Curing Our Super-Sized Food Hangover

Excessive eats during the big game can leave us feeling like we've been sacked

by Carleen Wild | Updated 08 Feb 2016 at 7:53 AM

A lot of us may be feeling sluggish this morning. We’ve got a horrible pain down deep in our gut, and we’d rather just go back to bed.

We’re not talking about those of us in great agony because our favored team lost the Super Bowl.

No, that nagging pain that just won’t go away happens to be our GI tract in revolt a day after we went all out on that heavy, fat-laden, cheese-covered, hot-sauced or thick crusted piece of pizza, wings or other food served during the big game. That, along with the likely mix of beverages we consumed, would have any of us reaching for some Tums.

The problem is, we don’t eat like this only on big game days. We eat some of these foods routinely each week, and that could be causing some long-term damage to our bodies. Foods that are high in fat and high in calories pack on the pounds and put us at risk for a host of obesity-related and digestive tract diseases.

While they may be fun to eat and taste great as we scarf them down, the following four foods might be worth cutting back on or avoiding altogether if we care about our health:

Anything fried. Fried food is so good, isn't it? Just the smell is enough sometimes to send us scurrying toward the nearest fast-food counter or ordering an extra appetizer of cheese balls and fried pickles. The trouble is, fried foods often produce a substance called "acrylic acid" that we simply cannot digest.

Leah Cahill led a large, long-term Harvard study on the impact of consuming large amounts of fried foods. Her team found that people who ate fried foods at least once a week had a greater risk of both Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The risk increased as the frequency of fried food consumption increased. Anyone suffering from gastroenteritis should avoid eating fried food.

Spicy food. The hotter the better, right? Well, maybe. If the heat you're pouring on your wings or loaded nachos leaves you lying in bed at night with stomach cramps, it's time to try something new. Capsaicin, a bioactive ingredient in chili peppers, is a likely culprit when it comes to spicy foods being an irritant. The ingredient has been known to cause gastritis, stomach ulcers, acid reflux, and even damage to the lining in the stomach. Spicy foods have also been known to trigger incontinence.

But everything in moderation, right? There are some benefits to these fiery eats. Capsaicin is said to stimulate weight loss, can help fight infection, and can stimulate the kidneys, lungs and heart. MedlinePlus suggests you eat slowly, avoid stressful situations when you eat, and take an antacid before or after you eat if you're hooked on heat.

Raw onions. Health experts say cooked onions help prevent the gastric and intestinal discomforts that often come with eating onions. However, both raw and cooked onions can hurt the stomach and intestines.

Onions are carb rich and some of us don't have the enzymes to break them down properly. Chives or the green part of a scallion are easy substitutes if you just have to have that flavor.

Beans. Beans contain oligose, which, after it's fermented by the bacteria in the intestinal tract, can produce gas and the symptoms that go along with it. Stomach ache and abdominal dissension are two common ailments. Anyone suffering from peptic ulcer and acute gastritis should avoid eating beans routinely.

If you do eat them, make sure to drink enough water to digest the fibers. It may be worth it, as there are incredible health benefits to beans. They're rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. And they make for a mean batch of game-day chili.

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