Can you eat so much food that your body can't process it all?

Is it possible to eat so much food that some is not processed as food, and just goes through you? Are there medical conditions that cause this?

Yes…it is commonly refered to as “taking a shit”.

This deserves a better answer.

If you eat so much as to cause gastric distress, and your body responds by pushing food along (or up) because to much was ingested…then by speeding up the process, some nutrients/water/calories/etc won’t be absorbed. Of course, the tell tale sign of this happening is usually “the runs” and/or abdominal cramping from the digestive system pushing food along - the contractions hurt.

Chances are you will respond by taking a pink product that stops the indegestion and slows the digestion (stopping the runs), in which case the digestive system will absorb the cals/nutrients/water/etc.

So, unless you live with the runs, or like puking, and don’t take anit-diarheal meds, you might pass some food without the cals/nutrients/water/etc being abosrbed.

let’s Eat!!

Yes, but what about sweetcorn?

I think what happens is not that you “overfill” but rather your stomach ruptures… and a stomach rupture is always fatal, I think.

The good news is that there have only been a few cases of death by overeating. I believe most of these cases involve bulimics–bulimics are particularly suspectible because their stomach and esophagus linings are already weakened by purging.

  1. I don’t think that a stomach rupture is necessarily fatal, but IMNAMd.

  2. Didn’t the Mythbuster guys disprove this theory?

Foods contain parts that can’t be used, and are passed as waste. Corn happens to contain a large portion that can’t be used/digested and is passed as waste. Their are sugars/cals in corn that are digested and used by the body.

As to the ‘disease’ question: I believe Crohn’s disease would be an example where the digestive system pushes out food. When the bowels puhs out food too fast, their isn’t time to absorb nutrients and water, resulting in dehyrdation, malnourishment and nasty bathroom visits.

Ah, and I found a site to cite:
Nutritional complications are common in Crohn’s disease. Deficiencies of proteins, calories, and vitamins are well documented in Crohn’s disease. These deficiencies may be caused by inadequate dietary intake, intestinal loss of protein, or poor absorption (malabsorption).

Good… no worries whenever I go to Ryan’s, then :slight_smile:

How would they disprove this? By having volunteers eat until it either got pushed out of the rectum or until their stomach ruptured? :eek:

No, they disproved the “cola + pop rocks = instant death via stomach explosion” theory. It was very, very messy, but far less… icky than the “you can’t get the smell of a rotting body out of a car” one.

Gastric rupture, while uncommon, is fatal more often than not if not surgically repaired. The contents of the stomach leak out into the abdominal cavity, causing a nasty peritonitis, which has a tendency to lead to death if not corrected.

Overeating in unlikely to cause gastric rupture.

If too much food is ingested, frequently what passes out the far end is much more like undigested food than stool.


I don’t know if it needs to be said, but I’ll say it anyway. In regard to the OP – yes, there’s a condition where you don’t use all the food you eat – it’s called “living”. We’re not 100% at using all the food we ingest. Nor, AFAIK, is nything else. I suspect that this is what Mr. Smith meant with his quick and pithy reply. It’s not just indigestible stuff that passes through you – there’s a lot of undigested material as well.

You don’t use up all the free oxygen in every breath, either. Exhaled air has a reduced oxygen content, but there’s still a lot there.