Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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It's often said (though I can't actually remember anyone saying it, but I'm somewhat sure may have read it somewhere) that celery takes more energy to eat and digest than you get from it. I doubt that's true and, in any case, there's a limit to how much celery a person can eat.

Surely science can do better than this? MaxCo. is therefore scouring the Sigma catalogue to identify the active ingredient in its forthcoming product - Doof! (yes with an exclamation mark).

Doof! will be a dense, chewy comestible flavoured with either chocolate or liqourice (we have yet to decide). Its active ingredient will be a relatively inexpensive soluble, absorbable chemical that reacts with ATP - the body's energy currency. Ideally, this chemical will a branched molecule with multiple functional groups, each capable of reacting with (and effectively destroying) one ATP molecule. The reaction will, necessarily, be exothermic but slow enough that eating a Doof! bar will not actually cause you to explode or incandesce.

Each mouthfull of Doof! will, therefore, deduct a sizeable amount from your body's energy balance, leaving you feeling slightly warm and a little tired. Overdosing on Doof! will be almost impossible because, if you try, you will simply become too weak to eat any more until your body has replenished its ATP supply. In this regard, it will be far, far (or at least slightly) safer than drugs such as DNP that cause your body to haemorrhage energy, but which remain active up to and beyond the point of death.

Roughly speaking, we can expect 1lb of Doof! to equate to about half a pound of body fat lost. And this neglects the fact that, while your stomach is full of Doof!, you will feel too full to each much actual !fooD

MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2019

Plant toxins that do something similar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swainsonine
Into The Wild (film) - there are some plant toxins that block absorption/metabolisation of nutrients. There’s some dose “fine-tuning” to do there though! [Frankx, Sep 18 2019]

Spontaneous Human Combustion https://en.wikipedi...us_human_combustion
Nope. No. It doesn’t happen. In every case, there’s a more rational, obvious explanation [Frankx, Sep 19 2019]


       Won't you grow massive jaw muscles that will require an increase in food intake to satisfy their energy demands?
xenzag, Sep 18 2019

       Nope. Our marketing team definitely say nope.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2019

       // our marketing team //   

       So, your flock of macaws have been taught a new word ? Remarkable - not the learning per se, but that it's not an obscene expletive.   

       // will not actually cause you to explode or incandesce. //   

       We can help you fix that.   

       Actually ...   

       There's quite a lot of chemical potential energy in a human cadaver; spontaneous human combustion is an interesting example. Given a suitable (preferably two-part) catalyst, it might be possible to engineer not a "suicide pill" but a "suicide bomber pill" ... plink, plink, BOOM ...   


       Maybe even incorporate it into BorgCo cat food .... munch, munch, miaow, BOOM ....   

       <Prolonged evil laughter and arm-flapping/>
8th of 7, Sep 18 2019

       Ha! lovely [8th] explodicious kitties! <snigger> What’s the formula?
Frankx, Sep 18 2019

       //plant toxins that block absorption/metabolisation of nutrients// The problem with that approach is that the nutrients have to go somewhere. If they're not absorbed, they pass through the gut to the colon where they cause what is politely described as "anal leakage".
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2019

       [8th of 7] there is a movie with that premise; I think it was something mixed into water then drunk which caused explodiness.
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 18 2019

       //spontaneous human combustion is an interesting example// and yet also totally mythical. People (particularly those with a healthy layer of subcutaneous fat) can combust, but not spontaneously.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2019

       We are intrigued as to how you reconcile the capability for combustion, albeit non-spontaneously, with the description of subcutaneous fat as "healthy".   

       Slowly charring out of existence while reposing in an armchair does not seem to be a phenomenon that might reasonably be associated with a "healthy lifestyle" ...
8th of 7, Sep 19 2019

       [link] Spontaneous Human Combustion
Frankx, Sep 19 2019

       A biochemistry question I'm not sure of the answer to: Would the … erm, "manure" produced as a by-product of eating this substance be markedly different from usual? - for example, would it be unusually potent when used as a crop fertilizer? Could it be used as a fuel in cars?
hippo, Sep 19 2019

       That very much remains to be seen. Recent experiments suggest that it may have value as a semi-synthetic alternative to earwax.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 19 2019

       Hey 8th, have you ever played a game called "Exploding Kittens"?   

       I think it might be up your street.   

       There's also a NSFW version. And an Imploding Kittens expansion.
Loris, Sep 19 2019

       The thing about ATP is that it's usually recycled. The plan here is to remove it from the system. I don't know what the replacement rate is for ATP, but some caution may be advised.   

       Also, I note that your multivalent branching molecule has to enter cells, acquire its load of ATP and leave somehow, and presumably at some point be secreted.
I look forward to seeing how this works.
Loris, Sep 19 2019

       // The thing about ATP is that it's usually recycled//   

       True, but the body can make new ATP more or less from scratch. At a pinch, we could add AMP into the recipe for Doof!   

       //enter cells...leave somehow// Yes, true. Something with a hydrophobic, lipophilic backbone might make it. Failing that, we'll just have to limit the number of branches on the molecule.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 19 2019

       //Recent experiments suggest that it may have value as a semi-synthetic alternative to earwax.//   

       If it's not Rentishams I'm not interested.
Loris, Sep 19 2019

       Making a stasis manufacturing pathway into a constant output pathway is going to have a whole cascade of effects but at least the subject is full, warm and lethargic.
wjt, Sep 21 2019


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