What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Too Much
Lets first examine what happens to your body when binge eating.
Ill not go into the emotional aspect of binge eating, including the addictive aspect of certain types of food and the fact that it can become an eating disorder. That plays a role in the way you feel when binge eating , but not so much on how your body reacts to it.
Furthermore, there are a lot of consequences to frequent binge eating , in short when it becomes an eating disorder. Im not covering this, Im only talking about binge eating as a once in a while thing.
So when eating too much, your organs will work hard to break down all the food you had, secreting extra hormones and enzymes. The stomach will secrete hydrochloric acid. In that case, more than usual.
That can cause whats called acid reflux, when the acid backs up in the esophagus, also resulting in heartburn.
Your stomach and digestive organ will have a hard time dealing with all the food. Itll swell, causing bloat, nausea and various discomforts. The stomach will also expand to adjust to the food quantity, pushing against the other organs and making you uncomfortable.
Your pancreas will release a larger than normal amount of insulin, producing a spike in blood sugar, which can then lead to overheating, headache, thirst, and fatigue.
The insulin released can be in excess and stay in your body. Which can have the strange result of making you hungry again later? Lets say you had a huge dinner, then you might be hungry waking up.
If Impacts Sexes Differently
So how do women compare to men when following the IF lifestyle diet? Is there a difference in how a womans body, and mind, respond to IF compared to a mans body and mind? Current research is limited however, a few recent headlines have indicated that women may not respond to IF as favorably as men. The first claim is that womens glucose response to a meal after 22 days of IF was not as positive as mens response. A closer look? The study, reported in 2005, tested only 16 nonobese subjects divided equally between men and women :574-81).
The study goal was to examine the effects of 3 weeks of alternate-day fasting on glucose tolerance and skeletal muscle expression of genes involved in fatty acid transport/oxidation, mitochondrial biogenesis, and stress response. In other words, a short three weeks of alternate fasting to see the differences in blood sugar response, indicators of fat metabolism, presence of new mitochondria, and response to stress in general between a small group of nonobese men and women.
Womens glucose response was slightly impaired after three weeks with NO change in insulin response. Men had NO change in glucose response and a significant reduction in insulin response. The problem here? Too few subjects, too few days, and too few health variations reflect any significance for those following IF for the overwhelming majority of people.
How Do You Know Advice On Binge Eating Is Helpful Or Harmful
You know exactly where you want to be. You want a life that feels reliable, safe, and happy. Binge eating gets in the way of that. So it makes sense that youre searching for solutions.
Ive just spent quite a bit of time telling you advice not to follow. But how do I know this!? And how can you become a better B.E.B.A.D and know for yourself whats right and wrong?
Here are some things to look out for:
- Who is giving the information? Is the person qualified to give out this advice? Are they a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian? The person might be a Clinical Psychologist or a Psychotherapist. These are baseline qualifications. What further training and experience do they have? Do they solely work with people who binge eat? Are they a jack-of-all-trades?
- Why are they telling you their tips? I hope that people giving you tips mean well. But if theyre trying to lead you down a path of feeling hopeless, they might be trying to sell you their approach. You know another 90-day weight loss plan will probably not be the most helpful. Be mindful of what people are hoping to sell you.
- Do they have confusing messaging?
Its really frustrating for me as someone who only works with those healing their relationship to food to see people hopping on bandwagons. One week theyre talking about weight loss, then the next about giving up dieting forever. Its pretty confusing for even me, so I imagine it must be super strange for you.
Choosing The Right Alcohol
If youre going to drink while doing the 16/8 intermittent fasting, you should choose the right alcohol. Avoid high-calorie drinks that are full of added sugar. Go for dry wine or distilled spirits that are low in calories. Below is the calorie content of different alcohols according to the National Institutes of Health :
- Beer 153 calories per 12 fl oz. serving
- Gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila 97 calories per 1.5 fl oz. serving
- Brandy, cognac 98 calories per 1.5 fl oz. serving
- Liqueurs 165 calories per 1.5 fl oz. serving
- Red wine 125 calories per 5 fl oz. serving
- White wine 121 calories per 5 fl oz. serving
- Champagne 84 calories per 4 fl oz. serving
- Cosmopolitan 146 calories per 2.75 fl. oz serving
- Whiskey sour 160 calories per 3.5 fl oz. serving
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When Is The Best Time To Drink Alcohol While On An Intermittent Fasting Diet
During your eating window, of course. Drinking alcohol during your fasting window A) would be unhealthy and unsafe with no food in your system and B) would break your fasting state. Make sure to drink during youre eating window, and stay hydrated.
In terms of when you should eat food and when you should imbibe? You should eat first and then wait an hour or so for your body to digest the food, and then start drinking alcohol, Rissetto recommends. This way, what you eat doesnt get stored as fat when the body has to break down the alcohol to be filtered away from the bloodstream.
