The bane of all affluent families is over-indulgence is eating and lack of physical activity. To these two factors may be added smoking and drinking. In addition to these factors which shorten life, overeating directly stimulates the ageing process, which affects all organs of the body and brings old age faster and earlier.
In the previous chapter, we have learned that ills, such as obesity, high blood cholesterol and blood sugar, may result from excess eating which is invariably faulty. These abnormalities act as serious risk factors for the health in general and the heart in particular.
Overeating and the Ageing Process:
Lately, there has been great deal of research on the phenomenon of aging-why we grow old and if there is some way we can prevent degeneration and postpone ageing and death. Some important facts have emerged from this research. We have come to realize that we do not as yet know the upper limit of human life span. We have also realized that we have not yet reached that upper limit, whatever that limit may be, meaning thereby that we have been dying rather prematurely when we could have lived longer.
Our body cells, the units of life, continue to divide and replicate themselves throughout our lives, but there is a limit to the number of times they can replicate. After they have replicated themselves about 50 times, they stop dividing and wither out. This is old age for cells and ultimately for us. Quicker the cells complete this cycle of fifty replications, earlier comes old age and death.
For cell division and replication, food energy is required. If this is short supply but not too short to harm the cell, the process of cell division is slowed down. On the contrary, if supply of food is plentiful and more than the requirement, the process is hastened and the critical figure of 50 divisions is reached earlier. This research points out in simple terms that too much food brings old age faster. Is it not a common observation that few fat people reach the age of eighty?
Experiments have confirmed that life span can be substantial lengthened, by almost 40 per cent, by taking a low calorie diet equivalent of about 1400-1500 calories. This diet is adequate for our needs and is not fatty foods. Next time when you think of eating junk food or ice cream, take fruit instead.
Also Read: Foods We Should Eat on a Regular Basis
Why do we Overeat?
Overeating is largely a matter of greed and habit, encouraged by a highly palatable food. The latter is invariably high in calories. Such foods are either sweets such as cakes, pastries, chocolates and sweetmeats, or fried foods such as hot dogs, burgers, etc. There is a strong evidence that high-fat foods override the normal satiety mechanism, so that the person does not feel satisfied though his/her food needs have been met. Fried foods diets are particularly likely to stimulate appetite.
How Not to Overeat:
There is another observation – the less you eat, the less you want to eat. Research indicates that rapid arrival of sugar in the gut causes a person to double his food intake.
Moral: Slow down the rate at which the food arrives in the gut. Sugar and sweets are absorbed quickly and therefore stimulate your appetite and increase the intake of food. The rate at which the food reaches the gut depends upon the speed with which it is eaten. Slower you eat, slower does the food reaches the gut, and lesser you eat.
It takes about 20 minutes of eating to feel full and satisfied. If you eat fast and finish your quota of food earlier than 20 minutes, you will not feel satisfied and will, therefore, continue eating in excess of your needs. Your problem of over eating may simply be that you are a fast eater. If so, take smaller morsels and chew them longer or simply stop eating for a few minutes between the courses. You will soon stop overeating.