The holiday season is a time for many of us to eat, drink, be merry, and pass the hell out. Some of you are going to be eating turkey, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if you’re not a turkey. Times is hard, but I know you can get through this; I have faith in you. You will eat all of the things, but the sky will not fall down (unless you’re a small chicken, but that’s a different story), the world won’t crumble, and you won’t fall asleep before you’re done inhaling your second piece of pie – so cool it with the “turkey makes me sleepy” stuff. That turkey is not the culprit that’s crushing your wakeful, festive, holiday buzz. Therefore, it’s also not the best excuse to use if you’re wanting to tap out and dream about sugar plum fairies all afternoon.
Haven’t you ever eaten a turkey sandwich? If you walked into Subway and ordered a Cold Cut Combo on your lunch break, would you get back to your desk and pass out? Ok, maybe you would, but no more than any other day, right? The point is, the closer people get to their impending holiday meal, the more they start talking about the turkey and the tryptophan and the sleepy… and it’s all hooey!
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that we need in our diet, and it’s present in a lot of foods that you probably eat way more often than turkey.
You’ve eaten chicken before, right? Turkey and chicken have the same amount of tryptophan per gram. Do you need an immediate nap after your chicken florentine? Because a 200-calorie serving of spinach has 181mg more tryptophan than the same amount of turkey. So do seeds, cheese, eggs, oat bran, tofu, crustaceans, and bacon – and nobody is complaining about bacon, right? Tryptophan would only make you sleepy if you ate a lot of it on an empty stomach without eating any other amino acids or protein – which is not only difficult to accomplish during a meal, it’s impossible to achieve while eating turkey, because turkey is full of protein. So what’s making you tired after a big turkey dinner?
3 Things That Will Make You Tired from Eating All of the Thanksgiving (and 2 That Won’t)
THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WON’T.
Surely you knew that was coming.
Yes, boozing it up can make you tired.
3.) Holiday Stress
Also notorious for causing fatigue. After dinner, once you’ve begun melting into the sofa because you’re not the one doing dishes… HANG ON.
Stop being a jerk, get off your arse, and go help the dish-doers. They’re probably the same people who cooked all your food, aren’t they. AREN’T THEY.
Ok, so, once you’ve initiated guilt-free relax mode during your long-awaited, brief moment of well-fed, stress-free bliss, you’re likely to start checking your eye-lids for holes, because it’s just all too freaking much sometimes with the kids and the yelling and the in-laws and the shopping and the cleaning and the food- food everywhere my God there is so much food.
You may have heard that it takes a lot to break down a big meal because the extra blood your brain sends to the digestive system makes you really tired, but… actually no. Not according to Dr. Howard Markel of University of Michigan. He explains that being tired because your ‘eyes were bigger than your stomach’ is also a myth, because the blood diverted to your digestive system comes from skeletal and muscle tissues. Your brain, however, is controlled by the cardiovascular system, so there’s no reason for that to make you tired- which means that theory is out… and we already know the turkey theory is out (even though Seinfeld did an entire episode about it)…
So that brings us to…
Dr. Markel says carbs are the key to holiday-meal-induced fatigue, and there’s generally a whole lot of carbs in the average American holiday meal.
Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger the pancreas to release more insulin, which helps muscles absorb amino acids – but not tryptophan. And here’s the kicker: because the carbs cause your muscles to take in more amino acids, the ratio of tryptophan to amino acids in your blood becomes unbalanced. Tryptophan then moves to your spinal fluid, ends up chillin’ in your brain, and gets converted to serotonin, which is eventually metabolized and becomes… melatonin.
In case you aren’t aware, melatonin makes you:
So, do we all understand now?
Turkey = no sleepy.
Turkey + excess carbs = sleepy.
And there you have it: It was carbs all along. Freaking glorious, perfect, deliciously wonderful carbs.
WHY IS IT ALWAYS CARBS