So… do we get tired from Turkey or not??
For many years, people have assumed that the culprit of the post-Thanksgiving drowsiness is the Tryptophan found in turkeys. Tryptophan is one of the 22 amino acids, and is necessary for healthy diets. But is this really the case? Surprisingly, as shown in the chart below, the level of tryptophan in turkeys is not considerably higher that the tryptophan content in other meats, such as pork or chicken.
The level of Tryptophan in turkeys is too insignificant to create drowsiness from purely the turkey, but consuming Tryptophan-containing protein along with carbohydrates makes Tryptophan more accessible to the brain. This releases insulin, which then clears other amino acids from the bloodstream and allows tryptophan to enter into the brain, where it creates a sedating effect throughout one’s body. Therefore, many people experience drowsiness following a filling thanksgiving meal because of the carbohydrates consumed along with the turkey, not solely because of the turkey itself.
“Dairy Nutrition.” Dairy Nutrition RSS. Dairy Nutrition, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. <http://www.dairynutrition.ca/facts-fallacies/health-concerns/sleep-and-tryptophan>.
Now that you know the truth about Tryptophan, you can quit fearing that innocent turkey. Instead, you can spend your time reevaluating those chicken nuggets. Should they really be eaten for breakfast, or should you save them for a midnight snack?
Still curious about Tryptophan in turkeys? Here are some fun articles to check out:
“How Much Tryptophan Is In Turkey Vs. Other Meat?” Lean It UP RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. <http://www.leanitup.com/how-much-tryptophan-is-in-turkey-vs-other-meat/>.