New Delhi: If you cannot resist the sweets kept in your refrigerator and crave for food even after a sumptuous meal, you could be a victim of overeating, warn health experts. Stress, long hours of starvation and the wide variety of food options available in the market contribute to overeating, they say.
Listing the various reasons that lead to overeating, dietitian Akshita Aggarwal told IANS: "Usually, when people feel emotional, stressed, are under any trauma or have any discomfort, they tend to eat a lot."
She added that sometimes people overeat when there is a long gap between two meals.
"Some people eat more to feel better and overcome trauma," Aggarwal added.
Agreed Divya Choudhary, chief dietitian, Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.
"Apart from overeating, stress can also cause under-eating. Under eating leads to hair fall, calcium deficiency, less immunity, lack of glow on the face and anemia," Choudhary added.
However, Pawan Sethi, nutritionist at Dr. Rachna's Diet in Mansarovar Garden, said that the percentage of people who eat when stressed is lower.
"Rather, people these days earn well and have more affordable food options to select from. Also, the number of outings have increased where they end up eating more junk which leads to their being overweight," added Sethi.
Experts add that skipping or having a late breakfast is also a reason for being overweight.
"These days, people leave for work early and by the time they have their food, it gets late. Since they have not eaten a proper meal, they are extremely hungry and end up eating anything which comes in front of them," Choudhary told IANS.
Aggarwal said that the few symptoms associated with overeating include "eating more rapidly than normal, depression or mood swings, abnormal eating patterns, history of weight fluctuations, unsuccessful diets and obesity".
"The main effect of overeating is overweight, which can further lead to various medical complications," concurred Choudhary.
"Apart from weight gain, overeating can also lead to increase in the percentage of fat, indigestion, and loose motions. Harmonal imbalance usually seen in females gives rise to irregular menstruation, facial growth, hair fall and PCOS," Aggarwal told IANS.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder which affects women of reproductive age. Those affected suffer from numerous cysts located along the outer edge of each ovary.
"It is very important for women with PCOS to keep a tab on their weight as the condition leads to further medical complications," added Choudhary.
She added that though there is no particular age for a person to suffer from the condition, it can even start from a very young age.
"The condition is usually seen in youngsters as they eat more junk food, but even elders suffer from the same problem," said Sethi.
If compulsive overeating, characterized by excessive food consumption, is not treated it can lead to diseases like obesity, diabetics, heart disease, hypertension, depression, kidney disease and high cholesterol, said Aggarwal.