Greetings, fellow aliens! Today we will talk about one of the earthlings’
favourite things: Food. Like many organisms, earthlings need various
chemicals to sustain their metabolism. These chemicals are taken in three ways: Breathing, drinking and eating. Breathing means aspirating oxygen and exhaling
carbon dioxide, which is heavier than oxygen. So, earthlings loose constantly weight through
breathing, approximately half a kilogram per day, which is of course replaced by eating
and drinking. Eating means taking ailments through the mouth.
The mouth has two purposes: Shredding the food, and analyzing it. Drinking is basically the same, but with liquids
– mainly hydric acid. Besides hydric acid, there are three main
components of food: Carbohydrates, fat and proteins. Carbohydrates are the main energy source of
the body. Remember sugar, the energy-rich molecules
produced by plants out of sunlight and thin air? The simplest sugars are glucose, fructose
and sucrose. Glucose looks a bit like a Centauri donut
with a little flag, fructose like a smaller donut with two little
flags, and sucrose like the two of them glued together. There are also non-circular variants of those
molecules. Now, carbohydrates are basically sugar, and
everything you can assemble from sugar. For example, when you create a glucose chain
and put all the little flags in the same direction, you get starch, a good energy source – you
find it, for example, in bread. But when you alternate the orientation of
the flags, you get cellulose, which is indigestible for earth creatures. Except for the microbes. Even cellulose-eating animals like cows can’t
digest it by themselves; they have it digested by microbes in their
bowels. A special kind of cellulose structure is wood
– the stuff the stems of trees are made of. It’s basically cellulose fibers held together
by a matrix of lignin. Wood is not edible either, but it plays an
important part in the development of earthling alimentation. We will come back to this later. The second component of earthling food are
fats. What is fat? Well, fat molecules look a bit like fat little
baby squids, with a body of glycerol and three tentacles
of fatty acids. Missing hydrogen atoms in the tentacles create
kinks, in this case we speak of unsaturated fatty
acids. Anyway, creatures use fat principally to store
energy, for example to survive the cold season when
food is rare. Predators, and earthlings in particular, love
eating fat of other creatures. In rich countries, people have nowadays so
much to eat that they often accumulate too much fat. They try to burn fat with physical exercises
– when the body burns fat, it produces more carbon dioxide, thus loses more weight. A less exhausting way of burning fat would
probably be to simply turn the heating down – when it’s cold, the earthling body consumes
energy to maintain its temperature. Strangely, this method is not very popular. The third component of food are proteins. What is a protein? Well, proteins are incredibly complex molecules
which are basically the backbone of the metabolism. An important kinds of proteins is those little
nanobots called enzymes which basically run the organism on a molecular level. If the organism was a factory, enzymes would
be the robot workers. The blueprints for these protein-nanobots
are all encoded in the DNA. But how can a one-dimensional genetic code
contain blueprints of three-dimensional nanomachines? Well, all proteins are made of only twenty
basic building blocks called amino acids. Those building blocks can be plugged together
to build long chains. That’s exactly how proteins are build: The DNA sequences are translated into amino
acid chains, with three base pairs corresponding to one type of amino acid. Once the chain is built, it naturally curls
together to some wibbly wobbly curly whirly thing, the actual protein. Now, some of these basic building blocks can’t
be synthesized by the earthling body, they need to be taken from plants and animals – either by eating protein packages they produce
for their offspring, or by eating their body, especially muscle tissue. Those building blocks are called essential
amino acids. Strategic advice. Earthlings eat a lot of meat, and most of
the meet comes from tamed animals like cows. So you might have the idea of weakening earthlings
with a massive abduction of cows. However, this tactic might backfire on the
long run : Many earthlings nutritionists and ecologists
think that modern earthlings eat far too much meat, especially in rich countries. So, when you abduct most of the cows, you
might actually do mankind a favour. Besides hydric acid, carbohydrates, fat and
proteins, earthlings need other things in smaller quantities, for example iron, calcium,
