6 Of Your Favorite Things That Are Secretly Making You Fat
Obesity is rampant. The devastating cocktail of fast food and sedentary lifestyle has made the western world look like a visit to the Hutt palace, and we're coming for you next Asia!
But this article isn't about junk food. You know you shouldn't crumble a bag of Oreos over your breakfast nachos. These are six seemingly innocent things that fly under the radar, and crash land right on your ass.
Your Caffeine Addiction
"Addiction" might be a tad dramatic seeing as how there isn't actually any hard evidence that caffeine is addictive, but we're willing to stake our reputation as Internet doctors that pretty much everybody reading this has had a liquid stimulant today. There are casual and hard-core caffeine users, but both can find themselves getting fatter by the day.
The casual drinkers disguise their stimulant in layers of crushed ice and whipped cream. This gets to be a problem when drinks like Starbucks' famous Frappuccino have around 500 calories per cup. Even worse, the human brain has a logical disconnect when it comes to liquid calories. That is to say, it doesn't acknowledge them at all.
So for instance, a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut has 610 calories. Therefore, your Starbucks beverage is like a little pizza transformed into a little fruity coffee with training-wheels. The difference is that the pizza will make you feel full. The Frappuccino won't.
You, as an unsatisfied, horse-faced Frappuccino-drinker.
Then you've got the hardcore caffeine users, who prefer high-energy beverages with names like Rockstar and Monster and Red Bull and many other things the drinker will never actually resemble. They may also drink black coffee or espresso. The hardcore drinker just wants the quick energy rush.
Now, while those drinks don't have the pizza-scale calories of the Starbucks drink up there, it doesn't matter because Caffeine has so many inventive methods of fattening you up that we could've named this article "6 Ways Caffeine Is Making Your Ass Resemble A Pile Of Damp Towels."
The biggest thing caffeine does is jack your stress level through the roof, which steers your metabolism straight into "Survival/Conservation" mode. While it's doing that, it also increases your appetite, which makes you seek a whole pile of comfort foods to swallow in order to cope with that stress we just mentioned. And while it's doing that, caffeine will also be running around your body fucking with your hormones and raising your cholesterol and basically just being a complete dick.
What we're trying to say is that the only reason a can of Red Bull hasn't gained sentience and murdered your entire family is because doing that probably wouldn't make you any fatter.
All that careful, thrifty shopping you're doing isn't only making you fatter, but it's also probably wasting your money. You can bulk-shop in two different ways; you can either buy a single huge unit of a foodstuff (say, an eight-gallon tub of pretzels) or you can buy a whole bunch of single-serving packages (a pallet of 48 juiceboxes.)
What you're thinking at the time of purchase: "For the price of one trip to a restaurant, I can have a year's worth of pretzels and juiceboxes!" You then cart your purchases home and immediately start devouring them at twice the rate you would if you didn't have so damn much of them (according to a survey published in the Journal of Marketing Research).
This foodthusiasm lasts for about a week, after which your insides are so clogged by juice and pretzels that every time you see their hateful forms squatting in your cabinet your throat seizes shut and your gut fills with bile. And thus it is that your smart purchase migrates its way to the back of your pantry while you go and flush out the pretzels with a cheeseburger.
This panda thinks he's laughing all the way to the bank, when in fact he is going to the emergency room (he has diabetes.)
"But Cracked," we hear you crying, "our air conditioning? You've already taken away our Red Bull! Surely keeping cool can't be making me fatter!" We thought the same thing. But, we were wrong (and fat) again.
The body has to burn energy to maintain its temperature. Make it too cold or too hot, and the body has to burn calories to adjust. But put the body in a room that's 72 degrees all the time, and those processes don't run. No energy is burned and no calories are spent.
This guy's taking it a little far, but he has the general idea.
This energy burning varies from person to person, but it's generally works out to a couple hundred calories a day, which adds up over the lazy summer months. And that's not even the whole story, according to a report published in the International Journal of Obesity, whose valiant researchers of all things pudge-related recently found a link between being hot and not eating very much. Go figure, right?
Though now that we think about it, all these researchers could probably save a lot of time and ink by just getting together and publishing one huge report entitled It's Official: Studies Confirm That Misery Takes Fat Off And Keeps It Off.
It's no secret that your friends secretly hate you. They're probably making fun of you behind your back, and having sex with your girlfriend right now. But could they be subliminally influencing your eating habits, to make you less attractive than they are? Just so they'll look thinner by comparison?
Yes. You should confront them about this immediately.
After all, science has your back. Okay, maybe they aren't actively conspiring to shove food down your unwilling gullet (though we wouldn't rule it out completely). However, in a study that the Psychological Bulletin briefly titled "Effects of the Presence of Others on Food Intake: A Normative Interpretation," it was discovered that each additional person at the dinner table means another 20% or so consumed by all present.
Think about it: assuming you actually like the people you're eating with, chances are you're going to engage in some form of pleasant conversation over the meal. A happy mind is a distracted mind, one that pays less attention to food intake and feelings of fullness.
Of course there's also the way people reinforce each others' bad behavior ("No desert for me. Unless you wanted something... okay, waiter, we're both having the bacon ice cream cake").
Since these folks are your pals, you're probably going to want to linger over your meal, get a dessert or some booze, or coffee. Three slices of stale cheesecake, a bottle of vinegary red, and 90 minutes later and you find yourself wishing for larger pants (when you should probably just wish for healthier friends.)
Remember when your mother told you to clean your plate? You know, because of those starving kids in Africa? Most of us are programmed to eat until we see the bottom of the dish.
But why are we still following Mom's advice well into adulthood? Well, basically your stomach is an idiot. It has absolutely no way of quantifying exactly how hungry you are. Your brain is the smart one, it handles the numbers and shit. Except for the little fact that your brain has no idea how hungry you are either, because your stomach, the stupid one, is pretty much completely in charge of the whole diet operation.
It takes your stomach about twenty minutes to even signal to your brain that it has received food. Having no other information to work with, your brain takes one look at the food you've piled on your plate and thinks to itself "Shit, I guess that looks about right."
Just ask Cornell Food and Brand Lab, who performed a study/prank involving bottomless soup bowls and unsuspecting restaurant patrons (the best kind!). Some diners were given regular bowls of tomato soup, while others were given bowls connected to tanks of soup which was piped invisibly into the bottom of the dish.
The diners eating from the regular bowls consumed an average of nine ounces per person, about the equivalent of a regular can of soup. Diners eating from the bottomless bowls wolfed down at least twice as much, some devouring more than a quart.
The study stops at this point, but we assume that these patrons didn't actually stop eating until soup was pouring so readily from every one of their orifices that no more could be forced in, at which point the researchers giggled and prepared to upload a video to YouTube.
Using the Internet
Yeah, yeah, we know, we can hear you now: "Holy smokes! You mean that sitting nearly motionless for hours on end isn't very good for me?! Be sure to let me know when you work out the whole 'water wet, sky blue' thing, assholes." It's more complicated than that. So quit it with the sass.
There are these neat little communiques between your stomach and your brain called "orosensory signals of satiation." They're the signals your stomach sends off when it's full to let the brain know when it's time to stop shovelling Cheetos down.
Unfortunately, orosensory signals are like anemic little schoolgirls when pitted against all the other things that constantly vie for your brain's attention, and have a nasty habit of getting shoved aside by bigger, stronger signals. Distracting signals like these clog up your brain all the time when you're doing something fun, like surfing the net.
Imagine that the cameraman is your brain. Your stomach is the guy with his hands in the air.
So you're sitting there, eating chips with one hand and moving the mouse with the other. Have you had four handfuls, or five? How full was the bag when you started? Don't ask your stomach, it's retarded. And your brain is too busy handling the sensory information provided by that .gif of the dramatic hamster to care.
So that pretty much leaves... well, no one. According to a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the damage works out to eating about fifteen percent more of your snack while distracted. You might as well have a monitor that fires little sausages into your mouth.
Uh, we're going to have to stop now. We have a patent application to fill out.
Avoid being fat and a obnoxious by reading 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science. Or find out about what most of you have in store in 6 Terrifying Things They Don't Tell You About Childbirth.