Have you ever sat down at the table during Thanksgiving and felt ready to chow down as if your life depended on it, but as soon as you finish your meal you’re ready for hibernation? Your great aunt shimmy’s off her chair to tell you, “Oh it must have been the tryptophan in that turkey! It makes you tired.” But in reality, is it really a chemical or is it just the American way of eating?
Sometimes people take the dining part a little too far. Thanksgiving has changed to a time of overindulgence and diet-wrecking fun. But how does this affect America’s health and why in the world are people blaming it on the turkey?
The science behind what people think causes that tired feeling is a chemical called tryptophan. It is an amino acid found in proteins and can be found in many more things than just turkey. This acid is a part of making vitamin B, which increases serotonin and melatonin production. These are vital hormones for sleep cycles. The issue is that the amount of this specific acid that is needed isn’t close to the amount found in turkey. So what actually happens?
It’s the American way. Eat and keep eating. People on Thanksgiving consume up to 4000 calories of gut-busting Thanksgiving goodness. This extreme caloric intake causes lethargy and discomfort. The human body wants to rest and to conserve energy while digesting all those calories, thus making the consumer tired.
This misconception of a chemical making people tired is being used as a scapegoat so we can eat nonstop. Why not make a change this Thanksgiving and be sure to be mindful of the fact that you’re eating the equivalent of about 7 Big Macs.