Me again. I’m sitting here on the Pediatrics floor “on call” (side note, I still get a slight thrill saying I’m on call, it sounds so official) and my attending is eating dinner near me. It smells delicious.
I could just go downstairs and get something to eat now, but I just ate about an hour ago and I know I’m not physiologically hungry…but my brain, lured by the scent of chicken tenders (why do cafeterias make the best chicken tenders? Better than restaurant ones by far), thinks I am.
Obviously when you smell food it makes you all the hungrier, but why exactly? It turns out that just anticipating food gears your body up to accept a meal. Before you even start eating, your pancreas has started secreting insulin–the hormone that allows you to pull glucose in the bloodstream inside your cells. Smelling and tasting food releases a dramatic insulin spike that wouldn’t be present if you gave someone an IV dose of glucose. So why so hungry? I’m guessing that if you wait too long between smelling food and actually eating it, that bolus of released insulin transiently lowers your blood glucose, making you a little hypoglycemic, and thus hangry (hungry + angry, which is where I’m getting now).
Now on to Ryan Seacrest: apparently, he is in the habit of satisfying dessert cravings by chewing up chocolate chip cookies, and then spitting them out. Waste of a good cookie if you ask me…but also counterproductive, if you consider the above phenomenon. The act of chewing releases insulin, preparing your body for a increase in blood glucose. When you don’t swallow, your blood glucose ends up dropping and you end up hungrier than you were before, and more likely to go to chow-town with the aforementioned cookies.
Moral of the story: cookies are good and you should eat them. Also, I’m going to end this post and go get dinner now.