This article was originally published on November 27, 2014.
Well, you've done it, haven't you? You gobbled up your Thanksgiving dinner, and now your stomach is taking its revenge. But, what's really causing that overly full feeling? And, why does it suck so much? Well, the latest Reactions video from the American Chemical Society is here to explain.
That full feeling actually has pretty straightforward origins: Your stomach can hold about one liter, but when it's filled with stuff, that puts pressure on it and the surrounding organs. This can be exacerbated when you've had a drink of soda or another carbonated beverage. That's because the air in your beverage fills up more space in your stomach than the liquid.
But, that might not be the only source of the uncomfortable feeling. When hydrochloric acid is released to break down your food, it can also irritate your stomach's lining and make its way into your esophagus. This irritation is what causes heartburn.
There's also a neural component: One of the jobs of the hormone and neurotransmitter leptin is to let the brain know when we're sated. Another hormone, peptide tyrosine-tyrosine, sends other signals that can make us feel a little bit sick when we've eaten a high-calorie meal. So, go ahead and eat what you want, but take a second to figure out if you really want it. Otherwise, you might not feel so great after that next bite, even if it tastes excellent.