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NOT A DUPLICATE OF: Can food make you put on more weight than it's own weight?

That question diverges off into stuff about calories and energy density and other stuff, which I'm not interested in here. And doesn't seem to talk much about time-frames. The answers either address the calories, or talk about conservation of mass, which is clearly not what is interesting.


Suppose I eat a pound of something (cake, or chocolate, say. Or a second portion of pasta salad).

  • Obviously, 1 minute after I eat it, I will be 1 pound heavier, but that's not very interesting.

  • And 1 week later, it seems extremely likely that I will be some amount heavier than I would have been if I had done everything else exactly the same, but not eaten the cake.

    • Note, that I'm deliberately excluding any behavioural changes! Assume that the difference between eating it and not eating is literally the only the food entering my mouth.
  • Are there complex biological processes that could lead to me being more than 1 pound heavier, after that week? Or is the weight-gain tied to a single consumption strictly bounded by the mass of that consumption?


For those wondering what I might be imagining ... I don't know, maybe the body stores 2 extra molecules of X (that it would otherwise have not digested at all) for every molecule of Y that it ingested, in the previous day. i.e. having eaten the cake on Monday means that I retain more of the food I ingest on Tuesday, than I would otherwise have retained.

Or maybe there's some complex process whereby oxygen in the blood gets captured and stored with the ingested food over time, so that the extra mass comes from air breathed in over the course of the next day.

I'm no biologist, so I haven't the faintest idea what could be plausible and what could be utterly ridiculous. Hence the question :)

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  • You can't make something not a duplicate just by declaring it's not a duplicate. – Bryan Krause Aug 10 '20 at 15:18
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    This asks the exact same question as the question you declare it not to be a duplicate of. It may differ a bit with your speculation on how it might be possible, but it's still the exact same question. – Carey Gregory Aug 10 '20 at 15:21