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# Thread: How many calories can the body absorb at once??

1. ## How many calories can the body absorb at once??

As in....you sit down to a meal that is 4,000 calories.....you eat it all...then again 4 hours later...and again ......then again later......how much can the body take before it just spits the rest out as waste??? Will it absorb all of it then some? I know it wont be an exact count or anything...but a ballpark for the average human?

2. It will absorb all of it. The ones you don't need will be stored as fat.

3. Originally Posted by Blakkfox
As in....you sit down to a meal that is 4,000 calories.....you eat it all...then again 4 hours later...and again ......then again later......how much can the body take before it just spits the rest out as waste??? Will it absorb all of it then some? I know it wont be an exact count or anything...but a ballpark for the average human?
you're thinking of bioavailability but the caloric model already accounts for what you get rid of as waste.

its a percentage, the percentage doesnt go up as you eat more. it stays the same.

so if you eat 4000 calories, and then 4000 more calories.... your body will absorb 8000 calories.

4. If I had to guess, you're not going to saturate the body's ability to absorb nutrition like that. While there is probably a theoretical limit, I'm guessing that number is really far up there. I don't think there's going to be any reasonable way to sneak some calories past your system by eating them all at once or anything.

5. Originally Posted by sylntsniper
If I had to guess, you're not going to saturate the body's ability to absorb nutrition like that. While there is probably a theoretical limit, I'm guessing that number is really far up there. I don't think there's going to be any reasonable way to sneak some calories past your system by eating them all at once or anything.
^agree

your digestive system is not a slip and slide. it will expand for any amount of food you put into it until the blood is completely saturated, then your liver will convert excess protein / carbs to fat, store it, and then your digestive system will slowly get smaller. ever wonder why you sometimes need to loosen your belt after a big dinner?

6. The theoretical limit for 24 hour absorption is around 15,000-20,000 kcals I believe.

7. http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=124584851

^ What came to mind when I read the question.

8. Vomiting is a systemic reaction that can result from ingesting too much food of sufficient volume and caloric content. In essence, this does mean that your digestive tract and metabolism are not up to the task, and that it is purging itself from excess food. Back out the entrance is the only way this can be accomplished quickly and efficiently. However, partly undigested food can also come out the rear end if the system cannot handle it. So yes, there is an upper limit, but it would vary widely and depend on a whole host of factors. The calories given on the labels are only averages, there can be minimal variations.

9. thanks for the responses guys!

10. Off the top of my head, I'd suspect that the limiting factor for absorption would be enzymatic production. Large complex molecules aren't easily absorbed through the intestinal wall, so you need enzymes to break things down into small molecules (starches -> simple sugars, proteins -> amino acids, etc) If your pancreas (et. al) can't keep up, then much of that will simply slide right through the digestive tract. (and make excellent fodder for the 10 trillion or so bacteria living in your gut)

11. Originally Posted by Anetta22
Off the top of my head, I'd suspect that the limiting factor for absorption would be enzymatic production. Large complex molecules aren't easily absorbed through the intestinal wall, so you need enzymes to break things down into small molecules (starches -> simple sugars, proteins -> amino acids, etc) If your pancreas (et. al) can't keep up, then much of that will simply slide right through the digestive tract. (and make excellent fodder for the 10 trillion or so bacteria living in your gut)

I believe there's a limit as well. Ever drop a deuce and see that food wasn't fully digested? If it wasn't digested it wasn't absorbed. The theory that our digestive tract is a flawless machine with infinite processing capacity is laughable. If that were the case, a one day binge of 14,000 calories should see 3# weight gain overnight. If you eat at maintenance all week, except 1 day where you binge will you see a 3# gain that week? No, also highly unlikely. Clearly not a perfect processing machine.

But, you won't find an answer based on proven science on this forum. So far nobody has come up with any studies done.

While 4k at a shot doesn't seem like an issue, I'm more curious about really big numbers. Like a 3 hour binge at Hooters when you eat 10,000+ calories.

If anyone can provide some medical studies it would be pretty awesome.

12. There are a couple studies/articles linked on the Wikipedia article for Competitive Eating.

13. apparently there are cases of malabsorption that can cause steahorrea. but of course that varies upon any disease/drugs that someone is taking =)

14. I guess we need Aman88's knowledge in this.

notsrs...

15. Originally Posted by Anetta22
Off the top of my head, I'd suspect that the limiting factor for absorption would be enzymatic production. Large complex molecules aren't easily absorbed through the intestinal wall, so you need enzymes to break things down into small molecules (starches -> simple sugars, proteins -> amino acids, etc) If your pancreas (et. al) can't keep up, then much of that will simply slide right through the digestive tract. (and make excellent fodder for the 10 trillion or so bacteria living in your gut)
Originally Posted by Randy1976
I believe there's a limit as well. Ever drop a deuce and see that food wasn't fully digested? If it wasn't digested it wasn't absorbed. The theory that our digestive tract is a flawless machine with infinite processing capacity is laughable. If that were the case, a one day binge of 14,000 calories should see 3# weight gain overnight. If you eat at maintenance all week, except 1 day where you binge will you see a 3# gain that week? No, also highly unlikely. Clearly not a perfect processing machine.

