I have so many questions about snot.
February 3, 2005 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Snot! Does it have any calories? If so, how many? Is it a mystical celery-like substance that takes more calories to digest than is contained in it? If so, how much would you need to get through to lose a pound of lardiness? If it doesn't contain any calories, then why not? So many questions!
posted by TheDonF to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ewww! What? Since you produced it, there's no net intake of calories, so re-digesting it multiple times *would* burn calories. Just not many of them. What, have you got the sickness that's going around?
posted by notsnot at 1:04 PM on February 3, 2005

IANASE (I am not a snot expert), but I've heard that boogers contain the same kind of complex sugars that candies have, which is why kids tend to eat 'em (not you, though.) Not sure about the calories though, it would be strange to think your body could *produce* calories, instead of just using them.
posted by robbie01 at 1:05 PM on February 3, 2005

I remember a study done in the last few years that said that boogers were basically similar to potato chips in nutritional makeup. I believe this article was linked here on Metafilter, but my cursory search did not yield results.
posted by monkeyman at 1:16 PM on February 3, 2005

IANAdoctor or biochemist, but a PubMed search turned up this:
Biochemistry of airway mucus secretions.
"Important constituents include the mucous glycoproteins, other secretory proteins, serum proteins, lipids, salts; water makes up 95% of mucus by weight... Respiratory tract mucous glycoproteins are large, extended molecules, which have a high carbohydrate content. They are polydisperse, with variation occurring largely in the content of sulfated sugars and sialic acid."
posted by milkrate at 1:17 PM on February 3, 2005

I also recently heard of or saw a short article suggesting that kids who pick & eat have better resistance to stuff that's going around - that eating it is like a little inoculation.
This seems obvious to me, personally.
posted by librarina at 1:47 PM on February 3, 2005

If you simply blow your nose, you will lose the weight of the snot.
posted by mischief at 2:13 PM on February 3, 2005

Wow, I'm simultaneously impressed and grossed out by the wealth of knowledge here.
posted by Specklet at 2:15 PM on February 3, 2005

I have a little kitten with a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) that's been clearing up bit by bit over the past few weeks. He sneezes gobs of snot sometimes and happily gobbles it up. My roommate is disgusted, but I've been pointing out that he's probably stronger for it.

Oh, and ew. Although it would seem to me that there would be a microscopic negative calorie intake from eating snot - but on the other hand, the carbohydrates could do those things to your metabolism and appetite that Dr. Atkins claims.

But I highly, highly, highly doubt that snot has enough in it aside from water to have any real impact on you whatsoever, except that the more you pick your nose in public the more likely hundreds of ultra-sweet babes will try to have sex with you.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:41 PM on February 3, 2005

Just to contribute to your store of useless knowledge... Per KidsHealth (a wonderful site from The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media): "Your nose makes about a cupful (about 237 milliliters) of snot every day."
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:59 PM on February 3, 2005

In terms of gauging loss against any established standards, I would just argue that the general guidelines for "calorie consumption" must already incorporate some measure of calorie loss through snot (among other things)--after all, while physical activity obviously accounts for the large majority of calories expended, there's a bunch of other stuff, like heat loss through evaporation, etc, that's going on.

Calorie expenditure through mucus production may be negligible, but it's part of what's happening while the measurement is going on, so it's being factored in no matter what. In that case then, the calorie loss for producing mucus is already taken into account in the existing measurements, so any re-ingesting of that mucus is just putting those discarded calories back in.

Of course, that's a net calorie gain against any _measured_ or projected loss. For real world net gain, given all the carbohydrates that are apparently in there, it's hard to imagine it's any kind of calorie loss. It's no different--calorie-wise--than eating your poop or drinking your urine...you're re-ingesting calories that your body has already discarded, so you're basically upping your totally calorie count against what it would've been if you hadn't ingested them. (Granted, your body's going to discard some portion of those new calories again, but still.)
posted by LairBob at 5:28 PM on February 3, 2005

it would be strange to think your body could *produce* calories, instead of just using them.

Tell that to a lactating woman.
posted by bonheur at 9:19 PM on February 3, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: except that the more you pick your nose in public the more likely hundreds of ultra-sweet babes will try to have sex with you

Surely that should be "less likely", or is this the dating tip that I've been missing?

Anyhoo, muchos gracias for the replies and sorry for the ew-ness of the post — I was asked the question myself and thought I'd know a few people with the requisite knowledge. And, lo...
posted by TheDonF at 11:33 PM on February 3, 2005

My only concern about snot cuisine is the effect of injesting airborne pollutants. I work in a heavy industrial district, and I hate to think what the particulates are doing to my lungs, let alone what they'd do to my digestive system.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:25 AM on February 4, 2005

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