Sunday, January 21, 2007

A model of eating

I have known for some time now that Janne and I don't eat a lot of meat. It's not that we are vegetarians, most of our meals include meat in some form or another, it's just that the amounts are small.

On the other hand, we eat a lot of vegetables. Since moving in with Janne I'm beginning to think that a standard Danish dinner consisting of some kind of meat with boiled potatoes and a sauce is extremely boring. It needs to be augmented with vegetables.

So today I was wondering whether there is a correlation between these two facts, less meat and more garniture. I think I've found a model that can explain it.

When I eat, I usually alternate between putting the various stuff on the plate in my mouth, e.g. with potatoes and a beef it is one mouthful of potato with sauce, one mouthful of beef, one mouthful of potato, etc. Let's pretend it takes 100 mouthfuls to get full, ignoring differences in the saturation effect of different types of food. Then roughly 1/2 of these, 50 mouthfuls, will be of meat.

If instead the plate contains of two kinds of vegetable garniture plus the potatoes (Janne and I almost always cook them in the oven and forgo the sauce) and the beef, then I'll usually alternate in a round-robin fashion between the vegetables, the potatoes and the meat. So only roughly 1/4 of the mouthfuls will be of meat, i.e. 25 mouthfuls.

If the model is correct, and I'll think about validating it, then I eat about twice as much meat at a traditional dinner at my parents' compared to a typical dinner cooked by Janne or me, without really noticing it.

So now I'm just left wondering exactly how many mouthfuls it takes for me to get full. I think I'll try counting them.

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