Researchers with the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Metabolism at the University of Bath compared the body effects of eating until you are comfortably full to eating until you cannot manage another bite.
The good news is that the trial volunteers, who consumed almost twice as much pizza when pushing beyond their usual limits, doubling their calorie intake, managed to keep the number of nutrients in the bloodstream within the normal range. In the study, the average calorie intake in the all-you-can-eat trial was over 3000 kcal, roughly one and half large pizzas. However, some individuals were able to consume up to two and half large pizzas in one go.
The bad news is that the study was only performed on young, healthy men aged 22 to 37, but the researchers plan to investigate whether similar effects are apparent in women and for overweight and older populations.
So, after eating maximally:
- Glucose levels in blood were no higher than after a normal meal.
- The amount of insulin in the blood was 50% higher than normal.
- Blood lipids (triglycerides and non-esterified fatty acids) were only slightly higher despite having consumed over twice as much fat.
- The hormones released by the gut to stimulate insulin secretion and increase feelings of fullness were changed the most by overeating.
“The main problem with overeating is that it adds more stored energy to our bodies, which can culminate in obesity if you overeat day after day. However, this study shows that if an otherwise healthy person overindulges occasionally, for example eating a large buffet meal or Christmas lunch, then there are no immediate negative consequences in terms of losing metabolic control.” — Professor James Betts, lead researcher of the study
Source: ‘Physiological responses to maximal eating in men’, British Journal of Nutrition.