Skip to main content

The Dangerous Effects Of Overeating

Schatzie has bachelor's degrees in animal science and English and a master's in education.

Overeating: A Closer Look

Overeating does more than just make you momentarily uncomfortable, and discomfort is only the first of a series of resulting problems.

When you eat too much....

Stomach pain signals the distress of an organ packed so full that it physically distends, and may even push beyond its muscular wall (3).

The liver dumps massive quantities of still-toxic food into your intestines, creating waves of nausea (4).

As a last attempt to restore balance you may vomit or develop diarrhea, but the body can only do so much to fight the onslaught of food.

With time, your health will suffer...

Continual overeating stresses the entire digestive system, overworks its organs, and has impacts on health that are far more extensive than most people realize (2).

Complications of Overeating

Overlarge meals are not handled efficiently; as a consequence, while some food is properly processed, the rest remains stored within the body, undigested (1). Often, food builds up within digestive organs where it putrefies (5).

These poisons are then absorbed into the blood and distributed throughout the body, increasing susceptibility to several diseases (1).

Excess animal protein can lead to gallstones, weight gain, and coronary heart disease.

The Liver and Heart

Toxicity is further increased as the liver, which plays a crucial toxin-neutralizing role in the body, malfunctions. Normally the liver helps digest fats, stabilizes blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and detoxifies poisons. These processes become improperly regulated when the liver is damaged, as it can be by overeating, especially if meals have a high meat content.

An excessively large consumption of animal protein thickens vessels in the liver and leads to gallstones (10). This then reduces bile production of the liver, interfering with fat metabolism and causing weight gain (10). Too much animal protein is also a major factor in coronary heart disease: By damaging and inflaming arteries, protein contributes to clot formation and heart attacks (8).

More on Excess Protein

High levels of protein elevate amyloid deposits, a protein metabolism by-product associated with aging and the degeneration of tissues and organs (14).

Further, excess protein often leads to protein deficiency (19). This is because, not only does it cause the congestion of the blood and lymph, it also suffocates cells (19). This compromises the cells’ ability to manufacture proteins (19).

Overeating in general accelerates cellular division, increasing the chances of damaging DNA and promoting cancerous growth (23, 24).

Scroll to Continue

The Stomach

Overeating reduces stomach acid levels (21).

A liter of gastric juices requires highly concentrated hydrogen ions (4 million times as concentrated as in the circulating blood) and an energy expenditure of 1,500 calories (21). Because of this, extremely high processing demands quickly deplete resources.

Overeating may also cause the lining of the stomach to become inflamed, a condition known as gastritis that can lead to internal bleeding and ulcers (12).

The Pancreas

Another organ affected by overeating is the pancreas, which becomes exhausted from the ingestion of large amounts of sugar (9).

High sugar consumption requires the pancreas to produce high levels of insulin; although sugar can be burned off, insulin cannot (11). If excessive insulin remains in the system, blood glucose may plummet to hypoglycemic levels, damaging the metabolism (22).

In addition to battling the effects of ingested sugar, the pancreas must also produce more insulin in response to the steady accumulation of body fat, a result of chronic overeating (22). This situation not only exhausts the pancreas but also often leads to diabetes (22).

The average American consumes between 130 and 150 pounds of refined sugar anually, believed to contribute to multiple disorders and health complications (25).

Free radicals can be as damaging to the body as radiation.

Free Radical Damage

The body may also be plagued by the overproduction of free radicals, a waste product given off by mitochondira processing food (13). With an excessive influx of food there is an excessive output of free radicals that cannot be properly handled by the body (13). The resulting damage is considered biologically comparable to that from radiation, smoking cigarettes, or polluted air (22).

The Effects of Overeating Expanded

Overeating affects the liver, heart, pancreas, stomach, and intestines. It also impacts additional organs and tissues throughout the body. The scale of damage is extensive and should not be underestimated.

For example, poor liver function, a direct result of overeating, is linked to cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis (15). The excessive protein leading to a malfunctioning liver also causes kidney damage, pyorrhea, schizophrenia, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and cancer (14). When the liver malfunctions the intestines step in, but this excess workload may only speed up intestinal deterioration, leading to a further list of complications (20).

The proper functioning of every organ in the body is key for ultimate health. Once one is compromised a vicious domino affect is seen that affects multiple body systems and results in several serious complications. Excess eating can cause each, and over time possibly every, body organ to malfunction.

No Exceptions to The Rule

Eating anything in excess is dangerous. This includes even healthy foods--the over consumption of which results in disease and accelerated aging, just as their less healthy counterparts. (16). Whether an individual eats too much fruit or too much pizza, excess calories from any source is not good for the system.

Treat Your Body Right

Problems can be prevented. Instead of stressing out the body with large meals, soothe the digestive tract by eating multiple smaller sized portions during the day (6). Each meal should be about the size of the consuming individual's fist and liquids should be drunk in quantities half that amount (1). To eat or drink more than this at a time exhausts the body and forces it to store whatever quantity is over consumed.

