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<   No. 1527   2007-04-02   >

Comic #1527

1 {scene: The streets of Rome, night.}
1 Prof. Jones: Do we have to go now? I'm so full I can hardly move.
2 Monty: I don't understand how you could eat so much pasta.
2 Prof. Jones: It was so good!
3 Monty: Or how you had room for gelato, tiramisu, baked ricotta cheesecake, panna cotta, zabaglione, and then coffee with savoiardi.
4 Prof. Jones: I engaged the dessert stomach.

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The dessert stomach is a concept popular amongst my circle of friends. The basic idea is that no matter how much you have eaten for dinner, no matter how stuffed to the gills you are and cannot possibly fit another morsel in, no matter how gorged and bloated you feel, there's always room for dessert. This is achieved by switching further food intake to the special backup dessert stomach, which is reserved for just such situations.

This seems to be a moderately widespread concept, as Google attests, but not so well known as to be common knowledge. Professor Jones' dessert stomach seems to be quite large.

The background photo is another from my 2001 trip to Italy. I don't know what the specific building is, but it's between the Vittorio Emanuelle II monument and Castel Sant'Angelo. It was a daylight photo, which I've Photoshopped into a night scene.


2017-02-15 Rerun commentary: There's now an actual science article about the dessert stomach. It's a real thing!

Says the article:

The stomach is a flexible organ. When you consume a large meal the walls of the upper section of the stomach relax to make room for the food. [...] Glucose – or sugar if you will – stimulates this relaxation reflex. "In this way it can decrease the pressure on the stomach and reduce the sensation of being full. A sweet dessert allows the stomach to make room for more food," the researchers write in the medical journal. [...] The best thing to do is to limit your consumption of dessert to just a taste of something sweet. This won't split your gut, and at the same time the small dose of sugar will trigger the dessert expansion. The result will probably be that you feel a little less full after your meal. So a single bite of something sweet will actually make you more comfortable after a feast than if you had passed it by.

Now, while we here at Irregular Webcomic! agree wholeheartedly that ingesting sugar (or even just seeing a fine dessert in some cases) allows the stomach to make room for more food, we must protest against the notion that the best strategy is to partake of a mere single bite!

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