Q: Can long-term overeating or underrating change your stomach volume?
Your stomach is an elastic organ, so when you take in a large volume of food, liquid, or air (think carbonation), it does expand to accommodate everything that’s put into it.
But it starts to shrink back to its normal size once the meal has passed out of the stomach.
Overeating on occasion won’t permanently expand your stomach, and in turn, won’t make you hungrier.
There is, however, some scientific research out there suggesting that regularly restricting your food intake may reduce stomach capacity over time, possibly because the stomach wall eventually becomes more resistant to being stretched – and vice versa with overeating.
Q: Does overeating increase appetite?
In short, no – eating decreases appetite (as would be expected logically).
In the short term, eating increases secretion of cholecystokinin, peptide YY and insulin, and reduces secretion of ghrelin, thereby reducing appetite.
Even the aforementioned stretching of the stomach on eating decreases appetite and produces a feeling of satiety.
Body fat begins to increase with chronically increased food intake. This increases leptin levels, which in turn reduces appetite.
Q. How long does it take to get back on track with sensible meals?
As we mentioned above, the stomach returns to its original size when it has emptied into the small intestine.
Complete emptying takes a few hours. The rate varies with the type of food taken (solid or liquid; protein-rich, fat-rich or carbohydrate-rich).