Eating turkey on Thanksgiving makes you sleepy because of the high levels of tryptophan (one of the nine essential amino acids) in the meat, right?? Most likely not.
(Image source: Wikipedia)
While the conclusive verdict is still out, a little critical thinking and knowledge of food chemistry, physiology, and psychology reveals that the carbohydrates and relaxation of usual restraints during the holiday have more to do with the drowsiness than the turkey. In fact, cheese has more tryptophan in it than turkey and other meats like beef and chicken have about the same amount.
Read a more detailed discussion of this at Blog Around the Clock on Scientific American Blogs.
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- "Turkey talk: Two American Chemical Society videos digest Thanksgiving myth and fact," American Chemical Society
- TLC: Is there something in turkey that makes you sleepy?
- LiveScience.com: Thanksgiving myth: Turkey makes you sleepy
- Phys.org: Myth: Eating turkey makes you sleepy
- RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Netherlands): interesting study on putting chocolate in cigarettes (PDF) as a method for tryptophan delivery
- Snopes: The Big Sleep
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Latest Release