The Truth About Tryptophan
Some people believe turkey is the main reason you're sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. But is it?
The turkey myth - turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that forms brain chemicals that make you tired. The fact is turkey isn't any more sleep inducing than other foods. LiveScience says consuming significant amounts of carbohydrates and alcohol may be the real cause of a post-Thanksgiving-meal snooze.
Gram for gram, cheddar cheese and pork contain more tryptophan than turkey does. Thanksgiving carbs trigger the release of insulin, which removes most of the amino acids from your blood, but not tryptophan.
Probably what we're experiencing is the common food coma. Snopes.com says Turkey is not to blame for our sleepiness. Chicken and ground beef contain almost the same amount of tryptophan as turkey - about 350 milligrams per 4-ounce serving. That's a lot lower than the amount typically used to induce sleep which is 500 to 1,000 milligrams.