But, you won't find an answer based on proven science on this forum. So far nobody has come up with any studies done.

While 4k at a shot doesn't seem like an issue, I'm more curious about really big numbers. Like a 3 hour binge at Hooters when you eat 10,000+ calories.

If anyone can provide some medical studies it would be pretty awesome.
I ate very clean for the last month and came to a stand still on my weight loss for 3 days straight (lost 31lbs in 21 days)..so I do like I do every time this happens and go wild for a day....In on day I ate 2 steak/egg biscuits (breakfast) 4 double hamburgers/fries from Mc D's (lunch) and a large pizza WHOLE for dinner with 2 ice cream sandwiches and candy bar in between all this.....the next day I weighed 6lbs more....over the next 3 days I was able to get under the weight I was stuck at (15+ trips to the restroom too...lol) So it really made me think...how much of these calories did i actually absorb during this full day binge? And how does this "reset" the body to start losing weight again.

NOOB question.....I lift 5 days a week (for about 3 months straight) but just ate like crap before...this whole month has been clean (minus the one day) and I started 1 hour of serious cardio a day (sprints till out of breathe...then after I can talk again, I sprint..repeat....30 minutes/twice a day).....also I eat 5 small times a day and take a pill called "Intensify" by NDS nutrition...... I also take 50g protein whey 2x daily...how much of this 32lbs now lost can actually be fat?

16. Originally Posted by Blakkfox
NOOB question.....I lift 5 days a week (for about 3 months straight) but just ate like crap before...this whole month has been clean (minus the one day) and I started 1 hour of serious cardio a day (sprints till out of breathe...then after I can talk again, I sprint..repeat....30 minutes/twice a day).....also I eat 5 small times a day and take a pill called "Intensify" by NDS nutrition...... I also take 50g protein whey 2x daily...how much of this 32lbs now lost can actually be fat?
I'll give you my mostly NOOB answer.....
First, we'd need to know more about your diet. Are you taking in enough protein to preserve your existing muscle mass? Are you doing low carb/ketogenic that could deplete glycogen and cause a lot of water weight to come off?

Next..... Doing mass amounts of cardio will help you burn more calories, but it isn't helpful in preserving full body muscle. Are you doing any sort of weight routine? It's easier to watch your calories consumed and lift weights, than it is to sprint for hours each week. You'll most likely be happier with the results too.

Next...... Typically people say 1lbm a week of fat, BUT at higher body fat percentage I'm sure you can lose 2-3lbm a week. Pushing it higher you'll start to lose strength(muscle). When my diet started I did 5lbm a week, and after 5 weeks I was weaker on all my lifts. It was a piss poor diet plan, based off poor advice.

From 210-196 I've lost 2lbm a week. I do cardio twice a week, and the rest comes from 5 50-75 minute weightlifting sessions. My strength is increasing, my weight is decreasing and I feel healthier. I also eat 2100 calories a day now, vice the 900 I ate to lose 5lbm a week.

I'd suggest keep track of your macro's, aim for that 2-3# loss a week. As your body fat drops aim for a 2# a week loss, and later when you get down to 15%(?) aim for 1lbm a week loss.

But, I could also be completely wrong.

17. I don't think the body can absorb
All of it , 14000 cals are like more than 3 pounds , I dnt think the body would make that in under 24 hours
Makes me wonder

18. Originally Posted by Randy1976
I'll give you my mostly NOOB answer.....
First, we'd need to know more about your diet. Are you taking in enough protein to preserve your existing muscle mass? Are you doing low carb/ketogenic that could deplete glycogen and cause a lot of water weight to come off?

Next..... Doing mass amounts of cardio will help you burn more calories, but it isn't helpful in preserving full body muscle. Are you doing any sort of weight routine? It's easier to watch your calories consumed and lift weights, than it is to sprint for hours each week. You'll most likely be happier with the results too.

Next...... Typically people say 1lbm a week of fat, BUT at higher body fat percentage I'm sure you can lose 2-3lbm a week. Pushing it higher you'll start to lose strength(muscle). When my diet started I did 5lbm a week, and after 5 weeks I was weaker on all my lifts. It was a piss poor diet plan, based off poor advice.

From 210-196 I've lost 2lbm a week. I do cardio twice a week, and the rest comes from 5 50-75 minute weightlifting sessions. My strength is increasing, my weight is decreasing and I feel healthier. I also eat 2100 calories a day now, vice the 900 I ate to lose 5lbm a week.

I'd suggest keep track of your macro's, aim for that 2-3# loss a week. As your body fat drops aim for a 2# a week loss, and later when you get down to 15%(?) aim for 1lbm a week loss.

But, I could also be completely wrong.
everyday goes like this....6am cardio...30 minutes with sprints...breakfast 4 whole eggs 50g whey...9am...snacks consisting of one of these...almonds/grapes/banannas/...lunch 1 skinless chicken breast.....2:30-3 snack 4:30 weight lifting 5 days a week...for about 1-1.5 hours depending then 50g whey.....dinner...two chicken breast (skinless) green beans/corn ...pretty much the same food everyday..and I try not to eat any carbs after 7pm....Im 6ft 259lbs as of this morning...started at 291lbs the beginning of this month....starting the first is when I started eating better and cardio...been lifting for a few months....Im not a small guy...max on bench is 365lbs...squat is 525......since Ive started my cut Ive dropped weight and increased reps during every day no matter the body part....

