Breaking News
March 23, 2019 - Seeing through a robot’s eyes helps those with profound motor impairments
March 23, 2019 - Recent research shows that ease of breastfeeding after C-section differs culturally
March 23, 2019 - Newly discovered parameters offer more control over efficient release of drugs
March 23, 2019 - ‘De-tabooing’ of abortion- Women would like more support from health care community
March 23, 2019 - Anti-TB drugs can increase susceptibility to Mtb reinfection
March 23, 2019 - New survey indicates need of attention to neglected tropical diseases
March 23, 2019 - Innovative in vitro method to develop easy-to-swallow medicine for children and older people
March 23, 2019 - Sugary drinks could raise risk of early deaths finds study
March 23, 2019 - Lian wins ENGINE grant for stem-cell-based therapy to treat Type 1 diabetes
March 23, 2019 - Overall, Physicians Are Happy and Enjoy Their Lives
March 23, 2019 - Researchers discover how blood vessels protect the brain during inflammation
March 23, 2019 - CDC study shows modest improvement in optimal hospital breastfeeding policy
March 23, 2019 - Family-based prevention program to reduce alcohol use among older teens
March 23, 2019 - Remote monitoring of implanted defibrillators in heart failure patients prevents hospitalizations
March 23, 2019 - Appropriate doffing of personal protective equipment may reduce healthcare worker contamination
March 23, 2019 - Window screens can suppress mosquito populations, reduce malaria in Tanzania
March 23, 2019 - Researchers discover new biomarker for postoperative liver dysfunction
March 23, 2019 - Pregnancy history may be linked to cognitive function in older women, finds study
March 23, 2019 - Study shows ticagrelor is equally safe and effective as clopidogrel after heart attack
March 23, 2019 - FDA Approves First Drug for Postpartum Depression, Zulresso (brexanolone)
March 23, 2019 - New guidelines outline new treatment management for psoriasis
March 23, 2019 - Thermally abused cooking oil may promote progression of breast cancer
March 23, 2019 - High-fructose corn syrup fuels growth of colon tumors in mice
March 23, 2019 - Partnership aims at establishing best practices to promote diversity in clinical trials
March 23, 2019 - New study examines presence of microbes in tap water from residences, office buildings
March 23, 2019 - Early life trauma may affect brain structure, contribute to major depressive disorder
March 23, 2019 - NIH starts clinical trial of drug to treat cravings associated with opioid use disorder
March 23, 2019 - Cervix bacteria, immune factors could be a warning signal of premature birth, reports new research
March 23, 2019 - Worst-ever emergency care performance figures underscore the need to focus on staffing
March 23, 2019 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Cancer
March 23, 2019 - Mouse model validates how ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria affect acne
March 23, 2019 - Individual amygdala neurons respond to touch, imagery and sounds
March 23, 2019 - Combination of two topical creams can prevent cancer
March 23, 2019 - Study suggests depression screening when assessing African-Americans for schizophrenia
March 23, 2019 - New electronic support system for choosing drug treatment based on patient’s genotype
March 23, 2019 - First-of-its-kind study provides pregnancy statistics of imprisoned U.S. women
March 23, 2019 - Marinus Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 3 Study in Children with PCDH19-Related Epilepsy
March 23, 2019 - Laparoscopy: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
March 23, 2019 - Shellfish allergies: can they be treated?
