Thanksgiving turkey and sleep — tryptophan isn’t the reason

Thanksgiving dinner

The old Thanksgiving turkey and tryptophan causing sleep myth appears every year on the fourth Thursday in November when the United States celebrates a holiday called Thanksgiving. You’ll hear about it over and over and over.

Basically, after eating mountains of food, including turkey, one of the guests at the table (fully vaccinated, of course) will pontificate about how eating turkey, which they claim is high in tryptophan, makes everyone want to sleep after the meal. 

Continue reading “Thanksgiving turkey and sleep — tryptophan isn’t the reason”

The turkey tryptophan myth – Uncle George keeps repeating it

turkey tryptophan myth

Every year, on the fourth Thursday in November, the United States celebrates a holiday called Thanksgiving. Part of the tradition, along with watching football (the American version), is eating mountains of food, including a roasted turkey. And this is where Uncle George regales the guests with the turkey tryptophan myth – that is, eating a mountain of turkey, which he claims is high in tryptophan, makes you sleepy.

Because I know the average reader of this blog is pro-science and snarky, I post this article for you to embarrass Uncle George.  And you just know that Uncle George denies climate change and thinks vaccines are dangerous. But let’s get back to that to Thanksgiving and the turkey tryptophan myth.

Only a few countries celebrate Thanksgiving, and just a handful of countries eat turkey in any amount, other than the USA and Canada. Surprisingly, 87% of English holiday dinners will include turkey, a bird that is native to North America. So maybe your British Uncle George will tell the same turkey tryptophan myth during dinner. Or supper, I suppose. 

Anyway, in case you want to impress friends and family, the other places that celebrate Thanksgiving, similar to the USA and Canada, are Liberia (which is populated by descendants of freed slaves who returned to Africa from the US), Grenada (a small English-speaking island in the Caribbean), Puerto Rico (a Spanish-speaking territory of the USA), and Norfolk Island, an Australian territory of like 1500 people.

The only thing I thought that was on Norfolk Island was the Norfolk Island pine. Apparently, American whaling ships would stop there and celebrate the holiday

For Americans, the holiday celebrates white English settlers arriving in North America. The tales usually include some peaceful sharing of food between the white settlers and Native Americans (a nice myth without much actual historical support) prior to the first winter.

Canada’s backstory on Thanksgiving is much more complicated, including ships getting stuck in ice and other legends – it is very Canadian.

In both Canada and the USA, the celebration includes several tonnes of food (per person) which a roast turkey. Other foods may include mashed potatoes, yams (sweet potatoes), other meats, pies, corn, stuffing, and more food. It is a high-calorie meal of epic portions!

Just because this is my blog, let me state one simple fact – pumpkin pie is garbage. I hate that thing.

Generally, everyone, after finishing this dinner, would want to take a long nap. Thus, we find the origin stories of the turkey tryptophan math. However, the science of eating, sleeping, turkey, and tryptophan doesn’t support this myth. Not even close.

Well enough cultural history. This is a science blog, let’s talk about the science that debunks the turkey tryptophan myth. And because I think Uncle George is a blowhard. 

Continue reading “The turkey tryptophan myth – Uncle George keeps repeating it”

Help the feathery dinosaur for Thanksgiving – please

Help the feathery dinosaur

We are coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA, where we all fall asleep watching football and consuming turkey.  And we still have to ask readers out there to help the feathery dinosaur keep the website running for the next few months.

Admittedly, the feathery dinosaur is someone offended that one of his relatives, the distinguished turkey, is a part of this meal.

Right now, we’ve gotten about 60% of necessary funds from all of your generous donations. We’ve removed many of the ads that drag down performance of this website (we hope someone has noticed). We will going to leave a couple up because they don’t appear to have much of an effect on loading time. But we will monitor it.

There probably won’t be many posts for the next few days, because we’ve got a project on this website that’s caused by the vexatious (not really) Orac, who was forced to move his website to a new domain.  Actually, Orac gets better control over his website doing this, so that’s great for him, but an inside source said it took some work to get it done.

Unfortunately, we have literally 100s of links to his old domain. And we need to fix each of them – everyone hates broken links. As we review these links and articles, we might repost old favorites for your reading pleasure.

So, if you have the wherewithal, please help the feathery dinosaur. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.

Or you can use GoFundMe, if you prefer. They take off about 7%, but we know many people feel more comfortable with the anonymity of GoFundMe.

So click either the GoFundMe or PayPal buttons below to be taken to the secure website where you can contribute to the cause.

(Note – for some strange reason occasionally, the PayPal button doesn’t work, a problem on PayPal’s side. If that happens, try the PayPal button along the right sidebar, which almost always works.)

We regularly revise the goal level on GoFundMe to include amounts we’ve received through PayPal. We started with a goal of $4000 and we’re already down to needing only around $1900 more.

Please help out the funding of this website for both the short term and long term. The feathery dinosaur thanks you.

About that tryptophan and turkey making you sleepy–not so fast

turkey-dinnerA tiny handful of countries, most notably the US and Canada, celebrate a holiday called Thanksgiving. In the USA, the holiday is held on the fourth Thursday in November and more or less starts the so called holiday season which ends with New Year. In most of Canada (excluding the Atlantic provinces), the holiday is held on the second Monday in October.

For trivia purposes only, the other places that celebrate a similar Thanksgiving are Liberia (which is populated by descendants of freed slaves who returned to Africa from the US), Grenada (a small English-speaking island in the Caribbean), Puerto Rico (a Spanish-speaking territory of the USA), and Norfolk Island Australia. Australia?

Generally, the holiday celebrates white English settlers arriving in North America. The tales usually include some peaceful sharing of food between the white settlers and native Americans (a nice myth without much actual historical support) prior to the first winter. Canada’s back story on Thanksgiving is much more complicated, including ships getting stuck in ice and other legends.

In both Canada and the USA, the celebration includes tons of food (per person) including a roast (usually) turkey. Other foods may include mashed potatoes, yams (sweet potatoes), other meats, pies, corn, stuffing, and more food. It is a high calorie meal of epic portions!

There’s a legend that eating this meal, specifically the turkey, fills your body with tryptophan, and you fall asleep.

Nice story, but the science of eating, sleeping and turkeys doesn’t support this myth. Not even close. Continue reading “About that tryptophan and turkey making you sleepy–not so fast”