Another pro tip: Rissetto recommends drinking with at least three or fours hours before bed. Why? Because when you drink, your body doesnt go into REM, a deep stage of sleep, Rissetto says. Without it, you wont get the restful and restorative sleep you need. And again, your body wont be able to do its jobs properly. By allowing yourself time between drinking and sleeping hours, your body will have more time to metabolize the alcohol, and youll still get in your beauty rest .
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What About Fasting After Binge Eating
First off, it might be hard to fast after a binge since the leftover insulin might make you hungry again. Furthermore, indulging in sugar or high carb could create cravings that might be hard to cope with the next day.
It might be best for you, even if youre used to intermittent fasting, to have a normal eating day if fasting is too hard on you.
But if you fast, lets say, for 24 hours, which I have done plenty of time after weekends , basically your body will act the same as usual.
Itll lower your insulin levels and, after around 8 hours of fasting, the liver will have used the last reserves of glucose for energy . Your body will then enter into gluconeogenesis. Which means itll access your fat store and start breaking down your fat for energy.
You enter ketosis after around 12 hours of fasting. Some of the fat will then be transformed into ketone bodies, an alternative source of energy for the brain. A better source of energy.
After 18 hours, youre fully into fat-burning mode and ketones become your main source of energy. Within 24 hours your body begins autophagy, which means it is recycling old components and breaking down misfolded proteins.
Okay, now that Ive stated the obvious, whats the difference between a normal day fasting and one after binge eating? I would say first it depends on your eating habits. If your body is not used to fasting, thatll be hard, hell, itll be hard even without eating too much the previous day.
When Went Wrong With Intermittent Fasting
I have ADHD and Im prone to getting hyper fixated on things. I started to become a little bit obsessive about sticking to my eating window.
And that had a knock-on effect. I was starting to plan pretty much every aspect of my life trying to fit things around that eating window.
It started to have an impact on my fitness, and my exercise routine. And I dont leave the most active social life, but it started to have an impact on the social life that I do lead as well.
So I kind of felt like I was trying to survive for 16 hours and then just live for eight hours in a 24 hour day. Not ideal.
Plus that feeling of fullness in the evening started to wear off. And I was gradually finding, I was eating a little bit more. I was back to picking and snacking.
I still had that 8:00 PM set cutoff time, which somehow I had no problem sticking to. But the discipline I had within that eating window was starting to slip.
There were a couple of things that started to happen, which started to give me some cause for concern as well.
First of all, as soon as I broke my fast, I would go from feeling not particularly hungry, to absolutely starving.I dont know why, but I guess my body was able to suppress the hunger. And then as soon as I had something, the flood gates opened. And it was quite bad.
It was to the extent that as soon as I started eating a few minutes later if I didnt eat more, I started trembling. Its not a great feeling. Its not a great situation to be in.
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Intermittent Fasting: A Popular Diet With Serious Psychological Risks
“Not only does dieting not work, it causes harm. That’s the bottom line.”
To follow most diets, you have to give something up: dessert, carbs, or even a whole day of eating. But often, thats not all. Sometimes your mental and emotional health can take a hit, too. Here, four experts tell Inverse the sneaky ways diets like intermittent fasting can both improve mental health and jeopardize it.
Intermittent fasters break up their normal eating routine by regularly abstaining from food for periods of time. Some people practice an extended 16-hour overnight fast, while others go full days without food. There is a growing body of research showing that IF can kick off a cascade of health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure, stabilized blood sugar, and reduced inflammation, and it can potentially prevent disease and the consequences of aging. Fasters often report better moods and improved focus, and some even say it helps reduce depression and anxiety.
But some dietitians caution that so-called restrictive diets can be dangerous for some people, exacerbating unhealthy eating patterns like emotional eating, binge eating, and eating disorders.
Intermittent fasting is a gateway to an eating disorder, Evelyn Tribole, registered dietitian and co-author of Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, tells Inverse.
“Intermittent fasting is a gateway to an eating disorder.”
Intermittent Fasting Can Be A Trigger For Binge Eating
During the pandemic, theres been reports of higher levels of overeating, binge eating and dieting attempts. In fact, 27% of Australians are undertaking more severe food restriction and 34% are experiencing heightened binge eating episodes since COVID-19 first began. This is unsurprising considering the collective sense of loss of control, stress and anxiety we have experienced worldwide.
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What Are The Risks Of Intermittent Fasting
Despite its popularity, intermittent fasting isnt risk-free. Recent research highlights a link between intermittent fasting and binge eating. Intermittent fasting doesnt just worsen existing binge eating episodes, it is also linked to an increased risk for onset of recurrent binge eating & bulimia nervosa.
Fasting is also not appropriate for individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding as it may prevent adequate nutrition and minimize breast milk supply. It is also important to advise your doctor and dietitian if you are intending to fast and are taking insulin or other diabetes medications. Reflux can also be worsened by intermittent fasting.
