Here’s what happens to your body and why you might want to plan a lighter menu.
The after-meal sluggishness and fatigue you might feel is because “digestion takes work, and a big meal is harder to break down,” says nutritionist Keri Gans.
A large meal can cause bloating, nausea, heartburn or indigestion, especially if you collapse on the couch after eating. “Lying flat increases the likelihood of heartburn,” says dietitian Susan Chapman.
Supersize portions and sugary dishes like pavlova cause blood sugar levels and insulin production to ramp up and levels of triglycerides (fats in the blood) to rise.
Many fear weight gain over the holidays, but this doesn’t have to be the case. “Reducing your energy intake by around 100 calories (418 kilojoules) per day can prevent weight gain,” says Rebecca Charlotte Reynolds, nutrition lecturer at the University of New South Wales. 10 minutes of brisk walking or swimming will also help balance things out.
(Discover how to get relief from tummy troubles in the Dec/Jan issue of Prevention.)