What Happens to Your Body on Thanksgiving

2 years
What Happens to Your Body on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here again, and if you’re one of the people who uses the holiday as an excuse to stuff your face silly, we’re not judging. But we are curious about what happens to your body on Thanksgiving.

Giving into cravings —and then subsequently dozing off on the couch with your top button unfastened —is what the holidays is all about. But after the big meal enters your stomach, the situation inside is anything but serene. In fact, your entire body goes into overdrive the second you smell the holiday spread.

When You Walk Into the Kitchen-

“The second you walk into the kitchen and get a whiff of the turkey and other holiday fare, gastric fluids and other enzymes needed for digestion begin to secrete inside the stomach, priming the digestive system for the meal ahead,” explains Kaufman.


After the First Appetizer

“Once you start chewing the first bite of food, the stomach immediately begins to expand because it know more food is on the way that will need to be digested,” says Kaufman. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract also perks up a bit because it knows more food is on the way. “This prompts more digestive enzymes to release from the stomach, pancreas and the intestine,” says Kaufman. “Insulin, the hormone that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells, is also released when you begin to nosh and sugar from the food enters the bloodstream. This subsequently triggers a release of the hormone, leptin, which helps our brain register that we’re eating, and allows for more insulin secretion.” edamame-shrimp-500x366


Five Minutes Into the Meal

“Once you start digging into carb and sugar-laden dishes like mashed potatoes and stuffing, your body releases serotonin, the feel-good hormone,” explains Kaufman. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for all month: Carb-o-bliss.turkey-thanksgiving-table-500x366

Ten Minutes Into the Meal

“The serotonin then activates the reward system in the brain which tells you, ‘This tastes awesome, I’d like some more’ when you eat something delicious,” continues Kaufman. “This explains why it’s so hard to say no to Turkey Day seconds” or cheat meals.


Twenty Minutes Into the Meal

“When you start feeling full, sensory nerves in the stomach and appetite controlling hormones like ghrelin activate the satiety centers of the brain, telling you you’ve eaten enough. However, those signals are easy to ignore if others around you are still munching away or the spread looks particularly appealing” says Kaufman. Plus if you ate super fast your brain may not get the signal that you’re full until you’ve already served yourself seconds.belly-button-500x366

Five Minutes After Your Last Bite of Dessert

After your last bite of pie, “the stomach secretes enzymes and acids that help break down your meal into smaller pieces so it can eventually fit into the small intestine,” explains Moskovitz. “Starchy and water-based foods are then broken down further into liquid, but fatty foods like Grandma’s buttery mashed potatoes, stick around in the stomach because they aren’t able to break down as quickly, causing that uncomfortable, bloated feeling.”


Fifteen Minutes After Dessert

“By now all your food has made it’s way from the stomach down into the small intestine. Once it’s arrived, it signals the release of enzymes from the pancreas and gallbladder that helps to digest carbs and proteins and break the food down into amino acids and simple sugars to be absorbed into the bloodstream,” says Moskovitz.