Why You Feel Hungover After You Eat Junk Food

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
As delicious as junk food is, it’s no secret that eating too much of it can leave you feeling like you have a food hangover. Why must we pay for this deliciousness with headaches and bloated bellies? Gutbliss author Robynne Chutkan, MD, explained to Shape that “A food hangover is your body giving you feedback. Your gut is basically communicating to your brain, sending it a warning signal about what you just ate.”

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It’s a good thing the body does this: “If that didn’t happen, we’d all be devouring Doritos and hamburgers every day. And, that's bad news — not just for your weight, but for the health of your entire body,” Dr. Chutkan explains.

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Junk food ingredients such as salt and fat are what trigger hangover-like symptoms. Salt is dehydrating, which can cause a headache and leave you feeling bloated from water retention. Additionally, as Shape explains, “fat takes a long time to digest, so the fries you ate last night may still be hanging out in your stomach this morning — another recipe for bloating, and acid reflux to boot.” To cap it off, when you eat a lot in a single sitting, your body reroutes blood from your brain to your GI tract, which leaves you feeling foggy and tired.

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It’s important to note, however, that every body is different. You may find that some junk foods make you feel better or worse than others. The key is moderation.

Click through to Shape for more information. (Shape)
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