How Much Food Can The Stomach Hold
The human digestive system is amazing in its ability to break down the foods we eat into nutrients that our bodies can use. A small amount of food goes a long way — as much as 75 percent or more! This means you could go for hours without eating anything at all if necessary. Your body would continue functioning normally with just water, minerals and vitamins from other sources like fruits, vegetables, milk products and fortified cereals.
But what happens when you overeat? Do you know how big your stomach can get?
Your stomach holds between 0.75 and 1 quart (0.24 to 0.32 liters) of fluid before it begins to feel full. If you ate too much, your stomach will probably begin to fill up quickly because liquids are less dense than solids and fats. Once your stomach reaches this point, you’ll want to slow down or stop eating so you don’t overindulge. But let’s say you’re not used to eating very large meals; you find yourself reaching for seconds on every course. What should you do?
If you keep track of how much you eat and drink and watch your weight gain, you may be able to figure out how many calories you need to consume each day. You can also determine how much your stomach can hold by knowing the approximate volume of each meal you take in. For example, one serving of spaghetti sauce contains approximately 25 grams of protein, which is about 10 ounces. Divide 250 milligrams per ounce by 8 to yield 3 ounces of sauce equals 37.5 ounces total.
Once you have determined the number of servings you will need to maintain your current weight, multiply that number times three to estimate the maximum amount of pasta sauce you can safely consume daily. Then divide that number by five to determine the average size of individual portions. Next, add water equal to half of the portion plus a little extra if needed. Remember, the rule of thumb for safe calorie intake is no more than 500 calories above your maintenance level.
For instance, if you currently weigh 200 pounds and plan to stay at your present weight, then you should eat no more than 2500 calories per day. To calculate your maintenance level, subtract your desired weight from your actual weight. In this case, 200-200 = 80. Therefore, your maintenance level is 1600 calories per day. Now, to calculate your recommended caloric intake, multiply 2000 by 3, which gives 6000. Subtract 3000 (from the same chart mentioned earlier), which yields 2700. This shows that you should limit your caloric consumption to no more than 2700 per day. So, if your pasta sauce portion is only 37.5 ounces instead of 50 ounces, then you’d need about 12 ounces of water per portion.
If you still don’t think you can handle several large meals per day, try cutting back gradually until you reach your new target weight. Also, remember that the larger the portion, the greater the chance of overeating. Smaller portions allow you control your appetite better.
So now you know how much your stomach can hold, but does that mean you should never eat again? Not necessarily. There are plenty of people who enjoy their favorite foods all the time. They simply manage their calorie intake wisely. Here are some tips for controlling your cravings:
Eat frequent meals throughout the day to help prevent hunger pangs. Keep snacks low in calories and high in fiber, such as crackers or granola bars. These types of foods give you energy rather than filling you up. Eat smaller meals during the middle of the night so your body gets accustomed to having fewer calories available. Avoid skipping breakfast altogether. Skipping meals actually causes your metabolism to slow down. Eating breakfast keeps your blood sugar stable and helps curb cravings later in the morning.
When you’re hungry, choose healthy foods that contain complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, such as oatmeal, whole grain breads, soybeans, eggs and fish. Complex carbs provide sustained levels of energy while keeping insulin levels stable. Lean proteins keep your blood glucose steady and reduce inflammation. When you eat these kinds of foods, you won’t crave unhealthy fatty or sugary treats.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine after 4pm. Both substances stimulate the release of stress hormones and increase insulin production. Drinking alcohol makes you hungrier and increases fat storage. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and raises heart rate.
Try exercising for 20 minutes per day to burn off excess calories. Exercise relieves tension and reduces stress. It also releases endorphins, natural pain killers, which improve mood. Aerobic exercise also improves circulation and prevents constipation, both of which lead to abdominal bloating.
Stay away from refined carbs, such as white flour, white rice and sugary desserts. These foods cause rapid spikes in blood sugar followed by sharp drops. Refined carbs produce higher amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS damage cells and contribute to aging and disease. In addition, they disrupt hormone function and promote cancer growth.
Limit sodium intake. Sodium promotes water retention, thirst, urination and increased blood pressure. Excessive sodium can also trigger hypertension.
Watching what you eat and drinking enough fluids can make a huge difference in your waistline. But there are other factors beyond diet and nutrition that affect how much your belly grows. Read on.
Water Fluid Balance
You’ve heard it said often enough, “It’s not what you eat… it’s what you drink.” Water accounts for nearly 70 percent of your body’s composition, and most experts agree that you should consume eight glasses per day. However, your overall hydration status depends on two things. First, you must consider how much water passes through your kidneys each day. Second, you must account for how efficiently your body absorbs and retains water.
Most adults absorb about 60 to 65 percent of ingested water. As a result, if you drink 6 cups of water, you will become mildly dehydrated. Sixteen cups of liquid, however, puts you in danger of becoming dangerously thirsty. Only about 15 percent of the water you ingest is absorbed. Drinking beverages high in salt content depletes potassium and magnesium. Diuretics speed up the elimination of sodium, further reducing the amount of water being retained. Alcoholic drinks, particularly beer, decrease the absorption of water.
To avoid dehydration, drink lots of water. Eight glasses per day is even better! And try to stick to plain water. Avoid sodas, fruit juices and sports drinks, which all contain sugar. Instead, opt for unsweetened teas, coffee substitutes made with non-dairy creamer, herbal tea and flavored waters.
Although it feels good to chug gallons of ice cold H2O, don’t. Ice cold water stresses your kidneys and sends toxic waste products into the bloodstream faster than normal. Instead, sip warm water slowly. If the temperature is too hot, your mouth will cool the water and dilute its effects.
And speaking of toxins, if you smoke, quit immediately. Smoking interferes with the removal of harmful chemicals and carcinogens from the lungs and liver. Cigarette smoking also causes lung cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Finally, a word to women considering cosmetic surgery. While liposuction is effective for removing stubborn pockets of fat, it is dangerous if performed improperly. Before undergoing any type of surgical procedure, consult with a licensed physician. He or she will discuss recovery expectations and recommend postoperative care.
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