stomach shrinkage following dieting

O. ROYCE newarktm at
Wed Jan 29 03:37:11 EST 1997

In <854518722.8599 at> clarkb at writes: 
>I once read that it is a myth that the stomach shrinks following
>dieting. The idea is that the feeling of fullness that one has
following a
>big meal is nothing but a perception that the brain uses to keep you
>eating too much. In other words, the stomach isn't really "filled up",
you just
>feel like it is. 

    It is pretty obvious.  The stomach shrinks over a period of time
when it is not swollen by too much food.  It will also increase in size
readily over a shorter period of time if overfilled.  Have you ever
noticed that
 when you overeat it is not so easy to fasten your belt.  But after a
while you have no problem unless you keep eating.

Following a period of lower food intake, the theory goes, the
>appetite regulator in the brain gets set to a lower threshold (a sort
>resetting of the biochemical thermostat in the food regulation
feedback loop).

    Probably true but very reversible.

>Could anyone confirm that this is the case and perhaps give some more
details of the mechanism? A skeptical wrestling coach doubts this
theory, but I'm sure that I did not dream up this idea.

    Consider what happens when a person has a large part of his stomach
removed during an ulcer operation.  (90% actually).  It only takes a
few weeks for the remainder of the stomach to stretch to accommodate
the same amount of food as it did before the operation.


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