Joho the Blog » Daily (intermittent) Open-End Puzzle (DOEP): Fattening yogurt

Daily (intermittent) Open-End Puzzle (DOEP): Fattening yogurt

This is a “Let’s figure out how this statement might be true” puzzle. I have an answer in mind (which you probably won’t like), but I’m more interested in the ones y’all come up with:

For the sort of run-of-the-mill yogurt — no fruit on the bottom — you buy in your average American supermarket, I believe it is true that the further you go down in the container, the more fattening it becomes.

Why might that be true? More important, in how many different ways can we take that putative fact to make it true?

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3 Responses to “Daily (intermittent) Open-End Puzzle (DOEP): Fattening yogurt”

  1. At first I focused upon the container and thought that through gravity the fat is heavier and sinks to the bottom.

    Next I thought of accumulation and thought that even if the fat was evenly distributed throughout, the addition of more and more fat increased its ability to be fattening.

    But then I focused on the word ‘fattening’ and I shifted my perspective to digestion. Perhaps one can eat fat until you pass a certain point where any additional yogurt becomes fattening because of the inability of our metabolism to use it for energy and so the body stores the excess as fat.

    Of course this last statement works against the phrasing ‘more fattening’ which assumes that eating even yogurt at the top is fattening.

    And of course how do you define ‘go down’? Are you submitting the yogurt to a scientific chemical analysis of its structure in layers from top to bottom? Or are you eating it and recording its effect upon your metabolism?

    So what is ‘fattening’ ?- the content of the yogurt, or the person who is eating the yogurt. The yogurt itself is not getting fatter, only the people who eat the yogurt are getting fatter.

    So I see three ways that this statement could be true:

    1 – The content of a yogurt container (for whatever reason) contains a higher percentage of fat on the bottom than on the top.

    2 – The more yogurt one eats, the more fattening it becomes because the eating of more and more yogurt is fattening you.

    3 – If both of the above statements are true, the effect is magnified.

    So what is the relationship between the fat content of the yogurt and its ability to fatten you after you have eaten it?

    The statement assumes that eating yogurt is fattening even in small amounts. If you are a marathon runner, I am sure that eating just one container of yogurt is never fattening.

    So the statement can not be true because ‘fattening’ is individually determined and depends upon genetic disposition (some metabolisms being more active than others) and exercise (the more exercise,the more fattening foods one can eat without the food becoming ‘fattening’ at all.

    Everything hinges upon the definition of ‘fattening’.

    If you define it by its potential to make one become fatter then it could be true.

    If you define it by its effect upon one who eats the yogurt, then its truth is conditional depending upon the metabolism of the individual who eats the yogurt.

    Advertisers and the pharmaceutical companies use this logic to sell low-fat products and drugs to lower cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol in a product has little effect upon blood cholesterol levels, and high cholesterol above 200 does not mean that you are more prone to heart attack or heart disease. Heart disease springs from inflammation which is more reliably tested by looking at fibrinogen, homocysteine, and C-reactive protein levels rather than cholesterol levels. This is not well known and most doctors will not agree with it because they have been educated to think and believe otherwise.

    So the truth of a statement may have more to do with what one believes to be true, what systems and paradigms and frames one views the world through, rather than what is actually objectively true. And can we achieve objective truth at all even through scientific experiment where the observer of the experiment effects its outcome.

    Perhaps the statement is only true as long as you can not prove it false. When you prove it false, it is no longer true. Until then, it is true.

  2. Yikes. I’ll tell you what I had in mind, which is way simpler and less imaginative than yours.

    I was thinking about a tub of yogurt. Too much for one day. You eat some. You put it back in the fridge. You wait a day. Water separates from it. You pour it off. The yogurt gets a little denser. Its calorie count goes up.

    That’s all I had in mind, but I was right in thinking that others would have richer ideas about how to make this true.

  3. On the second day, I stir the separated water back into the yogurt. I don’t pour it off. The meaning I imposed on your thought experiment was simply this: the more you eat from the container, the more fattening it becomes because every bite you take adds calories to your diet.

    The less yogurt volume the container holds, the more your belly holds.

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