Monday, May 2, 2011

My Addiction: The Food Coma

My stepbrother and I love to go out to eat in the cities.  We don't just go out to eat for the quality of food though, we also go out for quantity. We set out for the half off app's during happy hours and eat to our heart's content.  And then we eat some more after that. After a night of gluttony, we drag ourselves to the car and sit down while making over-exaggerated "uuuuugggggghhhhhhh" noises.

The drive back is usually spent in a trance-like silence with my "Sir Mix A Lot" Pandora station playing in the background. We stare at the road with glazed over eyes, digesting the massive amounts of food we have just ingested. This is my food coma.  This is my drug. 

The food coma is scientifically referred to as postprandial somnolence and is partly the massive activation of the parasympathetic nervous system in response to eating large amounts of food.  The great thing about it is that the more you eat, the larger the activation.  Also, when ingesting food with a high level of glucose, your body begins pumping insulin into your body to keep your blood-glucose levels stable.  When insulin is introduced to the body, it inadvertently increases the levels of tryptophan in your blood stream.  This causes the tryptophan to be taken into the brain and be converted into Serotonin and Melatonin.  What are Serotonin and Melatonin you ask?  These two chemicals are why I call the food coma my drug.  

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is manipulated when you take LSD, most psychedelic drugs, and booze.  Now I'm not saying that I start tripping when I eat all that food since the increase is relatively small, but this is why the food coma feels soooooo good.  It's the happy neurotransmitter, and eating a lot inadvertently makes more of it. 

Melatonin is the neurotransmitter that plays a large part in the regulation of your internal clock and sends signals to the SCN, which tells you when to sleep.  So larger doses of Melatonin cause you to become drowsy and sleepy sooner. 

So to all you rebellious teenagers who are looking for the next fix, try food!  It's safe, clean, and has no risk of inspiring you create a rock album.  Your friends won't have to listen to you go on about how the government is hiding cars that run on water, oh and I guess you wont melt your brain either.  You may get fat though (Dion 87).  

Citation: Dion, Sean.  "I'm Fat and Sassy."  Summer of 2007-Present

**SIDE NOTE: Now I know what you are all thinking: Wait, isn't that tryptophagum or whatever that junk in turkey?  Yes, it is.  It is also found in higher concentrations in pork, soybeans, sun flower seeds, and chicken than in turkey.  People just assumed that since tryptophan was found in trukey, and people only eat turkey on thanksgiving (which is total bogus by the way, turkey needs to be eaten year round), this stuff caused people to be tired.  More accurately, Thanksgiving is actually National Food Coma Day.