Why Our Bodies React The Way They Do

Humans in this day and age continually force their bodies to store extra calories, which is anything but natural (23).

In the context of human evolution the body hasn't had sufficient time to adapt to such behavior (23). Michele Simon, author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, claims the following: "We've turned our evolutionary protection on its head, and a steady diet of Big Macs, Doritos, Chips Ahoy, and Coke is making Americans sick."

This may be true but the cause of problems has been simplified. It is not just too much fast food that is the culprit here. In the context of overconsumption, eating food of any type in excess creates problems.

Controlling food consumption is not easy. Some scientists have even gone so far as to claim that overeating may be an addiction for certain individuals. Like those hooked on nicotine, they will admit that their habit (overeating food) is excessive and express a desire to control it, but they also find that doing so is very difficult (26).

However, that does not change the facts. In order to maintain optimal health, not only is what is eaten important, but also how much. Foods with beneficial effects in smaller amounts may prove fatal in excessive doses. Unfortunately, the body is not capable of protecting itself; it is up to the individual.


tim_marcello on December 31, 2016:

I've been overeating for years and am having more and more episodes where my body is just shutting down. It is a horrible feeling to realize how much I have shortened my life span for something I didn't need to do... If anyone else has this problem I hope you can get away from the stress and find a positive community that supports you, instead of fighting it by yourself.

savithasuri from Mysore, India on October 29, 2016:

Beautiful article.We have seen when people get rid of stress through exercises, yoga and meditation, the craving reduces. Consuming a fruit or little salad helps to get rid of binge eating,.

Wanda on October 23, 2016:

Good points, informative.

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on October 13, 2014:

It is scary to see what overeating can do to your body. Of course it is easy to forget about it when you are on a binge! Your brown cuts out and you just eat!

khash on August 25, 2014:

internal bleeding? that's what i do normally get and i thought of being sick but thanks for the article. i know learned its due to the overeating

Nikolic Predrag from Serbia, Belgrade on May 21, 2014:

Excellent hub and very informative. I recently wrote a hub about stress driven overeating, and if you don't mind I put a link to your hub into mine. Voted up as very useful. Wish you all the best.

Lloyd Hubner on April 02, 2014:

Obesity is no. 1 epidemic in the Western World. In developed country more than one third of the population suffers from obesity. The long term effect is inevitable - a decline in life expectancy. Unless governments start seeing this problem as a stratgic threat to the well-being of the state, nothing will really change.

Sue on February 15, 2014:

I don't see sources or references for this article, but even if some of the information wasn't accurate, this STILL makes me want to kick the overeating urges!

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on January 20, 2014:

This is rather scary and it is true, food can be an addiction and sometimes you are more or less completely ruled by. Real hunger is there even though you have eaten enough! it is very difficult to control.

Ben Franco on January 09, 2014:

This really helped with my school project that i am doing. thanks for this!

Sarah Wingate from Tel Aviv, Israel on November 22, 2013:

Despite current research that indicates that over eating is related to heredity, I strongly believe that it is mostly a matter of education and awareness and it is the parents' responsibility to keep their children away from the disease called obesity!

Kari on October 15, 2013:

I noticed that you had a whole bunch of citation numbers in the article without the I missing them? I would just like to read further about this subject.

Michelle V from USA on September 10, 2013:

Scary, but good to know!

Overeater on May 19, 2013:

I thought that eating healthy food like fruits and vegetables in large quantities would make me healthier. But, as this article said, overeating can damage the organs. Now I have problems digesting food, even in small quantities and I have lost my appetite. I hope my organs can recover. I have been doing some days of fasting and now I am eating very light.

Neel on April 24, 2013:

Excellent article ....thanks for sharing

FullOfLoveSites from United States on April 02, 2013:

Yeah, I'm sometimes greedy. I tend to overeat as if there was no tomorrow. I will remember your caveat against overeating... I know that it's bad, but I wasn't aware that it could be *that* bad! Thanks for your very informative article. Up, useful.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on March 16, 2013:

Hi Sarah Kenner,

Congratulations! What a great accomplishment. I'm glad that portion control worked so well for you.

Thanks for the comment and I wish you continuing success.

sarah kenner on January 24, 2013:

Hi, I just lost 20 pounds ... by eating smaller portions.. great article

Schatzie Speaks (author) on May 22, 2011:

Gladly, Peter! I look forward to reading more of your work and thankyou for your comment!

Peter Owen from West Hempstead, NY on May 22, 2011:

Hi Schatzie

Good article.

And thx for following me.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on May 01, 2011:

Thank you, Angelique! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Angelique Newman from Canada on May 01, 2011:

Excellent hub! It's interesting, well written and informative. I voted it up and marked it useful. Thanks for sharing :)

Related Articles