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The Turkey Tryptophan Myth


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I think it’s time to finally disprove the whole turkey-tryptophan myth. For some reason turkey has developed the rep of being extremely high in tryptophan-one of the main reasons why most of America gets so sleepy after a MASSIVE  Thanksgiving meal.

Tryptophan, one of the 20 essential amino acids, is responsible for the production of serotonin, a substance that regulates appetite, sleep patterns, and mood. In some ways the myth is true…turkey does have tryptophan, about 350 mg per 200 calorie serving. The reason why it’s absolutely a myth is because the tryptophan content in turkey is basically identical to that of other types of meat and poultry, including pork, chicken, beef, salmon, and lamb. I don’t see people falling asleep on the couch every time they eat chicken or a hamburger…

And really if you think about it, most people don’t eat a lot of turkey on Thanksgiving…we pig out on the sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and all of those other calorically dense foods. We get tired and sleepy because we eat so much in one sitting, and as a result our body has to spend the majority of its energy burning off those calories, carbs, fats, and sugars.

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Bryan DiSanto

Owner & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
Bryan DiSanto is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, ACE-CPT & CSN, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness/nutrition nutjob.

When he’s not working on his (or somebody else’s) abs, whipping up Eggocados, or running a Tough Mudder, he’s probably off yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.