This is what happens to your body when you’ve overindulged at a party

If there is one thing that takes a backseat during the festive season, it’s the practice of mindful eating. According to registered dietician Fatema Valikarimwala, you don’t need a nutritionist to portion control your plate on a day-to-day basis. All you need to do is to follow the simple rule of intuitive eating—stop before you are totally full. In theory it sounds pretty doable, but it doesn’t account for festive indulgences when you are with family and friends. We ask nutrition experts on what really happens to our bodies after a heavy meal.

If you’ve eaten a meal high in fat and carbs

The immediate side effects of an indulgent meal that has been heavy in fats and carbs—like eating pizza or too many dosas—is that it can cause lethargy and drowsiness. “Tryptophan is a precursor to the sleep inducing compounds, serotonin and melatonin. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, which is why carbohydrate-heavy meals can make you drowsy,” says Valikarimwala.

Celebrity Dietician Nmami Agarwal points out that still, 60 per cent of the total energy from the diet should be derived from carbs, making them the prime macronutrient. However, you must know which type to choose. “Ideally, carbs should be consumed in the form of whole grains with least or no processing at all, and refined carbs also known as simple carbs should be avoided.” Besides making you sleepy and lethargic, a meal rich in simple carbs shoots up your blood sugar levels, which can also lead to the risk of high cholesterol levels and and Type 2 Diabetes.

However, if you did succumb to the temptation and have gorged on too many samosas, Agarwal has an effective antidote: “Sip on some turmeric-ginger tea to ease the feeling of heaviness or bloating that is often experienced after overeating.”

If you’ve indulged in too much sugar

You may feel that sugar provides you with instant energy (a sugar rush) but actually it makes you feel crash after a short while. “Sugar causes release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter leaving you with a pleasurable high feeling. Researches have proven time and again that, sugar can be more addictive than drugs. Now, your body is way smarter than you think. As you continue to repeat having more and more of sugar, your brain adjusts to release less dopamine. The only way to feel the same ‘pleasurable high’ as before, you will have to increase the amount and frequency of sugar,” explains Valikarimwala. And this is not all. Excess sugar can also impact the brain function. She explains, “Sugar tends to block the activity of orexin cells, which are modulators of the sleep/wakefulness cycle. Simply put, they activate neurons that keep you awake. This is why a diet high in sugar can leave you feeling tired even after eating.”

Refined sugar lacks nutritional value, states Agarwal and adds that there are chances that sugary products contain more flavoured and artificial preservatives than non-sugary ones. “If you have a sweet tooth, and want to satisfy that craving, switch to natural sugar sources like jaggery, dates, figs or coconut sugar.

If you’ve gone all-in on a spicy meal

What’s too much spice is for your body to decide as per its tolerance level, states Valikarimwala. But what happens when you overdose on spicy foods? “A meal with excess spice may make you happy whilst eating it but may have repercussions later like acidity and inflammation in the gut,” states Payal Kothari, integrative nutritionist and gut health coach. “Make sure you drink lots of cold water to help settle the fire in the belly,” she advises.

Excess of spicy foods can also cause acid reflux which in turn damages the stomach walls, warns Agarwal. The stomach acids can even irritate the oesophagus and cause heartburn. Excessively spicy foods when had in excess, can also irritate the sensitive mucosal lining and aggravate the gastric ulcers. The quick remedy for heartburn is to to consume a banana or drink a glass of buttermilk.

This article first appeared in Vogue


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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