March 23, 2019 - Toilet seat heart monitoring system
March 23, 2019 - Researchers identify way to improve common treatment for PTSD
March 23, 2019 - High potency cannabis use linked to psychosis finds study
March 23, 2019 - Evoke Pharma Submits Response to FDA Review Letter for Gimoti NDA
March 23, 2019 - Tracking HIV’s ever-evolving genome in effort to prioritize public health resources
March 23, 2019 - Scientists grow most sophisticated brain organoid to date
March 23, 2019 - ADHD drug raising risk of psychosis
March 22, 2019 - FDA approves brexanolone, first drug developed to treat postpartum depression
March 22, 2019 - Gruesome cat and dog experiments by the USDA exposed
March 22, 2019 - Ball pits used in children’s physical therapy may contribute to germ transmission
March 22, 2019 - Long-term use of inexpensive weight-loss drug may be safe and effective
March 22, 2019 - FDA Approves Sunosi (solriamfetol) for Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Associated with Narcolepsy or Obstructive Sleep Apnea
March 22, 2019 - Anti-Müllerian Hormone Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
March 22, 2019 - Finding the right exercise, diet aids for HIV patients
March 22, 2019 - Health Plans For State Employees Use Medicare’s Hammer On Hospital Bills
March 22, 2019 - Researchers develop new tool for imaging large groups of neurons in living animals
March 22, 2019 - Certain bacteria and immune factors in vagina may cause or protect against preterm birth
March 22, 2019 - Novel breath test could pave new way to non-invasively measure gut health
March 22, 2019 - Pharmaceutical and personal care products may result in new contaminants in waterways
March 22, 2019 - New model could revolutionize the way researchers investigate spread of pathogens
March 22, 2019 - MSU professor receives NSF CAREER grant for biosensor diagnostics
March 22, 2019 - High-fat, high-sugar diet in mouse mothers causes problems in the hearts of offspring
March 22, 2019 - ACC: Catheter Ablation Does Not Cut Mortality, Stroke in A-Fib
March 22, 2019 - Wiedemann-Rautenstrauch syndrome – Genetics Home Reference
March 22, 2019 - Health insurance is not assurance of healthcare
March 22, 2019 - Supporting “curiosity-driven research” at the Discovery Innovation Awards
March 22, 2019 - Must-Reads Of The Week (Some Flying Below The Radar)
March 22, 2019 - Newly engineered nanoscale protein micelles can be tracked by MRI
March 22, 2019 - New model more effective in predicting risk of opioid overdose than traditional models
March 22, 2019 - Mayo Clinic study identifies potential new drug therapy for liver diseases
March 22, 2019 - Pitt engineers win $550,000 NSF CAREER award to develop new intervention for people with ASD
March 22, 2019 - Early discharge does not increase readmission risk for patients after lung surgery
March 22, 2019 - Creating diverse pool of trained scientists to address Alzheimer’s research needs
March 22, 2019 - Surprising discovery offers clues to limit graft-vs.-host disease
March 22, 2019 - Study shows ACA’s positive impact on healthcare affordability and access for women
March 22, 2019 - Study provides new pathway for controlling inflammation
March 22, 2019 - New combination treatment shows promise for common brain tumor in children
March 22, 2019 - Virginia Tech Helmet Lab releases first youth-specific football helmet ratings
March 22, 2019 - New algae-based treatment could reduce need for limb amputation
March 22, 2019 - Stroke risk reduces in both black and white older Medicare beneficiaries, study reports
March 22, 2019 - City of Hope exhibits current studies and data on cancer therapies at AACR
Santa calorie counting

