Is it true that eating turkey meat can make you tired?
November 20, 2019 7:08PM
The theory that turkey makes you sleepy stems from the fact that turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan. Our bodies use tryptophan to produce the vitamin B3 or niacin, which is essential to creating serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. Serotonin is also the precursor to the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
The truth is that turkey doesn’t contain any more tryptophan than many other meats, and it even contains slightly less than most cheeses. That means it’s unfair to blame your post-dinner coma on turkey alone.
So, why do we specifically associate Thanksgiving dinner with feeling sleepy? Probably because we’re eating many foods high in tryptophan during the course of the evening, and that tryptophan is amplified by the carbs from rolls, potatoes, and other savory starches. Not to mention the fact that overeating gives the body more digestive work to do, thus using more energy.