It is commonly known that consuming alcohol in excess amounts to a point of intoxication – defined as a stupefied or excited by a chemical substance – can result in an array of symptoms, where the presence of one or more are referred to as a hangover.
Consuming food in excess to a point of intoxication – defined as over-consumption of a normally harmless substance – can also result in a hangover – more specifically, a food hangover. Even consuming a small amount of a food containing an allergen can cause “symptoms”. In some cases the over-consumption of either alcohol or food can result is similar symptoms. The unpleasant physical and mental symptoms of a hangover are an indicator of an assaulted on our bodies.
The mechanisms behind the development of a hangover are varied and differ for a food hangover and an alcohol hangover. They include the effect that alcohol and food has on, blood sugar concentrations, the endocrine system, central nervous system, sleep patterns, biological rhythms, neural transmitters, the gastrointestinal tract and even urine production.
The intensity of symptoms of a hangover from alcohol and food vary from person to person and are dependent on the type, amounts and combinations consumed. An alcohol hangover normally begins within several hours, after consuming alcohol and a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) begins to fall.
The onset of a “food hangover” can be more immediate following the initial “satisfaction” received from the food consumed. The onset of a food hangover is more directly associated with effects of overeating, rather than the results of no longer consuming food.
Symptoms of a food hangover:
The symptoms of a food hangover are dependent upon the type and quantity of food consumed and its effect on the body. The short term food hangover effects can be primarily related to the food consumed or secondary to the impact on the bodies functions. They can be recognized in varying degrees or unrecognizable, especially if your body has become accustomed to the associated feelings or sensations over time. They include but are not limited to:
1. Cognitive: decreased attention and concentration and early morning “brain fog” (grogginess or cloudy concentration)
2. Constitutional: fatigue, weakness, overstuffed, muscle aches and thirst
3. Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain
4. Mental symptoms: dizziness; vertigo (a sense of the room spinning)
5. Mood: depression, anxiety, and irritability
6. Pain: headache and muscle aches
7. Sensory: sensitivity to light and sound
8. Sleep and biological rhythms: decreased sleep, decreased REM (rapid eye movements), and increased slow-wave sleep
9. Sympathetic hyperactivity: tremor, sweating, and increased pulse and systolic blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).
10. Metabolic effects: low blood sugar, elevated blood sugar, elevated blood lipid levels, disruption of metabolism and, obesity and Diabetes.
The metabolic effect takes place at a cellular level and “overeating may destroy your body’s regular metabolic response” as reported on livestrong.com about researchers at Harvard School of Public Health who published their findings in the February 5, 2010 issue of “Cell.” They explain how in our body a “molecule called RNA-dependent protein kinase, or PKR (identifies) and fights viruses with other molecules. However, the researchers also say “that if you overeat, it also attacks metabolism.” “When you eat too much, excess nutrients attack cells that contain PKR, and its response is to fight back by shutting down metabolism because all of these extra nutrients are perceived as a threat. This can lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.”
The effects of overeating are serious and not only impact of our bodies but other areas of personal and social life. Overeating has serious health consequences that no one should overlook, and according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, “while overeating is often made easy by society, the long-term costs outweigh the benefits …” of indulging.
Just overeating for short periods of time can have lasting impact on the body as reported in a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism and reviewed in WebMD that “suggests that a short period of overeating can have later long-term effects by increasing body weight and fat mass in normal-weight individuals,” ” says researcher Asa Ernersson, a PhD student at Linkoping University in Sweden.”
Long term effects of overeating can lead to, or aggravate, medical problems and diseases that are difficult to treat or that become irreversible. Excessive food consumption can lead to serious, potentially life threatening medical problems such as; asthma, allergies, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, clinical depression, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL levels, hypertension, nutrient deficiencies, obesity, Diabetes and stroke.
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