Santa calorie counting

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Santa calorie counting

Heated debates often flare in the festive season. Fuelled by the spirit of Christmas, controversial ideas can be flung flippantly across the table.

Every year, without fail, someone will always throw one particular topic up for a heated debate.

Exactly how many calories does Santa Claus consume on Christmas Eve?

The topic has been covered extensively in multiple publications of varying reputability. But none so far has nailed the intricate considerations of this very important, very real problem.

Until now.

A research paper published in the Central European Journal of Medicine sheds new light on Santa’s energy equation. What’s more, the implications of this paper aren’t limited to jolly men of questionable existence. It’s science that applies to you and me, and it could help us keep the Christmas bulge at bay.

Standardising Santa Science

The paper was written by researchers from the New York Medical College.

They argue that all past methods employed to estimate Santa’s immense calorie intake have varied wildly, and this inconsistency makes for bad science. So the first thing that the researchers set out to do with this article was to standardise an approach to calculating the number of calories Santa would eat on Christmas Eve.

Their suggested method is simple enough—use real data.

Using data on Christmas traditions from the Pew Research Centre and statistics on households and families from the United States Census Bureau, the researchers calculated that 36.1 million American households would be putting out milk and cookies for Saint Nick on Christmas Eve. If he were to eat the cookies (estimated at 140 calories per plate) and drink the small glass of milk (135 calories per glass) laid out for him at each house, he’d be consuming about 9.9 billion calories in just one evening (and that’s not even counting the beers offered by us Aussies).

Now if we assume that Santa has the same metabolic demands of an active male 60-year-old, weighs 110kg, and stands at 1.8m tall, we can calculate his total energy expenditure to be 3301 calories a day. That’s the energy required by his body to just survive. That means his Christmas Eve binge around America puts him at a surplus of 9,899,996,699 calories.

No small potatoes. (In fact, a small baked potato may be a healthier choice for the big man, coming in at about 110 calories each, with the added benefits of being rich in vitamins C and B6. And, if eaten cold, they may help prevent colorectal cancer.)

The Latest In Christmas Calorie Counting

Not content to leave the Kris Kringle debate there, the researchers dug deeper in the second half of their paper.

They argue that, even if you can accurately account for calories in, that’s only one half of the holly jolly picture.

Maintaining a healthy weight (something Saint Nick has historically struggled with) is dependent on energy balance. Calories in and calories out.

And sure, some people have tried to account for the calories used by Santa in his mad dash around the globe. The paper at hand suggests he burns 54.2 million calories on Christmas Eve if all chimneys are assumed to be 4m high and his sack of gifts weighs in at 160kg. That still leaves him with several billion calories surplus.

But there’s one more element of the energy equation that the researchers argue has never been considered, and that’s the thermic effect of his Christmas Eve snacks.

The Thermic Effect Of Food

It’s no Christmas miracle that food can be transformed from a whole turkey dinner to a teeny tiny molecule that fuels your body. Chewing, digesting, absorbing and transporting nutrients around your body all requires energy. It actually uses up some of the calories we consume with each meal, and it’s what we refer to as the thermic effect of food.

(To be clear, the thermic effect of food is not a recent discovery. It’s just never been discussed in relation to this particular problem. I can’t imagine why not.)

The researchers in the current Santa study estimate that 10% of the 9.9 billion calories consumed as milk and cookies on Christmas Eve would be used to digest it all.

Now that still leaves Saint Nick with a few billion calories surplus. But what if we could be extra nice to the man in red this year and make the calorific load a little lighter?

Dreaming Of A Light Christmas

While carbohydrates and fats (the primary components of milk and cookies) use 10% of the calories consumed, foods that are high in protein require significantly more energy to digest—around 20 to 35% of the amount consumed.

So perhaps rather than a cookie or a mince pie, what about leaving Santa a high-protein Christmas bliss ball? Even if they contained the same number of calories as the cookies, Saint Nick would have to expend more energy to digest the bliss ball, leaving him with slightly fewer calories left over to store as belly fat.

Or if you can’t bear to stray from tradition, try wholemeal varieties of Christmas foods. It requires more energy for your body to process whole foods as opposed to their highly processed counterparts.

There’s some research that suggests spices such as chilli (or more specifically, the capsaicin found in peppers) can bump up the energy used to digest food. Maybe a cayenne-spiced eggnog? Or gifting some chilli chocolate?

A Christmas Caveat

No food exists that, when eaten, will make you expend more energy than you consume. Not even celery. Not even chilli-spiced celery on a wholemeal cracker that has been sprinkled with protein powder.

The researchers had no choice but to conclude that Santa’s “stable weight and apparent good health” were the result of a Christmas miracle. Not even bariatric surgery would have done the trick for Saint Nick!

For us less-miraculous beings, all we can do is keep ourselves informed and make smart choices, whether that’s eating one less cookie, choosing wholemeal over highly processed or playing backyard cricket rather than watching it on the telly. All of these little things play a part in the energy equation, so be kind and give yourself the gift of good health and happiness this year.

Provided by

This article first appeared on Particle, a science news website based at Scitech, Perth, Australia. Read the original article.

Santa calorie counting (2018, December 12)
retrieved 14 January 2019

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles