Christmas tree, with birds

I completed my 100 Birds Project just in time to get all the birds on the tree for Christmas.

Debra is the one responsible for the artistic vision of the tree. I just carved the birds. Between the two of us, I think we made a beautiful tree.

You can click on the picture to get a larger view.

More information on the project’s blog post: All together now.

Metabolic efficiency

I’ve long wondered just how efficient the human body is at extracting energy from food. We’re told, for example, that every gram of fat contains nine calories, and that protein and carbohydrate each contain four calories per gram. The implication is that if we consume some amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, our bodies will extract all of that energy.

But is that true? Do our bodies really extract and store all of those calories?

We already know that individuals differ. Some exist on a diet of primarily carbohydrates, and gain weight quickly if they eat fat and protein. Others seem to turn every gram of carbohydrate into two grams of fat on their hips. (Yes, that’s an exaggeration.) Is is possible that some people metabolize fat more efficiently, and that others metabolize carbohydrate more efficiently?

I think it’s likely, but I’ve been unable to come up with solid numbers. What is theĀ average efficiency? Has it been measured? If so, how widely does it vary among individuals?

I’d sure be interested if you could point me to solid research in this area.

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