Whether you’re at home or out, endless delicious food options and an abundance of quick snacks make it easy to overeat. If you are not aware of portion sizes, overeating can easily get out of control and lead to various health consequences.

One way to control this habit is to first understand how overeating affects your body. Here are 6 negative effects of overeating.


Hunger can disrupt the regulation

Two main hormones affect the regulation of hunger – ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and leptin, which suppresses appetite.

When you don’t eat for a while, ghrelin levels increase. Then, after you eat, leptin levels tell your body that you are full. However, overeating can disrupt this balance. Eating foods high in fat, salt, or sugar releases feel-good hormones like dopamine that activate the pleasure centers of your brain.

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Over time, your body may associate these pleasurable sensations with certain foods that are high in fat and calories. This process can eventually override hunger regulation, encouraging you to eat for pleasure instead of hunger. Disrupting these hormones can create a perpetual cycle of overeating. You can counteract this effect by portioning out some feel-good foods and eating them at a slower pace to allow your body to register its fullness.

Disease risk may increase

Occasional overeating does not affect long-term health, while chronic overeating can lead to obesity. On the other hand, this condition has consistently been shown to increase the risk of disease.

Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, is one of the major risk factors for metabolic syndrome. This cluster of conditions increases your chances of developing heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.


Indicators of metabolic syndrome include high levels of fat in your blood, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and inflammation. Insulin resistance is closely related to chronic overeating. It develops when excess sugar in your blood reduces the ability of the hormone insulin to store blood sugar in your cells.

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Uncontrolled insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes. You can reduce your risk of these conditions by avoiding high-calorie, processed foods, eating plenty of fiber-rich vegetables, and moderating portions of carbohydrates.

Can promote excess body fat

Your daily calorie balance is determined by how many calories you consume and how many you burn.

When you eat more than you expend, this is called a calorie surplus. Your body can store these extra calories as fat. Overeating can be especially problematic for developing excess body fat or obesity because you’re consuming far more calories than you need.

That is, consuming too much protein does not increase the way the body metabolizes fat. Excess calories from carbohydrates and fats tend to increase body fat. To prevent excess fat gain, try to fill up on lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables before eating high-carb and high-fat foods.

It can make you nauseous

Regular overeating can cause discomforts such as nausea and indigestion.

Although the adult stomach is roughly the size of a clenched fist and can hold about 2.5 ounces (75 ml) when empty, it can only hold about 1 liter (950 ml). Note that these numbers will vary depending on your size and how much you eat on a regular basis.

When you eat a large meal and begin to reach the upper limit of your stomach’s capacity, you may experience nausea or heartburn. In severe cases, this nausea can trigger vomiting, which is your body’s way of relieving acute stomach pressure.

While many over-the-counter medications can treat these conditions, the best approach is to regulate your portion sizes and eat slowly to prevent these symptoms in the first place.

Excessive gas and bloating may occur

Eating large amounts of food can disrupt your digestive system, triggering gas and bloating.
Gas-producing substances that people tend to overeat are spicy and fatty foods, as well as carbonated drinks such as soda. Beans, certain vegetables, and whole grains can also produce gas, but these are not eaten as often.

Also, eating too fast can promote gas and bloat due to a large amount of food entering your stomach too quickly.

You can avoid excess gas and bloat by eating slowly, waiting to drink liquids after meals, and cutting down on gassy foods.

May make you sleepy

After overeating, many people become sluggish or tired. This may be due to a phenomenon called reactive hypoglycemia, in which your blood sugar drops shortly after eating a big meal.

Low blood sugar is commonly associated with symptoms like sleepiness, sluggishness, rapid heart rate, and headaches. While not fully understood, the cause is thought to be related to excess insulin production.

Although most common in people with diabetes who administer too much insulin, reactive hypoglycemia may occur in some individuals as a result of overeating.


It’s easy to overeat if you don’t pay attention to how much you’re eating.

In fact, this common habit can lead to bloating, gas, nausea, excess body fat, and an increased risk of several diseases.

Therefore, you should work to prevent overeating by reducing your portion sizes, eating less processed foods, and focusing your diet on whole foods.

If you want, you can consult a nutritionist to help you create an eating plan that promotes long-term health.

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