What if you ate so much on Thanksgiving that you felt like you were going to burst—and then you actually did? How much food would it really take?

Well, as luck would have it, Mary Roach, the author of Spook, Bonk, and Packing for Mars, explored the topic in an essay for Salon in 1999 called "Unhappy Meal" that's worth revisiting in anticipation of our most gluttonous holiday. In it, she reports that our stomachs appear to have a capacity of about a gallon and in looking at old medical literature, she finds that there are only a couple of instances when you're at risk.

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