With Thanksgiving only a few days away, a majority of the country is looking forward to a cozy night around the table with family and friends, lots of wine and second (or third!) helpings of turkey, mashed potatoes and pie. But as we inch closer to the end of November and thus closer to the holiday season, there is one major concern weighing on nutritionists' minds.
"Thanksgiving dinner is reportedly the largest eating event in the United States, with people eating more than on any other day of the year," explained registered nutritionist Hannah Braye to AOL Lifestyle. "The traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce and potatoes isn’t necessarily unhealthy, especially if cooked from scratch and accompanied by lots of veggies. However, the issue is usually the volume that people eat."
From the spike in blood sugar to the high cholesterol, overindulging in Thanksgiving foods can lead to the rise of certain health complications -- those who already battling conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes or heart complications should especially take note.
"Over-eating will significantly increase calorie intake, so if you are trying to lose weight, it’s best not to over-indulge. Your stomach has to physically expand to accommodate the additional volume, potentially leading to discomfort," Braye maintained. "There is also an increased need for stomach acid, digestive enzymes and bile in order to break down the food. If the digestive system can’t keep up with demand, this can have a negative impact on digestive symptoms."
Braye did clarify that unless you suffer from health complications, these changes "should return to normal levels after a few hours," and overeating should not be a common occurrence for anyone.
While there are ways to detox after a big meal, like staying well hydrated, eating more fiber and looking after your microbiome (Braye suggests a quality probiotic like Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formulation), there are also ways to ensure you're enjoying the holiday without overindulging.
"To prevent over-eating, it can be useful to practice mindful eating habits to help you slow down and tune in to satiety (fullness) signals being sent from the gut to the brain," Braye explained. "Eating off a smaller plate can sometimes help trick the brain into eating less food, as well as putting your cutlery down between mouthfuls, chewing your food well, and turning off distractions such as the TV, computer or your phone."