Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving story of the day: "The Myth of Tryptophan"
At some point tomorrow the family know-it-all will explain why everyone's sleepy: "It's the tryptophan! Turkey has a natural sedative, and that's why you want to pass out." It's conventional wisdom now, which means it's probably wrong...

...It's a myth. From my detailed research -- i.e., Googling around the Internet -- it appears that the tryptophan in turkey is A) insufficient to knock you out, and B) the wrong kind, anyway. The most likely excuse for drowsiness? Oh, I don't know. It's a mystery. Could have something to do with the 6 pounds of protein and carbs sitting in your belly, and the fact that your body has to rush all available blood to the region to deal with the holiday wad. Add some wine to the mix, and it's a miracle you're not face down in the yams before the pie comes.

Here's an exercise for tomorrow: As soon as someone heads for the couch, blaming the tryptophan, chase him with an ax. He'll wake fast and run in panic, just like a turkey. And they're full of the stuff.
(Via Cosmic Log.)