When eating, we often hear some restrained girls say, “Don’t eat anymore, or the stomach will be enlarged!”
Yes, many people think that our stomach is like a low-quality balloon. If you blow it up, it will become looser and may even burst. If you don’t blow it, the rubber will age and your stomach Will gradually shrink.
Is our stomach really as fragile as a balloon? First we need to understand the structure of the stomach.
Will prolonged eating or hunger change stomach capacity?
Our stomach is a muscular organ, which means that it is a house made of muscles and has several layers of muscles.
The innermost layer of the stomach wall is a variety of gastric gland cells that can secrete gastric acid, proteases and some gastrointestinal hormones. There is an intermuscular nerve plexus between the several layers of smooth muscle in the stomach wall, which has been periodically firing impulses to maintain the contraction of the stomach wall, so that the stomach is in a state of mild contraction at ordinary times. The stomach is slightly tubular when completely empty, with a capacity of about 50 mL, and when it is highly filled, it is balloon-shaped with a capacity of up to 2L.
When we eat, the stomach will undergo receptive relaxation, which means that the volume of the stomach increases to prepare for food. At the same time, the secretion of glands in the stomach increases, emptying is delayed, and peristalsis increases, in order to keep food in the stomach. The inside is fully mixed with gastric juice to form food into chyme, which digests protein to a certain extent and prepares for the next step of absorption in the intestine. Foods with a lot of carbohydrates stay in the stomach for a shorter time, while foods with a lot of protein and fat stay longer. Mixed foods generally take 4 to 5 hours to empty the stomach. This also determines the interval between our three meals.
When the food is emptied, the stomach returns to its original shape, and the myenteric nerve plexus in the stomach wall continuously emits basic electrical impulses to maintain the stomach in a state of slight contraction.
So no matter if you are constantly eating or hungry, there is no problem of expanding or shrinking the capacity of the stomach, because the shape of the stomach is different according to whether there is food or how much food there is. Our stomach has very good elasticity.
In short, our stomach will not change due to excessive eating or hunger, but we should also try to avoid prolonged eating or hunger, and maintain a regular three meals. If you are good to the stomach, the stomach is good to you.