Ask a Scientist: Would Cannibalism Make You Fat?

(Image: Orion Pictures)

In his later years, Hannibal Lecter was a bit pudgy. Was it because of his diet? Possibly. Daniel Engber of Popular Science approached Dr. James Cole, a scholar on human origins at the University of Brighton. He asked Cole how nutritious it would be to eat an entire human body--minus the skeleton, of course. 

Cole determined that a human arm would supply about 1,800 calories, for example, while each leg would yield 7,150 calories. The lungs, liver, and alimentary canal each provide roughly 1,500 calories, while the brain, spinal cord, and nerve trunks together account for 2,700. And what lurks in the hearts of men? Seven hundred twenty-two calories, Cole says.

There's a lot of fat the human body, so you'll want to shop for dinner carefully. It will also be important to control portions--just like any other diet.

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