Eat As Slowly As You Can And Chew Your Food
Binge eating after a fasting period often occurs because you eat so fast that your body doesnt have time to send you the signals that youre full. Since it takes your body about 20 30 minutes to recognize that youre full, its crucial to eat slowly. If you shove an excessive amount of food down the hatch within 5 minutes of eating quickly, your body wont have time to tell you that youre full, and once your body recognizes it, youll feel very sick and overly stuffed.
If you eat slowly, however, youre less likely to overeat, because youll get full in time to stop.
A tip for eating more slowly is to chew your food many times before swallowing, and put down your fork in between bites, instead of shoveling it in.
Eating slower is part of the healthy concept of mindful eating.
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Intermittent Fasting And Alcohol: How Does Alcohol Affect Your Progress
Before we start discussing how alcohol affects intermittent fasting, lets make this clear: alcohol breaks a fast. When we are talking about intermittent fasting and alcohol, we mean how does the combination of intermittent fasting and drinking alcohol work? Will alcohol make your progress slower? Does alcohol improve your metabolic health? What should you take into consideration when deciding to mix intermittent fasting and alcohol?
Find Someone To Talk To
Talking to a friend or peer when you feel like binging may help reduce your likelihood of overeating.
One study in 101 adolescents undergoing sleeve gastrectomy showed that reliable social support was associated with less binge eating .
Another study in 125 women with obesity found that better social support was linked to decreased binge eating severity .
A good social support system is thought to reduce the impact of stress, which may help decrease your risk of other coping habits like emotional eating .
Next time you feel like binge eating, pick up the phone and call a trusted friend or family member. If you dont have someone to talk to, eating disorder helplines are available free of charge.
Summary A good social support system may be linked to decreased binge eating and stress.
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Can Intermittent Fasting Lead To An Eating Disorder
Several months ago, I was co-leading a presentation on eating disorders at the National Wellness Conference, and my lunchtime companion was a personal trainer who was leading a session on intermittent fasting. Upon learning this, I groaned. I thought we were in for a conversation that would give us both indigestion.
All the things Id read about intermittent fasting like the incredible health claims, lifestyle of devotees, and strict guidelines, all seemed to be at odds with preventing eating disorders.
I wondered, is intermittent fasting a friend or a foe?
Times You Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has greatly increased in popularity and praise over the last few years. However, there are certain cases when you shouldnt attempt intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is the practice of following a schedule of fasting and regular eating. The 16/8 method and the 5:2 diet are common patterns of intermittent fasting. The 16/8 method involves rotating between 16 hours a day of fasting and 8 hours of eating. The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for 5 days of the week and reducing your calorie intake for 2 days.
Some health experts recommend intermittent fasting for its ability to support brain health, reduce inflammation,1 and improve blood pressure.2 However, there are certain groups of people who may be harmed by intermittent fasting. Avoid intermittent fasting if any of the following characteristics apply to you:
You have a history of disordered eating or eating disorders. Intermittent fasting requires intentional restriction of food and ignoring of hunger signals. These practices may be triggering if youve had an eating disorder and may lead to new eating disorder behaviors.3,4
Youre pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant. Pregnant or breastfeeding people have increased energy needs and shouldnt engage in calorie restriction.5 Intermittent fasting may also reduce your chances of becoming pregnant and should be avoided if youre trying to conceive.6
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Why You Might Be Binging
However, some people do still struggle with overeating after their fasts and there are a number of factors that might contribute to why this is. If you still feel like you are binging at meal times after you feel like you have passed the initial transition period, there are some questions you should ask yourself.
Is Dieting Worth The Risk
Before trying IF, its worth taking a moment to self-reflect on your dietary goals, eating history, and lifestyle.
As a baseline for most people, Brighid advises maintaining a whole-food diet. That means whole grains instead of refined pasta, fresh fruit instead of bottled juice, or salmon fillets instead of chicken nuggets. If somebody is feeling really stressed out about foods in food choices, I would direct them to eating whole foods as close to their natural state as possible, Brighid explains. Because I feel like it is much harder to go wrong.
“Our bodies are resilient and we can have a bad meal or a bad week, and our bodies are going to bounce back.
Brighid emphasizes that if you trip up, it is not the end of the world. Our bodies are resilient and we can have a bad meal or a bad week, and our bodies are going to bounce back if we just go back to that good foundational whole foods diet, she says.
Kronberg hopes people remember that food is a source of nutrients and also pleasure.
We are not numbers or pieces of paper. We are whole human beings, Kronberg says. And what may look viable in a scientific lab or in short term research does not usually play out in the brain and the body over a long term.
Intermittent fasting that is practiced rigidly, without room for error or adjustment, could be harmful.
Its about long term solutions, cultivating a healthy lifestyle, not practicing a short-term diet, Brighid says.
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