Will Eating Less Really Help You Shrink Your Stomach?
If you cut back on your food intake, will your stomach actually get smaller, so you're satisfied with less food?

February 9, 2017

Photography by Unsplash

Or is it just another weight-loss ‘myth’?

We’ve all heard that ‘old wives-tales’ about how cutting kilojoules will cause your appetite to reset. That eventually, your stomach will actually shrinks, so tinier portions will fill you up.

READ MORE: 5 Foods That Will Keep You Full For Hours

If it sounds like a bit of a stretch, that’s because it kind of is, according to experts. Yes, your stomach does boast rubber band-like properties that allow it to change size. This elasticity makes it easier to get your feast on when presented with an epic spread, and it also helps us avoid starving in times of famine. (Something most modern humans don’t have to worry about. But back in our cave-people days, it was rather useful.)

As for shrinking? Your stomach can quickly snap back to normal size after a huge meal. But, FYI, it’s not going to continue to get smaller—even if you start eating less.

Think about it, if eating less was all it took to shrink the size of your stomach, it would follow that normal-weight people have smaller food pouches than people who are overweight or obese. But it’s not true, according to findings published in the journal Gastroenterology. Everyone’s stomach is pretty much the same size, regardless of how much they weigh.

READ MORE: The 6 Worst Pieces Of Weight-Loss Advice Nutritionists Have Ever Heard

If you’re still not convinced, consider this: Your body was designed to take in enough kilojoules to keep it going, even during times when there’s no food to be had. So you better believe that it’s not going to make your stomach smaller when you start rationing portions.

Let’s face it, most of us tend to feel hungrier when we slash our kilojoule intake (your body thinks it’s starving). Your system gets flooded with the hunger hormone ghrelin, making food even harder to resist. At the same time, your body temperature and metabolic rate slow down in an attempt to conserve precious energy.

It’s the science-y way of basically saying: Drastically cutting your portions not only won’t shrink your stomach—it’ll probably backfire. And if you actually managed to drop weight, you’ll probably just regain it and then some.

READ MORE: 4 Ways To Lose Weight While You Work 

Losing weight is not impossible. But in order to do it (and be successful), you need to cut back on food slowly—so your body doesn’t suddenly freak out and think that it’s starving. That means instead of embarking on a crash diet, try cutting back by just 418 or 836 kilojoules a day. It’s enough to help you lose weight slowly and sustainably, but not so much that your body mistakenly thinks that you’re depriving it of nourishment.

Looking for more weight loss tips? Here are the healthiest times to eat if you want to lose weight, plus a formula that will help keep the weight off.