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Turkey coma and other food-mood misconceptions

November 08, 2010|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times
  • It's not just the turkey that makes you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner.
It's not just the turkey that makes you sleepy after Thanksgiving… (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

Food myths, like urban myths, can take on a life of their own.

Take turkey, for example. There’s a misconception popular with the "OMG it contains a chemical that puts me to sleep" crowd.

Or, in Bill Clinton parlance, "It’s the tryptophan stupid!" Except it really isn't, says a Los Angeles Times story that demystifies the turkey coma connection. "Eating any big meal, especially if you also drink alcohol, is likely to make you feel sleepy," psychologist Robin Kanarek at Tufts University says in "The food-mood connection."

Good to know as Americans tuck into around 46 million turkeys over Thanksgiving, according to

The story then debunks a host of other food-mood connections about caffeine, chocolate, carbohydrates and more.

And what about the link between a sugar rush and hyperactive children? Let’s just say this is one story kids should make sure they read to their parents at bedtime -- or anytime.

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