Physiology

Tryptophan In Turkey Is Not What Makes You Sleepy

Announcement: the Curiosity Podcast is finally here! Subscribe on iTunes here, Google Play Music here and add the RSS feed to your favorite podcast player. If you love it please consider leaving us a review.

There are many myths surrounding the essential amino acid tryptophan and Thanksgiving dinner. When tryptophan is taken on its own at certain doses on an empty stomach, it can make you sleepy. However, the tryptophan levels in turkey are not what is causing post-meal drowsiness—sleepiness after Thanksgiving dinner is due to the huge quantity of carbohydrates your body received in a single sitting. When you overeat, your body diverts blood to your stomach and the rest of the digestive system to handle the overload. Most American consumes as many or more calories during Thanksgiving dinner than in a single normal day. In addition, there are lower levels of tryptophan in turkey than in chicken.

The Tryptophan In Turkey Doesn't Make You Drowsy

So why the long-held myth?

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. It is a myth that the tryptophan in turkey is what makes people drowsy after Thanksgiving dinner. 00:21

  2. Tryptophan levels in turkey are actually lower than those found in chicken. 01:06

  3. Drowsiness after eating Thanksgiving dinner is caused by an overload of carbohydrates. 01:26

How Do Food Comas Work?

You can thank those carbs.

Share the knowledge!

Can Certain Foods Cause Nightmares?

Candy for bed has long been blamed for bad dreams.

Share the knowledge!
Advertisement