Come the Holidays, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’ve eaten so much that you’re about to burst. But has that ever actually happened? Is it really possible to eat yourself to death?
When we eat a whole bunch of food, our bodies have a couple ways of dealing with it: we can either digest it, or in extreme cases it can come back up. Our bodies seem to be engineered to prevent our stomachs from bursting, but believe it or not it has happened in the past. According to NBC News, a 49 year-old man dies in 2003 after his stomach ruptured due to eating a big meal, and the same thing appeared to happen to someone in 1991.
These instances are extremely rare, however, and tend to be limited to people with conditions where their natural upchuck reflex has been overridden. The stomach can generally handle between one and one and a half liters of food, and the gag reflex will kick in after about three liters. Most cases of stomach rupture have occurred after at least five liters of food have been consumed, which is just about impossible for the vast majority of people to achieve, even Adam Richman.
So in short, yes, it is possible to eat until your stomach ruptures. But your body’s natural defenses will most likely kick in long before that occurs.