Here come the holidays again full of pig-out’s and overeating. At my age I am over it because I just don’t feel good when I overindulge.  However the statistics are that the average American eats 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day and a colossal 7000 calories on Christmas!

All of the experts usually say, “don’t worry one day of overeating won’t kill you”.  I am here to tell you it might!

A study of 1,986 heart attack patients presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in 2000 suggested that an unusually large meal quadrupled the chance of having a heart attack within the next two hours.


The typical Thanksgiving or Christmas day meal consists of foods we all love…Turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, cheesy broccoli rice casserole, homemade rolls, butter, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, ice cream… I think once we eat the turkey we relax into a daze of over consumption and cheer.  This doesn’t even include the Christmas Eve dinner or traditional holiday breakfasts many people practice.  And I need not mention spirits, and egg nog.  So, what is the overall importance here of listing off all of these mouth- watering foods? Read on..


If we look at the biochemistry of pigging out rather than the fun this is what happens.

Six hours after a large meal cardiac output of blood is diverted to intestinal circulation depriving the heart, brain and other organs of blood.

Excess carbohydrates in the meal causes an increase in insulin compounding the situation by preventing normal relaxation of coronary arteries.  Triglyceride elevation from the fats and carbohydrates can impair function of the inner lining of the coronary arteries causing vessels to become less elastic and acutely inflamed. Inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein are elevated following a large high fat meal along with an increase in blood pressure which can result in a rupture of inflamed patches leading to blockages and heart attacks.

Scarfing down a large dinner also results in the body secreting enormous amounts of gastric acid to digest the food.  This can lead to hours of gastric reflux and discomfort.  The high fat content of the typical holiday feast often leads to gallbladder attacks in people with gallstones.  The high salt content could trigger an acute heart failure in someone with a heart condition or on medication that warrants a diet low in calories and salt.

The day after the feast can be just as uncomfortable bringing with it issues such as hangovers, gout, painful flatulence and fatigue….Wasn’t that fun? We don’t have an alarm on our stomach to tell us when to stop since we can pretty much eat up to 4 times the contents our stomach normally holds. So the eyes have to be the judge and the ghost of holiday meals past!