Thursday, November 19, 2009

Does Turkey Make You Sleepy?

You’ve heard it said a dozen times – it’s all the tryptophan in the turkey that makes people feel sleepy on Thanksgiving afternoon.  Well, it was a good theory, but I think it’s time to send it gobbling off into urban legend land.  Here’s how it went: tryptophan (which is high in turkey), gets converted into serotonin that is not only the “mood elevator” compound, but also induces sleepiness. Nice idea, but let’s carve down into the idea and see if it holds dressing, er, water. First of all, there is a tiny bit more tryptophan in turkey than in other meats, but not THAT much.   Second, it has to compete for absorption with all the other amino acids that form protein (that’s what meat is, folks: muscles).  Third, tryptophan is more effective taken on an empty stomach.  So it’s certainly not the tryptophan. What could it possibly be . . . ?  Well . . . let’s look at what else is usually on that plate, and what’s in it:
  • Dressing – mostly simple carbs
  • Potatoes – mostly simple carbs
  • Cranberry jelly – mostly simple carbs
  • Sweet potatoes – mostly simple carbs
  • Corn bread – mostly simple carbs
  • Apple pie – mostly simple carbs 
  • Pumpkin pie – mostly simple carbs
  • Candy – mostly simple carbs 
  • Apple cider – mostly simple carbs
  • Plus, of course, alcohol – carbs and ethanol (in the early afternoon)
Think we might have found a culprit or two?  Yessiree . . . an enormous consumption of simple carbs floods the body with sugars to which the pancreas has to respond with elevated insulin production.  The insulin at some point overshoots the mark, and down you go!!  Add some alcohol into the mix and it’s no surprise that a snooze quickly follows. So next time someone tries on that old tryptophan tale, you can set them straight.  Funny thing is, the turkey is without question the LEAST sleep-inducing part of the whole meal!!!  Gobble that one for size!!

Let's watch those carbs this Thanksgiving, let's try to stay as healthy as we can..for our spouses, our children, ourselves

Health and Wellness is here now, it's easy and it;s a must. Learn More

No comments:

Post a Comment