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by Justin Bohager
Large meals are hard to avoid, especially around holidays and special events. Surrounded by our families and friends, it may feel nearly impossible to say no to seconds or thirds. The food may be delicious, but the digestive discomfort, followed by occasional gas and bloating, is less than desirable and all too common. In fact, digestive distress has been reported to affect over 95 million Americans.i
Why is it that we experience distress after we overeat? The answer may be found, not only in the content of our meal, but also in the size of the meal we consumed. When we overeat, maybe after going back for second or third helpings, the sheer size of the meal may overfill our stomach and cause it to stretch. Similar to a balloon that’s been filled with too much air; our stomach (when overfilled) may grow larger and stretch thinner than normal.
Now, our stomach acid cannot cover and break down the food in the stomach as fast as it normally could.
Another problem may be that the demand for digestive enzymes cannot be met. Digestive enzymes are the most effective tools made by the body to aid digestion. When there is an insufficient quantity of digestive enzymes present in the body to handle the size of the meal we just consumed, some undigested food may pass into the large intestine. Here, in the large intestine, it will be fermented and acted upon by our own inherent bacteria and intestinal flora, producing the gas and bloating we associate with occasional digestive discomfort.
However, the addition of supplemental digestive enzymes can be our support during those times we give in to large meals. When taken with the first bite of our meal, these supplemental digestive enzymes can be our body’s digestive reinforcements and aid the enzymes already present and produced in our body in breaking down and assimilating our food. This added support may aid in the reduction of digestive discomfort brought on by occasional gas and bloating.*i The American College of Gastroenterology. "Understanding GI Bleeding: A Consumer Education Brochure." The American College of Gastroenterology. Web. 12 Dec 2013. <http://www.utmb.edu/internalmedicine/pdf/gastroenterology/patient_info/UnderstandGIBleed.pdf>.