Donuts and the Brain

Yesterday turned out to be a memorable day.

We were out later than usual and thought we would get a bite to eat somewhere before we headed home  We ended up in Dunkin’ Donuts and my battle with the ghrelins began..

In The Idiot Brain, Dean Burnett writes —

”Have you noticed how you always have ‘room for dessert’? You might have just eaten....enough cheesy pasta to sink a gondola, but you can manage that fudge brownie or triple-scoop ice-cream sundae. Why? How? If your stomach is full, how is eating more even physically possible? It’s largely because your brain makes an executive decision and decides that, no, you still have room....the brain....overrules the stomach.” Apparently, it is not certain exactly why this happens but one theory is that the peptide ghrelin plays a role owing to the fact that it stimulates appetite. 

i have no doubt that i have a massive ghrelin factory inside me that has been turning out the stuff non-stop in ever-increasing quantity since 1967 !!

So, yesterday — at Dunkin’ Donuts, the ghrelins got into hyper-action as i was standing at the counter wondering if i should have two or three burgers (the kind that has hash browns in it ) and 4 doughnuts or more doughtnuts and less burgers....and maybe pack some to eat during the drive back….

Two things happened. (1) the wife suggests that we share 1 burger and 1 doughnut (i am serious) and (2) i started to think of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, where the learned Professor details 64 rules on healthy (and enjoyable) eating. There are all kinds of recommendations here such as ”Eat only foods that will eventually rot....Avoid foods that have more than 5 ingredients....Avoid foods that contain ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce....”

After he sets out 43 Rules, the sheer gravity of the food-problem some of us face hits him, and he writes Rule 44 (i think the most important two words in his book) — ”Eat less.” 

i started to wonder why it took Michael 43 Rules and many pages to get to the heart of the matter — and in all that thinking, the ghrelins somehow got distracted — and i ended up sharing a burger and a doughnut  

As I said, a significant day for me — spending time at a Dunkin’ Donuts and  walking out unstuffed !