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Does eating Thanksgiving turkey make you tired?

A local dietician answers
thanksgiving meal
thanksgiving meal(KTTC)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 9:11 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Have you ever had that post-thanksgiving meal crash?

“When I eat a full meal I get tired, I feel like I should take a nap,” said Rochester resident Crimson Andrist.

“It doesn’t make me tired, unless I go after helpings a second time and overeat,” said Rochester resident John Kreusel.

Why do we feel so tired after this particular meal?

An age-old myth suggests that turkey might be the culprit, as it contains tryptophan, an amino acid:

“We know that tryptophan can cause tiredness, and so because turkey contains that I think that’s where our mind naturally jumps to.”

But is that actually what gives us that post-meal food fog? The folks we spoke with said it’s probably more than just the turkey:

“I think it’s just the full meal,” said Andrist.

“I just think it’s the food because there’s a lot of food at the table to eat,” said Rochester resident Job Talamantis Jr.

“I think it’s more the food. Eating a lot of it, and then your blood coming to your stomach,” said Job Talamantis “I’ve never really heard of that, that’s something I really want to look into it now.”

After speaking to Kaitlin Bruun, a dietician at the Rochester Athletic Club, it turns out that the post Thanksgiving dinner tired feeling is from the whole meal, and not just the turkey part.

“It’s not because of the turkey itself, it’s because of the pie that we’re having with it, the mashed potatoes, the cranberry sauce, sometimes some alcoholic beverages with that as well, and that can lead us to feeling that crash afterwards. So, it’s not just due to the turkey, it’s due to all the other components in our Thanksgiving meal,” said Bruun.

As to how you fight off that post-meal tiredness? Here are a few tips:

“Preventing that tiredness kind of starts at the beginning of the day, so making sure you’re eating that balanced breakfast, getting some food before your thanksgiving meal, not overindulging on thanksgiving foods, watching portion sizes, staying hydrated, and maybe also getting a walk after dinner too,” said Bruun.

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