We’ve all experienced that guilty, regretful feeling after polishing off those last slices of pizza despite already being full, saying yes to the dessert we didn’t need or failing to resist those extra chocolates. Well thankfully, we no longer have to feel any sense of shame because a new study suggests the body copes well with overeating from time to time.
Researchers from the University of Bath examined asked a group of healthy young males between the ages of 22 and 37 to take part in two eating trials: one eating pizza until they felt full and one eating the maximum of pizza they could stomach.
The participants were able to eat double the amount in the all-you-can-eat trial, with an average calorie intake of over 3,000 and some even managing two and a half large pizzas in one sitting.
But the results showed that blood sugar levels were no higher than after a regular meal and blood fatty acids were only slightly higher, while insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar levels) was increased by around 50 per cent.
This shows that the average healthy person can metabolize large amounts of food relatively well on one-off occasions.
The lead researcher Aaron Hengist said: "We all know the long-term risks of over-indulgence with food when it comes to obesity, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but we know much less about some of the immediate effects 'all you can eat' places on the body.
“Our findings show that the body actually copes remarkably well when faced with a massive and sudden calorie excess. Healthy humans can eat twice as much as 'full' and deal effectively with this huge initial energy surplus."
The researchers now plan to replicate the study on women as well as overweight and elderly populations to gain a fuller picture of how the body processes bouts of binge eating.