19. Originally Posted by stuffs
http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=124584851

^ What came to mind when I read the question.
Thank you for posting this. I laughed so hard when the dude was making fun of the other dude for his huge head to waist ratio.

Also, everyone is saying there is almost no limit to how much one can absorb in one meal... does that mean you can drink 200g of protein in the morning and be done with it? In my experience of eating/drinking too much protein, I just get diahreea, sp.

20. Originally Posted by johnross456
I laughed so hard when the dude was making fun of the other dude for his huge head to waist ratio.

Also, everyone is saying there is almost no limit to how much one can absorb in one meal... does that mean you can drink 200g of protein in the morning and be done with it? In my experience of eating/drinking too much protein, I just get diahreea, sp.
My head is pretty massive in comparison to my body

Anyhow, your body doesn't just instantly absorb things. So many people tend to ignore digestion rates and they don't have a clue as to what those rates are. I've asked numerous times what the digestion rates were for X individual on Y diet with Z activity. That's the simpler, crappy formula anyhow.

21. Originally Posted by th3pwn3r
My head is pretty massive in comparison to my body

Anyhow, your body doesn't just instantly absorb things. So many people tend to ignore digestion rates and they don't have a clue as to what those rates are. I've asked numerous times what the digestion rates were for X individual on Y diet with Z activity. That's the simpler, crappy formula anyhow.
You mean If I ate 12000 cal a
Meal that could take more than 24 hours to get absorbed ?
So if I ate 30000 cals , that could be absorbed or digested on three days ?

22. Originally Posted by th3pwn3r
My head is pretty massive in comparison to my body

23. i count calories correctly, weigh things, etc.... i consumed about 12,000 calories in one day, didnt set me back more than half a pound over the week.

24. Originally Posted by Serpentarius
i count calories correctly, weigh things, etc.... i consumed about 12,000 calories in one day, didnt set me back more than half a pound over the week.
I've had very similar experiences. There is a theoretical limit to how much your body can sock away as fat.

Haha, the only solution is to get a bigger body. Amirite?Imrite.

26. Originally Posted by th3pwn3r
Haha, the only solution is to get a bigger body. Amirite?Imrite.
Having a big head is a good thing, nearly everybody in showbiz (on the performing side) has a big head. Looks better on camera/onstage.

Or maybe I just tell myself this because I can't wear hats on account of my massive irish melonhead.

27. Originally Posted by nlite2000
Having a big head is a good thing, nearly everybody in showbiz (on the performing side) has a big head. Looks better on camera/onstage.

Or maybe I just tell myself this because I can't wear hats on account of my massive irish melonhead.
Haha, never heard that it looks better on camera or on stage before. I blame-

There were countless times where I'd chew all of the gum in the package all at once. Sometimes I think I even opted for two bags of chew. BRB, lawsuit pending for my over-sized melon.

28. Originally Posted by Serpentarius
i count calories correctly, weigh things, etc.... i consumed about 12,000 calories in one day, didnt set me back more than half a pound over the week.
Originally Posted by msm00b
I've had very similar experiences. There is a theoretical limit to how much your body can sock away as fat.
Thanks a lot for posting your experiences.

It would only make sense there's a limit.

29. Originally Posted by Randy1976
Thanks a lot for posting your experiences.

It would only make sense there's a limit.
Well, perhaps you could max out your fat cells BUT when that happens you gain new fat cells. That being said, the more fat cells you have the more efficient your body most likely becomes at storing fat. Fat cells shrink but they're still there. I need to read up on this junk a bit more me thinks.

30. Originally Posted by Blakkfox
everyday goes like this....6am cardio...30 minutes with sprints...breakfast 4 whole eggs 50g whey...9am...snacks consisting of one of these...almonds/grapes/banannas/...lunch 1 skinless chicken breast.....2:30-3 snack 4:30 weight lifting 5 days a week...for about 1-1.5 hours depending then 50g whey.....dinner...two chicken breast (skinless) green beans/corn ...pretty much the same food everyday..and I try not to eat any carbs after 7pm....Im 6ft 259lbs as of this morning...started at 291lbs the beginning of this month....starting the first is when I started eating better and cardio...been lifting for a few months....Im not a small guy...max on bench is 365lbs...squat is 525......since Ive started my cut Ive dropped weight and increased reps during every day no matter the body part....
Most (not all) people will want to know your macros (ie. how many grams of protein/fat/carbs) you eat each day.

Also a lot of people will say to try to keep your weight the same, and if necessary lower the sets/reps...... but, you're losing weight and if you're happy with your performance and it feels right to you, then keep it up.

I know when I felt my strength dropping I decided it was time to re-do my diet plan. I'd rather lose a little slower and have the strength I need to keep it off when I'm done.

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