vitamins and sodium chloride, aka salt. Salt is an ionic compound, hold together not by an electron sharing deal, but an electron lending deal. A sodium atom lends an electron to a chlorine
atom, so they have both a complete outer shell. This makes both atoms electrically charged,
in other words ions, so they stick together. This is called an ionic bond. Salt is very
important for the earthling metabolism. Some food, on the other side, is dangerous
for the body. This holds particularly for food infested
or altered by tiny food rivals or parasites like microbes, insects or fungi. This kind of food is called rotten. To distinguish good food from bad or rotten
food, earthlings need a way to analyze food before eating it. That’s the purpose of smell and taste. The nose and the mouth contain arrays of chemical
sensors called chemo-receptors which are linked to the brain’s reward system. Basically, “good” food causes pleasure and
the urge to swallow, “bad” food creates displeasure and the urge to spit it out. The pleasure is also modified depending on
the current needs of the body – after eating six animal bodies, the seventh one just doesn’t
taste so good anymore. Also, finding food pleasurable can be learned
– many earthlings have learned to appreciate rotten food like cheese or beer. We will come
back to this in a moment. Food appreciation is so transmitted from generation
to generation. This is called food culture. There are basically five kinds of taste: sweet,
sour, salty, bitter and umami. Sweet is the simplest one, a pleasing sensation
which indicates the earthlings prefered energy source: sugar. Sour indicates acids like citric acid or Vitamin
C, which you find in many fruits. Salty indicates primarily the presence of
sodium ions, in particular from sodium chloride. Bitter is a generally displeasing, alarming
taste which may hint at rotten or poisonous food. The last one, umami, indicates a compound
called glutamate. It can be found in many types of food and is generally perceived as
savoury. There might be a sixth taste, which indicates
fat, but for now that’s just a hypothesis. Interestingly, some food acts not on the taste
receptors but on the temperature receptors in the mouth: Mint oil, for example, is perceived as cool, whereas so-called “spicy” food triggers the
heat receptors and may even be perceived as painful. There is a common misconception about taste
: Many earthlings believe that receptors for
different tastes are located in different zones of the tongue. This is easy to disprove, especially for earthlings
– just put something sweet onto the back of your tongue, or something bitter onto the
tip. Nevertheless, many earthlings keep on believing
this nonsense rather than trying it out for themselves. Now, where do the earthlings get all the edible
stuff? At dawn of mankind, they got it essentially the same way as animals : By hunting animals and gathering fruits and
seeds, and devouring the edible parts. But at some point, they made an important
discovery: Artificial external digestion. This is similar to methods used by other races
in the galaxy. The Snuglings of Karaxi-2, for example, live
under a thick cloud cover protecting them from the deadly radiation of their sun. They feed on creatures called frooks, but
some kinds of Frooks are hard to kill and difficult to digest. So the Snuglings catapult the frooks above
the cloud cover where they are roasted by the gamma rays of the sun. When they fall down, they are easier to digest,
and also, dead. Some 400000 solar cycles ago, Earthlings discovered
a similar method to make food digestible : Fire! Remember wood, this hardened cellulose structure
? Dry wood combusts easily, and it’s not hard
to build a fire out of wood pieces. Originally, earthlings used fire to keep warm
and drive away predators, but some 250000 solar cycles ago they discovered that some
food, in particular meat, changes its taste and consistency when exposed to fire for a
while. This is called roasting. But why do earthlings do that? Well, there
are several reasons for roasting. First, the heat kills most of the microbes
in the food. Secondly, the temperature breaks down molecules
like starch and unfolds some proteins, which makes the food easier to chew and easier to
digest. Basically, roasting food is some kind of external pre-digestion, using the chemical
energy in wood. Now, when roasting food, it often gets a brown
crispy crust. What happens here is called “Maillard reaction”. Basically, it’s a reaction between sugar and
amino acids. Earthlings love the taste of this crust. By the way, many earthlings think that roasting
meat “seals in the juices” – but that is nonsense. Now, another way of heating food is boiling
