Turkey Makes You Tired - The Big Thanksgiving LieBy Michael Roussell
It has happened to all of us.
You eat Thanksgiving meals around 2:30pm and finish up just in time for the 4:00pm football game. You settle down on the couch to watch the game and digest but you are asleep before the end of the first quarter.
Turkey makes you tired right?
That's what everyone says. There was even a Seinfeld episode where Jerry wanted his girlfriend to go to sleep so him, George, and Elaine could play with her collection of old toys.
What did they give her? Turkey.
Why on earth would turkey make you tired?
The common consensus is that turkey makes you tired because it contains high levels of the amino acid tryptophan (pronounced trip-teh-fan). Tryptophan is converted in the brain to serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that is responsible for increased wellbeing, happiness, relaxation, and sleep.
So it makes sense right. You eat turkey. The increased levels of tryptophan in turkey allow for lots of tryptophan to get into your brain. It is converted to serotonin and you get sleepy.
It makes sense but it doesn't work that way.
In fact. Turkey doesn't make you tired and the increased tryptophan never gets converted to serotonin.
Lies! Lies! Lies!
Yup. You've been lied to.
Because turkey is high in protein it is full of all kinds of other amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of protein). All the other amino acids in turkey prevent the tryptophan from getting into your brain.
Amino acids get transported into your brain on sort of a one lane highway. If there are lots of amino acids trying to get in then the highway gets jammed up, it isn't like tryptophan gets its own lane (Note: That is a gross oversimplification but you get the idea).
So if it isn't the turkey then what makes you tired???
The stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pop-overs (umm...I love pop-overs).
Stuffing, mashed potatoes, pop-overs, and all the other carbohydrates you consume at your Thanksgiving feast cause your body to release the hormone insulin. Insulin does many things, one of which is increasing the production of serotonin - thus making you tired.
Another contributing factor to the post-Thanksgiving tiredness is digestion. After your massive Thanksgiving feast your stomach and small intestines are stuck with the job of digesting all that food. In order to help with this massive task the body sends more blood to those organs. This can result in decreased blood flow to the brain and thus you feel tired.
There you have it. The number one Thanksgiving myth debunked!
So on Thursday when people start saying "Oh, that turkey is making me so tired" you can respond with:
"It isn't the turkey, Turkey. It was that second helping of mashed potatoes you had."
Everyone will look confused and you'll feel like the smartest person at the table.
Mike has distilled down his extremely effective approach to nutrition in the manual Your Naked Nutrition Guide. Go to http://www.NakedNutritionGuide.com to find out more. You can also get a Free 30 body transformation course at http://www.NakedNutritionGuide.com. Mike Roussell is a nationally renown sports nutritionist studying to receive his doctoral in nutrition at Penn State University. Mike coaches people from a variety of background (athletes, business professionals, house wive, etc) in achieving the body of their dreams.