Food Coma: 3 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Too Much

It's a real thing

food coma
Photo by Juzant/Getty Images

As we brace ourselves for the inevitable food coma that accompanies holiday over indulgence, it’s interesting to know exactly what happens to our bodies when we slip into a post-meal nap. Also known as postprandial somnolence, digestion overload can knock you off your feet and head first onto a pillow. Here are 3 things to know when you meet face-to-face with a food coma…zzzzzzzzzzz.

Like A Bear That’s Been Shot With A Dart

A large amount of fat and carbs (mashed potatoes, bread, cake) will cause a spike in insulin, which utilizes glucose after a meal. Insulin not only causes fatigue, but it delivers tryptophan to your brain. Tryptophan, in turn, is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with drowsiness, especially in kids. Double trouble!

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Seriously, Nap Time Now

As food moves through your python-like body (is that an antelope or fruitcake you just swallowed?), your stomach releases gastrin, a regulator of gastric acid secretion. As more blood is diverted to help with digestion, it leaves less blood for other bodily functions, leaving some people feeling sleepy. The larger the meal, the sleepier you may feel.

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Gym? All The Nopes. Walk Around The Block. Maybe.

Pro tip: if you eat too much, try to keep moving. You’ll have a better chance of warding off bloating and a forced disco nap. Plus, you don’t want to miss out on pie, do you?

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