it – exposing it to boiling hydric acid. Boiling differs from roasting in that the temperature
doesn’t exceed the boiling point of hydric acid, and there is no Maillard reaction. Basically, it’s just another variant of the
same external pre-digestion process. Boiling and roasting are part of what earthlings
do with their food before they eat it: Cooking. And earthlings wouldn’t be earthlings if they
hadn’t developed cooking into an elaborate part of their culture. Cooking also includes cutting and slicing
food, mixing and combining different ingredients, and spicing the food. Spicing means adding ingredients that alter
the taste, mostly to increase the pleasure of eating: Yet another example of earthlings
tricking out their brains’ reward system to get biologically pointless pleasure. Tips for tourists. If you have a hydrocarbon-based metabolism,
you might visit a restaurant. Here you can observe earthlings’ eating habits, and also taste some food for yourself. However, beware of earthling drinks, they
have often surprising effects. Some 10000 solar cycles ago, a second discovery
was made : Earthlings all over the planet started cultivating
food and herding animals. Basically, they started acting like small-scale
bio administrators, rearing new species of plants and animals according to their needs. This is called agriculture. Nowadays it has grown to an industrial scale
food production able to feed seven billion earthlings. Well, almost. One of the strangest aspects of food culture
is the earthling habit of letting food rot in a controlled manner. One example is alcoholic beverages like wine
or beer. Wine, for example, is rotten juice from fruits
called grapes. Alcoholic beverages have a particular effect
on the brain – we will talk about this in another episode. Another example for deliberately rotten food
are products like yoghurt or cheese : Milk, altered by microbes, a process that
can take months. Cheese is sometimes even exposed to fungi
which make it rot even more. This process transforms the simple taste of
milk into a more complex taste, sometimes even with hints of bitterness. Generally, eating is a highly ritualized,
social activity: Social groups eat together, friends bond by sharing a meal, and mating
rituals often involve eating together in a public place. But despite the sophisticated rituals, earthlings
still keep some habits from their cave-dwelling ancestors. I have observed several earthling families
where the mother cooks, but calls the father to cut the roast – in prehistoric times, the job of the tribe
chieftain. Also, many men like to roast meat over open
fire, just like mammoth hunters in the olden days. Strangely, earthlings often separate “sweet”
sugar snacks from larger “salty” meals which contain all kinds of nutrients. The reason might be that both meals have different
functions: The sugar snacks give a quick energy boost,
which is often enhanced by stimulating drugs like coffee or cigarettes.. The salty meals, on the other hand, provide
long-term supply with all kinds of nutrients. Sometimes, the “salty” meal is followed by
a sweet snack, possibly in order to provide the energy boost needed to digest said meal. This is called a dessert. Scientific advice. A classic alien textbook explains that you
can use food to condition earthling cubs. Show them a series of images :When they hit
a “like” button, they get some chocolate, when they hit a dislike button they get spinach,
a vegetable many cubs hate. As a result, they will start liking every
single image. However, this experiment has been done so
many times that nowadays, countless former abductees feel the compulsive desire to hit
“like” buttons all day long. Moreover, many victims feel the compulsive
urge to use the word, “like”, as often as possible – like, in every sentence, like,
all day long. If I were like an earthling who could have
like feelings, I would be like sad for these poor abductees, as they are like linguistically
handicapped for like the rest of their life. A word to my earthling viewers : Rest assured, if you feel the urge to click
on “like” right now, it does not necessarily mean you have been conditioned. Maybe you just like my videos. A sure telltale sign that you have not been
mentally manipulated would be the urge to click on “subscribe” and on “share” as well,
as those buttons were not part of the experiment. Please don’t think I’m trying to manipulate
you. That’s just not my style. This was the ninth episode of Earthlings 101. Next time we’ll talk about language: How it
works, how it developed, and why the causes of its apparent decline – are actually the
very forces that build it. Thanks for watching, and as always: Don’t
forget to be alien!