This is your body. This is your body on sweets.

  1. This is your body. This is your body on sweets.

    By STEPHANIE EARLS
    Albany Times Union

    ALBANY, N.Y. - This is about a boring office party and a fleeting romance between a woman and a cookie.

    Let's call the woman "Laura," and let's say she meets her cookie while trying to ignore a tedious co-worker.

    Laura chooses her cookie carefully — bypassing the shapeless mounds of peanut-buttery confections and the sprinkle-topped sugar cookies. Laura goes for America's favorite, a perfect mix of butter, sugar, eggs and flour infused with semisweet chocolate, weighing in at a total of 130 calories.

    This is where our love story begins: with a first bite. What ensues is a complex physiological response to these ingredients that Laura, blinded by love and skin, will never see.

    Chewing releases the flavors that are picked up by a portion of the 10,000 taste buds in Laura's mouth. Instantaneously, messages shoot to Laura's thalamus, triggering a neon sign in the primary gustatory cortex — Cookie good! More!

    Meanwhile, the endogenous opiates, or endorphins, in Laura's brain celebrate the arrival of good pals — sugar and fat.

    Laura feels a little giddy. She thinks she might be able to stand a few more minutes of her co-worker's dull diatribe.

    Laura doesn't know it, but she's exhibiting the same behavior that rats did during an experiment conducted about 20 years ago. The tails of test rats were set over a heat source. Researchers observed that the rats that were fed a high-sugar, high-fat meal were more tolerant of the heat.

    Back in Laura's mouth, saliva already has begun the digestion process and escorts the ground-down food particles to the stomach.

    Within a half-hour or so, the cookie (which doesn't look much like a cookie anymore) has mixed with stomach and digestive juices and moved into her small intestines, where the body begins absorption.

    The 18 grams of carbohydrates are broken down first. Insulin, dispatched from the pancreas, turns the carbs into glucose, the body's main fuel, which is absorbed through the capillaries into the bloodstream, pounding through Laura's system like a marching band, upping her blood sugar and delivering energy.

    Last, bile from the gallbladder travels in to help break down the fat, which, though it comprises just 6 grams of Laura's cookie, accounts for a third of its calories. Like most bodies, Laura's body is relatively efficient at dispersing the fat from a few cookies here and there, but constant indulgence would translate into fat being deposited in her body as adipose tissue or — shudder — in her arteries.

    Now, let us go back to the brain, where our chocolate has been busy.

    Lucky, too, the chocolate in Laura's cookie is dark chocolate, about 70 percent cocoa, which contains a trace of caffeine and a dose of antioxidants. The antioxidants enter Laura's blood, where they begin trolling for free radicals, which are sort of like the body's termites, eating away at the cell structure. (Laura doesn't know much about free radicals and oxidation, except that they have something to do with aging).

    Free radicals latch onto antioxidants like, say, groupies to a rock star, and are then escorted offstage through its varied means of evacuation (Laura's poor free radicals will no doubt wake up alone, feeling used, at a bus station or on the couch in a strange motel room).

    Dark chocolate also contains chemicals called anandamides, which in the brain evoke similar feelings as marijuana (Laura wouldn't know, as she didn't inhale).

    About an hour after Laura's first bite, her co-worker is still blathering and any effects of her cookie are long gone. Now she finds herself craving more of that rat-tail sugar mojo, but she, of course, cannot articulate this (mostly because she cannot get a word in edgewise). She wants to scream or cry or leave.

    Instead, she reaches for another cookie.

    This is your body. This is your body on sweets. | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
     
  2. haha That was interesting and gross all at once. :smile:
     
  3. ^LOL yup!!!

    D^%^$*#* cookies!! Why do they have to taste so good!??!!
     
  4. i have a feeling that wasn't supposed to make me crave cookies...
     
  5. ^ HAHAHA I know right... when I watch shows like biggest loser, I always get hungry??! Baddd body response!
     
  6. i remember watching 'super size me' and craving mcdonald's like nothing else...
    and considering i NEVER eat mcdonald's, that was weird.
     
  7. Great article!!!

    My best friend eats almost nothing but sugared goodness, cookies, candies, brownies, icecream, eggnog lattes, etc and is TINY.

    I couldn't do it. My body rudely craves fish and fruits and veggies :graucho:
     
  8. Ha ha...this article just gave me another excuse to justify eating chocolate: "I am fighting off free radicals!"
     
  9. What an interesting article, but I also had a weird response: why am I craving ice cream?!?
     
  10. ..totally craving cookies! haha... sorta like when watching Super Size Me... all I wanted to do was leave and get a Big Mac and I almost NEVER eat MacDonald's!