Researchers: Turkey no more sleep-inducing than other meats

Nov. 30, 2013 at 2:34 PM

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Researchers say the traditional U.S. Thanksgiving turkey contains no more sleep-inducing tryptophan than beef -- and less than pork and cod.

A report in the British Medical Journal said the Thanksgiving dinner is likely to make people sleepy, the New York Daily News reported Saturday. But the researchers suggest the quantity of food consumed, the combination of protein and carbohydrates -- and possibly the wine that washed it all down -- may be to blame.

Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regerstreif Institute exploded the tryptophan myth in a 2007 article with the title "Medical Myths."

"Any large solid meal (such as turkey, sausages, stuffing and assorted vegetables followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter) can induce sleepiness because blood flow and oxygenation to the brain decreases, and meals either high in protein or carbohydrate may cause drowsiness," they said.

The body uses tryptophan, an amino acid, to make serotonin and melatonin, both of which tend to induce sleep.

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