You’ve definitely heard of gluttony and how that’s Dante’s third circle of hell. It all starts with food, massive amounts of food. With evolving cuisines and world cultures amalgamating, we’re at a place in time where we have access to the best food items. Add to this the encouragement you get from social media where food bloggers and hashtags revolving around food are plenty. No wonder your stomach gains the ability to expand, and your meal proportions increase. Do you think you might be binge eating? We’re here to tell you what is binge eating and why is it bad for you.
The terms binge eating and overeating are often used interchangeably, usually referring to eating beyond the amount of energy your body requires for optimum functioning. It’s definitely not something you acquire in a day’s time, but overeating becomes worse with time and can turn chronic.
So, Why Is Binge Eating/Overeating Bad For You?
There are a multitude of different reasons why binge eating can be bad for you. The comfort and joy you experience when you eat can fade away as soon as the activity ceases to exist, leading to various temporary and long-term problems. Want to know what these are? Keep reading.
1. May perpetuate a long term cycle of overeating.
Let’s simplify this for you – when you feel hungry is actually regulated by two important hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells you when you’re hungry, while leptin tells you when you’re full and when it’s crucial you stop chomping on your food.
When overeating becomes a regular part of your routine, the balance that these hormones maintain gets disrupted. Additionally, you will usually tend to binge on foods that are high in sodium and sugar. These feel-good foods give rise to dopamine generation – a feel-good hormone associated with feelings of pleasure. Your body now enters a state of absolute chaos associating these high sodium and sugar foods with feelings of pleasure and joy. Oops!
Consequently, your brain will now encourage you to eat more of those unhealthy treats over and over again, disrupting the role of the hormones ghrelin and leptin. You might continue to eat even though you’re full, your body does not know when to stop! In the long run, binge eating perpetuates the unhealthy cycle of chronic overeating.
2. Makes you bloated and gassy
What’s one of the main things you notice when you overeat? The speed with which you eat – the food is over and you don’t even realize how fast you gobbled it up, are we correct? When you binge eat, you usually do so with an intense ferocity, and the rapid intake of food promotes bloating and the production of gas. Moreover, because you eat large amounts of food in one sitting, your digestive system hardly has the time to digest anything, leaving you with bad abdominal pains and discomfort.
Add to this the quality of the food you binge on. Truthfully, we all tend to binge on foods that have high fat, sodium, and spice content. These factors also cause the build-up of gas much faster than if you were to binge on vegetables or fruits.
Interesting: Busting Food Myths
3. Increases the risk of diseases
You already know that excessive eating can put you on the path towards obesity. Furthermore, it hampers your progress if you’re trying to stay fit. It’s a chain of harsh consequences – obesity increases your chances of diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke.
Let us add more gut-wrenching facts to this – chronic overeating is also related to insulin resistance. What’s that? A condition where excessive sugar in your blood reduces the ability of the hormone insulin to store blood sugar in your cells. What can insulin resistance do if left uncontrolled? It can cause type 2 diabetes.
Wait, there’s more! Both obesity and insulin resistance together work hand in hand as partners and can cause metabolic syndrome. Big term right? It is! It involves conditions like high blood pressure and high blood sugar that can culminate in stroke and heart diseases.
4. Encourages an attachment to food
This is a problem that’s pretty much obvious, but important enough to mention. Many of us use food as an emotional crutch when we’re upset, most probably when we need comfort. It might not always be that, but for most of us, overeating becomes an avenue to comfort at some point in the way. Consequently, this coupled with your now chaotic hunger regulation encourages you to keep eating to feel good.
Since you’re now spending a lot of time eating, you unconsciously develop an attachment towards it. It’s always there, isn’t it? Whether you get a firing at your job or whether you didn’t do something right, food is always at your disposal. Like a chain reaction, your growing attachment to food to carry you through the bad times leads to all kinds of problems – from obesity to lowered moods and self-esteem.
5. Can turn you into a sleepyhead
Was Sleepy, the dwarf in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs given that name because his excessive sleeping was a reaction to overeating? We can’t be sure of that, but we can be sure that if you keep binge eating, you will notice that drowsiness becomes your best friend throughout the day. Moreover, this is irrespective of how much sleep you get during the night.
Why do you feel drowsy or sleepy after overeating though? The phenomenon is called reactive hypoglycemia, which refers to a drop in the sugar levels in your body, once you finish a big meal. Low blood sugar is often related to sleepiness and sluggishness. Viola!
What can you do to stop?
Now that you’ve read what binge eating is and why is it bad for you, there are several methods you can try to curb this habit if you believe you engage in it. First and foremost, you can work on downsizing your portion sizes. A trick that can help is taking smaller plates to serve food. Another thing you can do is cut down on processed foods that are high in sugar and sodium and instead eat whole foods. The path to leaving your tendency to binge eat will be difficult, but we believe that you can do it
Also Read: Why Should You Cut Down on Carbs [6 Reasons]