US Face Cheaper Thanksgiving Dinners and Less Christmas Presents in 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
Increasing number of Americans now deep frying their Thanksgiving turkeys Reuters

Thanksgiving 2014 will see over 300 million Americans gather together to gorge on Turkey, yams, stuffing and gravy to pay thanks for the harvest and the year past.

According to tradition, Pilgrims received the foods eaten from the Native Americans, however most of the foods involved – including Turkey – were introduced at a later date.

It is estimated that the average American will eat over 3,100 calories on Thanksgiving. However, this could actually be much higher, given the rising popularity of deep fried Thanksgiving turkey.

But what happens after families across the US have gorged themselves on round after round of turkey, vegetables and pecan pie?

The American Chemical Society has explained the processes involved in the body after overeating.

The average person's stomach can stretch to the volume of about 1 litre. When you eat a big meal, you fill your stomach to its maximum capacity, meaning it presses against the other organs.

Video: What happens when you eat too much turkey? American Chemical Society

Also, every time you swallow, you ingest a bit of air, meaning the stomach and intestines fill with gases, adding to the sensation of feeling swollen. Fizzy drinks will exacerbate this.

Heartburn is also an unwelcome side-effect of overeating. This occurs when too much hydrochloric acid is produced to aid digestion. The acid irritates the lining of the stomach and creeps up into the oesophagus.

Anti-acid tablets like Tums help neutralise this, so should probably be kept nearby in the event of overeating. However, please note this reaction produces more CO2, increasing the feeling of fullness.

The brain is also informed that the body is full and it is time to stop eating, which can then lead to the feeling of nausea.

After you finish eating, it normally takes between six and eight hours for the food to pass through the stomach and small intestine – just in time for a midnight snack.