stevenson, R. J. (2019). The Cognitive Control of Eating and Body Weight: It's More Than What You "Think". Frontiers in psychology, 10, 62. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00062