Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Feeling Stuffed on Thanksgiving

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 22, 2018

iPhone 6 screenshot showing maximum memory capacity (128GB) reached, and proportions of memory used by category

Not to worry… my iPhone’s got you beat.

It’s more stuffed than you are.

Or, more stuffed than your Thanksgiving turkey.

Or your turducken.

Seriously.

“Turducken,” is a word-blend of turkey, duck, and chicken, which is a de-boned dish of the three fowl combined, which is then cooked.

And it’s just barely Thanksgiving morning!

But that’s GigaBytes, and you’re human bites – it’s not an “apples-to-apples” comparison.

And, that’s okay, because we often compare disparate items. You know, like oranges to truck stops, or oxygen concentration ratios to seat cushions.

Anyway… the human stomach’s average capacity is about 1.5 – 2 Liters.

Maximum capacity is 3 – 4 Liters.

Put in perspective, the upper end of the maximum capacity of the human stomach is the equivalent volume of TWO 2 Liter soda bottles.

The low end of the average capacity of the human stomach is about 75% of one 2 Liter soda bottle – 1.5 Liters.

In fact, the human stomach – which essentially is a muscle sac, and when empty, is about the size of your fist – can expand to hold up to 4 Liters of food. That’s more than 50 times its empty size.

Of course, some folks’ stomachs are bigger.

Seriously.

Bigger body = bigger stomach.

And you’ve certainly heard the age-old adage “big feet, big… need big shoes.”

But, even though you, and others may be quite hungry – famished, even – this Thanksgiving, you probably won’t quite be eating like wolves… even though you may wolf your food down.

You see, after a successful hunt, a wolf pack gathers around the kill to share in the meal. Like humans, they too, “share a common table.” Eating is very much a social experience, even in the wild kingdom. Adult wolves can eat as much as 20 pounds before they retreat somewhere nearby for a nap. And then, after a short rest, they come back to finish any leftovers.

So while that may sound something like your Thanksgiving plans, it definitely has some differences.

So the thing about getting “full” is not really a mechanical thing only, per se, even though it does relate to capacity. That is, once enough food has been shoveled into the stomach, there’s not an “off switch” in the stomach that says “STOP EATING! I’M FULL!”

That “full” sense is called satiety, which, in effect, means satisfied – or more commonly, “full.” The word “satiety” stems through the French, from the Latin word “satietas,” which means abundance, sufficiency, satisfied, or fullness.

Nevertheless, the sense of fullness we get after eating is caused not as much by a physical trigger, such as with volume (think of how a toilet tank works), as much as its caused by an electro-chemical communication from our stomach to our brain. And in fact, the much-derided fats, oils, and grease, have a VERY important role in the initiation of that signal. That’s why those little “100 calorie” packs of cookies, or low-cal foods are so evil. They’re practically or entirely fat free, and so, you have to eat at least twice as much to get that full feeling.

“BUT FAT IS OUR ENEMY!,” you may exclaim.

Well… not really. Here’s why.

Number one, fat is a vitally important part of our diet, because Vitamins A, D, E, and K are the fat-soluble vitamins. And without sufficient fat in our diets, those vitamins CANNOT be utilized by our bodies. So, there’s that.

Next, fat, because it has 9 calories per gram – more than twice as calorically dense as protein or carbohydrate, which both have 4 calories per gram – is much more energy dense than either of the two (protein and carbohydrate) combined. And remember: Calories are how we measure the energy potential of food. And that’s why we eat, for energy. Of course, it helps that it tastes good, too! Otherwise, what’s the point, eh? Seriously. We do things in life for pleasure, because we’re rewarded with pleasurable feelings while, or after doing those things. And, one of those things is eating.

Another reason is because fat is an excellent source of energy,  and that’s why our bodies make and store fat.

Seriously.

So why are so many of us heavy, as in obese?

Why, because of food, of course.

But here’s the deal: It’s not all about counting calories.

Yes, while calories are a measure of the energy potential of food, the way in which those calories are used must be also part of that calculus. Here’s what I mean.

Think of a bottle rocket.

Essentially, a bottle rocket is a little self-propelled firecracker attached to a lightweight stick, which after being lit, very rapidly shoots up into the sky (maybe not even 100 feet, or so), and then may pop, or explode, and quickly falls back down to the Earth.

Light it. Stand back, and almost instantaneously, that thing is gone up quicker’n you can say “Jack Sprat!”

That’s what carbohydrates are to our bodies – like bottle rockets. Their energy is used up very quickly, almost instantly, in fact.

On the other hand, proteins, which also have 4 calories per gram, take longer to digest than carbohydrates, and thus, they “burn” longer than carbs. Think of them as a “back stick,” or “Yule log” – that big log that burns overnight – on the fireplace of your body. The fireplace represents your body’s stomach and metabolism, which is the process by and through which food is converted to energy.

Now, here’s the other thing: Fats and Proteins are “kissing cousins.” That is to say, you’ll rarely – if ever – find one outside of, or away from the other.

Bacon… has fat.
Sausage… has fat.
Chicken… has fat.
Eggs… have fat.
Salmon… has oil (which also has 9 calories per gram).
Mackerel… has oil.
Anchovies… have oil.
Sardines… have oil.
Herring… has oil
Nuts of all varieties… have oil.
Dairy – cheese, milk, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, etc. – has fat.
Beef… has fat.

All those food items listed above are proteins.

And with one very notable exception – that being soybeans which have 40-45% protein content -and- about 18% oil – all other beans are mostly carbs. The soybean is the highest protein content bean known. And as you may have noticed, they have oil.

So, see what I mean?

Fats and proteins are kissing cousins.

You’ll never find one away from the other.

Anyway, most folks understand that when we eat more than we use, our body converts the excess unused portion into a ready storable source of energy called… fat.

And so, if you feed your body carbs, they’ll be used up much more quickly, and you’ll actually end up eating more, simply because your body doesn’t get that “STOP EATING! I’M FULL!” signal that fat provides. Thus, you overeat.

Think about this: Cattle are sent to feed lots to fatten them up before being sent for slaughter. What do they eat while there?

Corn.

Not protein, not fat, but a carbohydrate.

And, this is where I stop for the time being.

We’ll pick it up shortly a bit later.

Until then, bon apetit!

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