As any experienced holiday cook will tell you, turkeys are surprisingly greasy. Now, while a little bit of turkey grease never hurt anyone, too much of it can clog up both your digestive system and your household drains. This Thanksgiving, be smart with your grease removal. Both your tummy and home will thank you.

Turkey Trouble

Paul Abrams, a spokesman for Roto Rooter, the biggest plumbing and drain cleaning service in the U.S., told Reuters that the holidays are always extra tough on house drainage. The plumbing expert explained that the number of calls over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend increase fivefold.

“The day after Thanksgiving is the perfect storm for us,” Abrams said. “We have all hands on deck.”

According to Reuters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that in 2004, grease was the cause for 47 percent of all problems. Unfortunately, this grease often overflows, with the EPA reporting that between 23,000 and 75,000 U.S. sanitary sewers overflow each year. This costs hundreds of millions of dollars to repair, Adam Krantz, managing director for government and public affairs at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, told Reuters.

If eaten, the fatty turkey grease can produce similar damage on the body, blocking up the digestive tract. The more grease you eat, the more bile and lipase your body needs to digest your food, Livestrong reported. When your grease intake is particularly high, the grease can coat the food in your stomach and intestines. Your body will need to wait until the grease has dissolved before the food can be digested. In the meantime, this may cause a backup of food in your digestive tract, which in turn can lead to indigestion.

On top of being harder to digest, greasy foods are calorie dense. Doctors warn that excess consumption of greasy food may lead to you becoming overweight or obese. This is turn will increase the risk of you developing other medical issues, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

Interestingly, Scientific American reported that there is no connection between greasy food and acne.

Be Smart About Grease

To keep a happy body and home, practice proper grease removal.

  • Remember to clean up grease with a paper towel and discard it in the garbage. If you have large quantities of grease, collect it in a container, let it congeal, and then throw the container in a trash bin.
  • Experts also advise that if you have a large amount of guests staying with you over the holidays to wait 10 minutes or so between showers to give slow drains a chance to clear.
  • Above all, it’s advised that you take care of any preliminary plumbing problems you have before the holidays — for these will surely make them worse.