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A Minute on the Lips, A Lifetime on the Hips
---How Long Does it Take for Food to Turn
into Fat?

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June 5, 2016

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
[
Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our panel of
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members
of our Editorial Board.
]




Since more than two thirds of the adult US population is
overweight or obese, it’s time to seriously look at what happens
when we overeat. And specifically, when you can expect to see
the consequences of a heavy meal on your hips? How long does it
take for the food you eat to add weight to your body? When you
overeat, when do you see those extra pounds on your thighs or
around your waist? It may be more than a minute, but scientists
say food could be turned into fat in as little as three hours.

What Happens When You Eat?

Every morsel that passes your lips, from healthy whole grains to
fat-heavy cake, is digested and metabolized by your body. But
food doesn’t automatically turn to fat.

It depends on your metabolic rate and how your body uses the
various components of the food you eat.

It takes around six to eight hours for food to go from your mouth
and through the small intestine – the digestion process.

During this process the stomach breaks down the food using
stomach acid into tiny particles that can be absorbed by the body
in the small intestine, into the bloodstream.

Dr. Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist at University
College Hospital, London says the stomach grinds the food into
particles at the rate of nearly three to four calories a minute.

Fat is also broken down in this process and absorbed through the
wall of the intestines. It is then rebuilt into fat modules called
chylomicrons, in about one hour.

Whatever is not absorbed passes into the large intestine to be
eliminated, which usually takes around 30 to 40 hours from fork
to toilet.

With the digested food safely in the bloodstream, your body
begins to use it for its own purposes. Specifically, it can use the
digested food immediately (called glycogen) or store it – in fat
cells. This is where the equation gets difficult to solve. There are
many factors that affect whether food will be used or stored, and
many factors that affect how fast this process happens.

Food Turns into Fat at Different Rates, Depending On Your Body
and Lifestyle
































It is hard to comprehensively say how long it takes for food to be
turned into stored fat in the body. It depends on your rate of
digestion, what kind of food you are eating – sugary drinks, for
example, are digested and dealt with very quickly, while meat
takes longer – and your age.

But, on average, according to David L. Katz, MD you could overeat
by 700 calories and you could have an extra one-fifth of a pound
of fat on your hips the next morning.

If you overate every day like this for five days, you would have
one extra pound of fat.

In three months, you’ll have an extra 18 pounds of fat around
your hips.

What Factors Affect Food Storage And Use?

If, for example, you are sitting down all day then when you eat
your body won’t immediately need much energy for fuel.

Therefore, more energy is likely to be stored as fat.

Insulin plays a big role in deciding how much energy from sugar
gets stored or used.

Plus, myriad other bodily processes take place that require
different amounts of energy, for example breathing, brain
function, and heartbeat.

So, if you eat a high-calorie meal, it doesn’t mean the extra
calories will be automatically deposited as fat on your thighs
within hours. Metabolism is more complex than that.

Food Turns to Fat in Just Three Hours

However, recent research has found evidence that in many cases,
the time it takes fat to reach your waistline can be extremely short
indeed.

A 2012 study from Oxford University in the UK looked at how
quickly the fat in your meal is switched into fatty tissue. And they
found that the average person could add two to three
tablespoons of fat to their waistline in as little as three hours.

Researcher Fredrik Karpe states that “after eating a meal, the first
fat from it enters the blood about an hour later. By the time 3-4
hours have passed, most of it has been incorporated into our
adipose tissue, mostly in the shorter term fat stores around our
waists.” In the study people were instructed to eat food
containing fatty acids that could be traced around the body.

But there is good news.

They found that the fatty tissue round the waist was used
primarily for
short term storage, and people needed to eat to
excess for fat to move into the fatty tissues around the thighs,
buttocks and hips, which stores it long-term.

Therefore, exercise releases the short term fat and even though it
may arrive at your waist within three hours, you can quickly burn
it off.

Bottom line here is that to lower your risk of putting on fat
around your middle, you should take a walk or move around a bit
within 3 hours of eating to burn off the calories that are waiting
in the short-term storage tanks around your waist.

High Fat Diets Affect Your Metabolism

But before you think you can simply exercise to
completely
prevent food being stored as fat, consider this.

A 2015 study from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University found that, after just five days, men eating a high fat
diet had already changed their metabolism in a negative way.

During the study, the men’s overall calorie intake remained the
same but the amount of calories from fat was changed up to 55
percent. The high fat diet changed the way muscles used the
short term fat stores in the body. Therefore, even if you are
exercising regularly, when you eat a high-fat diet your
metabolism naturally stores more food as fat.

But it is also clear that the more you exercise, the more effectively
you will burn through those short term glycogen stores and your
body will be forced to use its fat reserves. Whether your body
turns food into fat in three hours or three days, if you are
exercising to burn more calories than you take in, you will lose
weight.










































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Overeating -Causes and Tips That Help You Stop


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