Let’s pretend that you’re an alien coming to Earth for the first time. You have no existing knowledge of humans and someone describes this to you:
The human ingests an item that inhibits their ability to think or move. Essentially their brain and body is in a weakened state. This state lasts for around an hour.
Would you think that I am describing poison?
It does seem that way, but what I am actually describing is the common American lunch (and dinner). Somehow we have developed a culture of acceptance for this and we call it, food coma.
This phenomenon is now a three times daily occurrence and spoken of with pride, like on Thanksgiving Day we all look forward to it.
A quick Google Timeline search shows that the phrase is barely mentioned in texts until 1995, after which it explodes in print. A modern phenomenon.
Which helps for me when studying our obesity epidemic. Most of us believe that a major part of the problem is our lazy new digital culture. Sometime in the last 50 years we lost our outdoor spirit and replaced it with a lazy indoor video game, laptop habit.
But, would you still believe that if you thought about food coma as poison?
Think about it. Food is supposed to give you energy and make you smarter, stronger, healthier. It provides us with essential fats, minerals, vitamins, carbs, proteins.
Instead, many of our meals give us food coma which makes us tired, stupid, and lazy.
So there you have it.
Eat one type of meal (or over eat) and you spend the next hour in a dumb, lazy stupor. Eat another type of meal and you are full of energy, most likely participating in some active endeavor.
I have tested this on my own family. For one Thanksgiving meal I cooked using only high quality ingredients in proper portions. This included an appetizer, full meal, and dessert.
I watched in amazement as not one person retired to the couch for the NFL game on TV, which was our usual routine.
My parents went for a bike ride. My brothers walked around the whole house talking. Even my 80+ year old Grandpa went out inspecting our backyard garden.
One experiment, but I would say it’s common sense.
Eat right and three times a day you will be given a boost of energy which compels you to be more active. It will also improve your daily health, reduce your calorie intake, and reduce your risk for serious chronic conditions.
Eat poorly and your come under a food coma.
In the journal, Scientific American, Paul Li, a professor of Cognitive Science at Berkeley, states:
“(food coma) can strike anyone who pigs out on foods loaded with carbohydrates, fats or sugars.”
To which I say that everything sold in supermarkets is loaded with all three. Usually in improper portions so it can be labelled “low-fat”, “low calorie”, or “high in protein”.
Further, Professor Li’s states that the body’s response to this is:
“As food breaks down into glucose—the simplest form of sugar, which the body uses for fuel—you will experience a surge in blood sugar. To counter this spike, your body releases the hormone insulin.”
Which reminds me of the increase in diabetes we are experiencing in this country. Now, this is just an assumption since I am not a researcher or doctor, but one can easily imagine that a three times daily surge in insulin could cause lasting problems.
Now what do you think?
In my last post, Why nobody knows how to prevent obesity, I argued that we are eating the wrong type of food. This is happening because everything sold in grocery stores is bad for us. Grocery stores are the problem.
To which many folks replied that exercise and lifestyle is just as important. That we need all three (good food, exercise, and healthy lifestyles) in order to curb the obesity epidemic.
To which I reply and still stand by, it’s all about the food. That is the foundation of our existence and without it we just cannot function.