Body responds 'remarkably well' to overeating pizza - study

The study asked participants to eat pizza until they 'could not eat another bite'.
The study asked participants to eat pizza until they 'could not eat another bite'. Photo credit: Getty

A new study has found that the body responds "remarkably well" to the overindulgence of pizza.

It found that healthy humans can eat twice as much as they need to feel "full" with no immediate effects of losing metabolic control.

Researchers with the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism at the University of Bath trialled two groups of men to test their responses to overeating. One on occasion, participants were asked to eat pizza until they were comfortably full, on the other, participants were asked to eat until they "could not eat another bite".

They found the young, healthy men (aged 22-37) who consumed twice as much pizza as usual managed to keep the amount of nutrients in the bloodstream within normal range.

Lead researcher Aaron Hengist said that though there is known to be long-term risks with over-eating high-calorie foods, there are no immediate short-term negative effects.

"We all know the long-term risks of over indulgence with food when it comes to obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but we know much less about some of the immediate effects 'all you can eat places on the body."

"Our findings show that the body actually copes remarkably well when faced with a massive and sudden calorie excess. 

"Healthy humans can eat twice as much as 'full' and deal effectively with this huge initial energy surplus."

Participants ate on average 3000 kcal of pizza in one sitting, roughly one-and-a-half large pizzas. Some individuals consumed up to two-and-a-half large pizzas, until they couldn't eat any more.

The results looked at the metabolic, endocrine, appetite and mood responses to the consumption of pizza.

After eating until they 'could not eat another bite': 

  • blood sugar (glucose) levels were no higher than after a normal meal

  • the amount of insulin in the blood was 50 percent higher than normal (this hormone is released by the body to control blood sugar levels)

  • blood lipids (triglycerides and non-esterified fatty acids) were only slightly higher, despite consuming twice as much fat


  • participants felt sleepy / lethargic
  • participants reported no desire to eat anything else four hours after the trial, including sweet foods.

Prof James Betts, who oversaw the work, said that our bodies are able to "efficiently" store the dietary nutrients of the huge meal and that there are "no immediate negative consequences" in terms of losing metabolic control.

"The main problem with overeating is that it adds more stored energy to our bodies (in the form of fat), which can culminate in obesity if you overeat day after day".

The research was published in the British Journal of Nutrition