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The Truth About Tryptophan

After a big Thanksgiving meal, it's common to feel tired. While many people believe that the tryptophan in turkey is the cause, recent studies have shown that it is actually the release of insulin in our body after a large meal that makes us feel tired.

Here's why:

1. Insulin response: When we eat a large meal, especially one that is high in carbohydrates and fats like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, our body releases insulin to help regulate our blood sugar levels. Insulin helps to transport glucose from our bloodstream into our cells, where it can be used for energy.

2. Increased insulin leads to fatigue: The release of insulin triggers an increase in the uptake of glucose by our cells. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in the levels of glucose in our bloodstream. As a result, our brain receives a signal that our body's energy stores are being replenished, which can make us feel sleepy or tired.

3. Digestion process: The process of digesting a large meal requires a significant amount of energy. After eating, our body diverts a considerable amount of blood flow to the digestive system to break down the food and absorb nutrients. This can also contribute to feelings of tiredness as the body's resources are focused on digestion.

4. Hormonal changes: Along with insulin, other hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK) are released during digestion. CCK plays a role in reducing hunger and promoting feelings of fullness. However, it can also induce relaxation and drowsiness.

It's important to note that while the release of insulin and the digestion process can contribute to feeling tired after a Thanksgiving meal, individual factors such as the quantity and quality of food consumed, as well as personal metabolism, can also influence the degree of fatigue experienced.

So basically, feeling tired after a Thanksgiving meal is not directly caused by the tryptophan in turkey. Instead, it is mainly attributed to the release of insulin in response to a large meal and the energy-intensive process of digestion.

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