The gastrocolic reflex is a reflex in which the act of eating stimulates movement in the gastrointestinal tract. Eating large meals or foods with high fat content can increase the stimulation of this reflex and result in stronger intestinal contractions.
Keeping the gastrocolic reflex in mind when you eat can be helpful if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If your IBS is diarrhea-predominant IBS, you will want to eat smaller meals and low-fat foods to avoid strengthening gut contractions. If you suffer from constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C), you may be able to encourage a bowel movements, particularly in the morning, by eating a large meal with some fat content.