Thanksgiving Meal Science: Does Turkey Make You Tired?

When many people think of Thanksgiving, the first thing they think of is eating a lot of food and usually there is turkey involved. There are also a number of associations with the holiday, such as getting sleepy after the meal. I remember hearing lots of people talk about how eating turkey makes you sleepy, but is this really true?

This belief comes from the fact that turkey contains an ingredient called tryptophan, which can make you sleepy. However, that is far from the whole story. Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid, which are the building blocks of protein and tryptophan is just one of the many amino acids that are contained in turkey. It actually makes up only about 2% of the amino acid content in turkey. For comparison, this is similar to the amount found in many other foods, including eggs, lentils, peanuts, and pork. 

Additionally, amino acids have to compete for binding sites within the body, so when there are many amino acids present, it becomes more difficult for any one amino acid to fill all the sites, especially one that only makes up about 2% of the total. Tryptophan is most effective for making you sleepy when it is taken as individually, without other amino acids (protein) being absorbed at the same time. This doesn’t happen when eating turkey.

The science is pretty clear that getting sleepy from the tryptophan in turkey is not very likely to happen, so why do so many people associate turkey with sleepiness. This has much more to do with the Thanksgiving meal itself than it does with the turkey. The main reason for getting tired after eating a Thanksgiving meal is simply the large amount of food many people eat during the meal. 

It is not uncommon for people to eat more calories during a Thanksgiving meal than their body needs in one or two whole days. The body is not designed to handle that many calories at one time and it takes a lot of work for your body to process all that food. All the unnecessary extra calories have to be converted and stored as fat.

 For these calories to be stored as fat, your body has to release a lot of insulin into your system. Your insulin level will increase drastically at first, but when your insulin level returns to normal, your energy level crashes and you get tired. If fewer calories are consumed during the Thanksgiving meal, less insulin will be released into your system, and you will not be nearly as sleepy after the meal.

Personally, I encourage people to enjoy Thanksgiving and eat what they want, without judging themselves. However, if you are worried about your weight, there are a couple things you can do to have Thanksgiving take less of a toll on your body. For one, spread out your calories throughout the day, instead of having so many of them during one meal. This will ease the digestive burden, decrease fat storage, and make you less tired. 

Even if you don’t change your Thanksgiving eating habits at all, it’s still not that big of a deal in the long run. It’s only one day and you can absolutely recover from it, usually within a week. The more important thing is to not continue excessive overeating throughout the rest of the year. If you give yourself a pass to eat whatever your want, make a commitment to yourself to get back to your regular healthy eating habits the next day. 

It’s your daily habits more than anything that create your long-term success, so enjoy the holiday and all the wonderful food this Thanksgiving. Just don’t make it a new habit, because it takes significantly more time and effort to recover from that.

Preventing Overeating: Weight Loss Strategies to use when Eating Out

Overeating is one of the biggest reasons why people gain weight and have trouble losing fat, so preventing overeating is a key to long-term health and fitness success. This article discusses three tips to minimize overeating when eating out.

     Overeating can make it almost impossible to lose weight, because any time you consume more calories than you burn, your body is forced to store fat. Therefore, if you want to lose weight and fat, it is important to minimize overeating. This article explains three tips you can use to prevent yourself from consuming too many calories when eating out.

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Preventing Overeating: Weight Loss Strategies for Eating at Home

Overeating is one of the biggest reasons why people gain weight and have trouble losing fat, so preventing overeating is a key to long-term health and fitness success. This article discusses four tips to minimize overeating at home.

     Overeating makes it almost impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals, because any time you consume more calories than you burn, your body is forced to store fat. This happens regardless of how healthy you eat, so it is important to avoid overeating as much as possible. This article discusses 4 tips you can use to improve your eating habits at home.

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Tips to Prevent Overeating: General Strategies

Overeating is one of the biggest reasons why people gain weight and have trouble losing fat, so preventing overeating is a key to long-term health and fitness success. This post discusses general tips to help prevent overeating in any situation.

     Overeating is one of the greatest obstacles for people wanting to lose fat, get in shape, and improve their health. Eating too much can make it almost impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals, because any time you consume more calories than you burn, your body will be forced to store more fat. This will happen regardless of how healthy you eat, so it is important to avoid overeating as much as possible.

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Eating Healthy vs. Eating Less Unhealthy

Eating healthy can be a challenge, especially when marketers often try to blur the line between a food being healthy or simply less unhealthy than other options. This post looks at foods that are designed to be healthier versions of other products and explains why they are usually not as good as they initially sound.

     Everyone wants to have a healthy, well functioning body and one of the primary keys to achieving optimal health is healthy eating. However, eating right can be a challenge, especially when so many foods are heavily processed or have added ingredients that are very unhealthy. Another big problem is the way marketers make products sound healthier than they actually are and try to make people content with eating less unhealthy, instead of actually eating healthy.

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Which Organic Foods are Worth the Extra Cost?

Organic foods are continually increasing in popularity, but they can still cost significantly more than regular foods. This post takes a look at different food products to see which ones are worth paying extra to buy organic.

     Organic foods are becoming increasingly more popular and there are a number of reasons why. Organic products are usually more natural, contain fewer unhealthy substances, and they can even have more taste than their non-organic counterparts. Of course, there is a down side to all this, which is that they cost more than regular foods. The price of food is certainly an important consideration, especially in the current economy, so the question many people have is, which organic foods are worth the extra cost?

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Are Organic Foods Better than Non-Organic Foods?

Organic products are becoming more popular all the time, but many people still argue about whether or not organic foods are really better than other foods. This post takes a closer look at the issue by discussing the differences between organic and non-organic foods, as well as the implications for your health.

     Not too long ago, if you wanted to find a decent selection of organic products, you had to go to a specialty health food store. Now you can find organic produce, meats, dairy products and more at almost any grocery store. There is no question that organic foods have increased in popularity in recent years, but many people still have questions about organic products. Perhaps the most common question is, are organic foods really better than non-organic foods?

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