Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

It’s not the turkey’s fault!

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on November 25, 2008

Have you heard the news? Turkey is not to blame for the post-meal Thanksgiving naps. It’s been well-known for years that turkey contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin, the neurotransmitter than regulates sleep.

However, tryptophan makes up 1% of the protein in turkey. One percent is the typical content of meat and actually half the tryptophan content of milk (2.34%).

Instead of turkey being at the root of Thanksgiving Dad sleepiness, it’s the carbohydrates in all those side dishes – stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. The extra carbohydrates boost insulin production. It’s speculated that this extra insulin may result in amino acids (excluding tryptophan) to be pulled into muscles for use, leaving a high level of tryptophan in the bloodstream, hence the need for a nap.

Have a great turkey day!

Lisa Nelson, RD


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