Monday, September 7, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Woman?

Does your stomach actually shrink if you eat less? This is something that has been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of days since I have been experiencing a slight decrease in my desire to eat. I know that I have heard this belief repeated like folklore again and again, but I have never heard any science to back up the claim.

I investigated online and found a wide array of conflicting information. Some say that the statement is true while others claim that it is no more than a myth. The thing is though, most have no data to back up their assertions.

The viewpoint that seems to offer a sliver of credibility came from the few who expressed a somewhat middle ground way of thinking. According to the information I was able to piece together, since the stomach is an organ it is unlikely to actually shrink, although is is able to stretch if someone consumes enough food on a very regular basis. What it does do is expand and contract depending on the amount of food that is in it.

The proponents of this argument further suggest that it is simply more of a matter of getting used to a lowered food intake that people who switch to smaller portions seem to be experiencing when they report feeling less hungry. Basically, the habit of eating less results in the trigger that signals that full feeling going off sooner.

Does anyone have any further insight into this topic? I am just going off of what I was able to find on the world wide web and may very well be incorrect. I would welcome any contributions to my conclusions, whether they confirm or contradict.


  1. I don't have scientific proof to offer you...but I know that now I cannot eat nearly as much as I used to. I was able at one point, to eat an entire small pizza with 2 cans of diet pepsi and still have dessert.

    Now..2 slices of pizza and half a can of pop and I am uncomfortably full. I guess if I pushed myself I could eat past that.

    My endocrinologist told me that our stomach is like a sack. It is extremely stretchy and the more we put in it the more it stretches. It gets used to be stretched so our feelings of satiety get out of whack. When we eat less, it slowly shrinks back to normal size but can easily be stretched again at any time by over eating.

    I like that I know when to stop eating now.

  2. I find this to be true also. Maybe getting tuned in to cues better? Before I started this I would often end up feeling uncomfortably full (I eat fast, unfortunately). That rarely happens to me now.

  3. That is something I will do a post about at some point: the difference between simply being full and needing to eat until uncomfortably stuffed. Thanks for the input, you two!