Alf’s constituents – the good people of Eketahuna North – will not need the advice being tendered in this post.
They are eminently sensible people who are not inclined to excessive eating or drinking, even at Christmas time.
But other readers of this blog might benefit from learning how to deal with the painful gut-busting feeling brought on by over-indulging during the holidays.
Here’s what we learn from the New York Post –
TAKE two cookies, and call me in the morning.
That’s the advice from Norwegian researchers who say a sugary snack can actually ease the pain of a gut-busting holiday feast.
“A sweet taste can allow the stomach to hold more, and we can eat a little more without experiencing discomfort,” said Dr Arnold Berstad, of Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital in Oslo.
A paper by Dr Berstad and Dr Jorgen Valeur was published this month in The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association.
They say sugar appears to stimulate the vagus nerve, which controls digestion, speech, breathing and other functions.
The tickled nerve signals the stomach muscle to loosen up and allow a bit more food to fit in.
At the same time, the looser stomach muscle lets the food you’ve already eaten settle comfortably.
As the New York Post reports, Dr Berstad wouldn’t sugarcoat the findings.
The effects, he noted, last “long enough to influence the current meal but maybe not more.”
But the nub of the advice is this:
Sugary fare can relax the stomach so much that it doesn’t feel full even when it really is.
In fact, sugar’s effect on the vagus nerve may be one reason it’s easy to overdo it when it comes to dessert, experts say.
While on the subject of eating and its consequences, the Daily Mail tells us how to do our best to avoid the social embarrassment of breaking wind during the festive season.
The report is based on a supermarket’s handy table of the most fart-prompting vegetables.
The worst offender is the Jerusalem artichoke, beating, surprisingly, the much-condemned Brussels sprout, which came in third.
Second was the parsnip with cabbage in fourth and cauliflower in fifth.
Mind you, this advice is intended for Northern Hemisphere customers, because Christmas there is celebrated in the winter.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s, which has revealed its ‘top of the pops’ league, said: ‘Winter is an amazing time for colourful, fibrous vegetables that are fantastically healthy, but which have predictable results in the human digestive system.
‘Really it’s the very things that make them good for us – lots of fibre and complex carbohydrates – that are the culprits and it’s a small price to pay for the health benefits.
Passing wind – as Alf understands it – is caused by a reaction in the gut to the carbohydrate, fibre and sugars found in the vegetables to produce gas.
Britain’s Vegetarian Society has offered advice for dealing with the possible side effects of winter veggies.
It’s not the sort of advice Alf will be taking in a hurry.
But he passes it on anyway.
It comes from a society spokesman, who said:
‘Eat more vegetables all year round so that they don’t cause such a shock to your system at this time of year.
‘A possible cure for flatulence is to add dill or caraway seeds to vegetables such as cabbage when cooking, or if all else fails have a cup of peppermint tea after your meal.’
This sounds like the sort of potion that would go down big with the Greenies.
Alf is sticking to his Scotch and is indifferent to how it might affect the production of wind after eating vegetables.