HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessThis happens when you eat a lot (getting fat isn't the worst)

This happens when you eat a lot (getting fat isn’t the worst)

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Gobbling up lots of big bites of food has important consequences that go beyond weight gain. The whole body suffers and potentially serious disorders appear, from digestive to brain

Food is a global problem. In developed countries, excess supply favors overconsumption, and in developing countries, the problem is the reverse: fewer foods with poor quality. The point is that there are still 800 million people suffering from malnutrition, a situation that is going to be much worsened by the covid-19 pandemic, as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warns.

Food and beverage intake well above nutritional requirements has serious consequences, the best known is obesity, another pandemic that is spreading and already affecting more than 1,900 million adults and more than 380 million children under 19 years. Associated with excess weight, a wide range of conditions unfolds ranging from diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer, musculoskeletal diseases, etc.

But it is not because of calories. It is evident that we eat fewer calories, but our diet is unbalanced, rich in fat and sugars, with more proteins than recommended and low in fiber, finds a work published in the journal ‘Nutrients’ and framed within the Anibes study.

The oversupply

The truth is that many people believe that they eat too much (and in some they do) and that entails a series of physical ailments, apart from weight gain. Thus, the continued intake of excess calories favors the gain of body fat when the diet is abundant in fat and carbohydrates, a consequence that is not observed when excess calories come from protein.

Eating excessively also alters the hormones involved in regulating appetite: ghrelin, which stimulates it, and leptin, which inhibits it. In addition, when very energetic foods are ingested (with a high content of fats, salt and sugars) dopamine is released and the brain’s reward mechanisms are activated, in such a way that the pleasant sensations are associated with a certain food, leading to eating for pleasure and not hunger. A trick to redirect the situation back to a hormonal imbalance is to distribute those foods throughout the day and eat them slowly, enjoying them.

The brain is another organ threatened by excess food. A team of Scandinavian researchers has found that older people who overeat have more impaired intellectual faculties (memory and other cognitive abilities) than those who are not obese and eat less. But there is an antidote: eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids – avocados, fatty fish, nuts or olive oil – to prevent spoilage.

How could it be otherwise, and for obvious reasons, the digestive system is the one that immediately accuses excesses. An empty stomach has a volume of approximately 75 ml (one fist) and expands to almost a liter when full. Eating near the limit promotes nausea and vomiting to relieve the intense pressure on the stomach. It is true that there are drugs that improve this discomfort, but before resorting to them it is preferable to prevent eating less and more slowly.

Another consequence of overdoing the amounts of food (and ingested quickly) is gas and bloating, symptoms that also usually appear after eating legumes, some vegetables, whole grains and drinking carbonated drinks.

From the table to the sofa

The icing on the cake is the irresistible dream that usually appears after a heavy meal. It is due to reactive hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in glucose shortly after eating), which is also accompanied by a rapid heart rate and headache. The cause appears to be an excess production of insulin.

How to keep food quantities at bay?

Some tips are:

  • Avoid stress
  • Do not eat directly from the containers
  • Maintain regularity in meals
  • Choose foods rich in fiber, which are very satiating
  • Eat protein meals
  • Eat slow
  • Avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks and eat with water
  • Eat at the table and not in front of the television

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