Overeating has been found to impair blood sugar (glucose) control and insulin levels but a new study suggests that the duration of a bout of overeating can affect how the body adapts to glucose and insulin processing when calorie intake increases.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes have increased significantly worldwide within the past 30 years.
Lifestyle factors such as overindulging in high-calorie foods play a large role in the development of these two serious health conditions.
For the study, researchers from Deakin University in Australia studied a small group of healthy and lean men with an average age of 22.
Volunteers participated in a short-term trial consisting of five days — indicative of humans overeating during festivals and holidays — and a long-term model of chronic overeating lasting 28 days.
The “overfeeding” portion of the diet included high-calorie snacks such as chocolate, meal replacement drinks and potato chips to add approximately 1,000 more calories to the men’s normal food consumption each day.
Published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, the study suggests that “early adaptations in response to carbohydrate over-feeding are directed at increasing glucose disposal in order to maintain whole-body insulin sensitivity”.
“Long-term overindulgence in fatty foods, instead of more nutritionally balanced foods, may be an important factor that causes rapid changes in blood sugar control,” the study added.