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After eating also much, have you ever felt choose that dude from Alien whose stomach explodes? Like somewbelow in the meat and also potatoes, a baby alien snuck in?

We all have. But, baby alien explosion aside, how a lot have the right to the humale stomach hold?

It’s tempting to equate your stomach to a balloon. Both start out tiny once empty. Both get bigger as soon as stuff goes in them. And, yes, both have actually a breaking allude.

You are watching: How many pounds of food can a stomach hold

The difference? If you blow up a balloon, press and volume have actually a solved relationship—as pressure goes up, so does volume. That connection in the stomach, though, isn’t necessarily so. That’s bereason the state of the stomach is determined not just by what you put into it. Instead, it’s mostly controlled by nerve inputs (oh, and also hormones, but it’s harder to meacertain their effect on the gut).

A relaxing, empty stomach can hold 6 and a fifty percent to just over 10 fluid ounces. That’s not also a full can of Coke.

That volume deserve to even more than double the instant you begin eating—even if you’re just salivating and also reasoning about eating. A brainstem reflex via the Vagus nerve tells the stomach, “INCOMING!” and also as the food goes dvery own the hatch, the stomach relaxes to make room.

Unlike a balloon, the rise in press from food or liquid doesn’t reason the stomach to relax and also expand. It’s all anticipatory—the outcome of your brain talking to the nerves in your stomach. This development isn’t really at all favor a balloon filling through air; it’s more prefer an unfolding. The stomach is actually covered in folds—or rugae—that unfurl as the body organ grows. But these folds have borders. A layer of nerve cells line the wall surfaces of your stomach. Once you’ve got to a point of as well many kind of sandwiches and too much cheese and also beer, those nerves sfinish a signal to your brain saying, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Hey. Hey, whoa. Sheight eating.”

So, simply how huge have the right to the stomach get? Well, store in mind, the stomach has an departure hatch. And it just takes about 10 to 15 minutes prior to all that food and also drink begins to pass via it. So, a better question can be: “Just how significant deserve to the stomach obtain in 10 to 15 minutes?” Of course, it depends on a lot of factors: age, health, eating habits, hormones … however many importantly, if you listen to what your stomach is informing you.

For the majority of human being, that “Ooof, I ate too much,” feeling kicks in after your stomach has between 16 and 50 fluid ounces. But the stomach can stretch out over time, too, particularly if you exercise over-eating and also overlook your body’s cries for help. For instance, the 2017 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating champ downed 72 hot dogs. That’s about two gallons worth of food in his stomach. Ssuggest put, your brain has the last say in exactly how much you have the right to eat.

But what you’re most likely wondering is: “Can a perfectly healthy stomach explode from eating as well much?” There have just been six recorded cases, ever before. So, pretty much: no.

See more: How To Know When Pork Is Bad, 5 Signs Your Pork Has Gone Bad

The stomach is an remarkable, wondrous point we take for granted eextremely day. Be hoswarm. How frequently execute you really listen to it? Take a minute to say many thanks. Give your belly a nice pat. Since, heck, it’s always looking out for you.