Thanksgiving Nutrition

Health blogger Hannah Wallace dispels some popular Thanksgiving nutrition myths.

By Megan McDonald November 21, 2012

By Hannah Wallace

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The Calorie Myth:

Apparently (though I don’t remember ever hearing this figure), the standard estimation of the calories Thanksgiving meal is 4,500. Incorrect, says The New York Times! A particularly generous estimation of a “typical” Thanksgiving meal still only puts the total at around 2,500 calories. Perhaps your boozy uncle could crack the 4,500 mark if he adds 16 or so glasses of wine to the evening…but then, he probably wouldn’t be eating that much to begin with.

(My favorite part of that article: “Moreover, consuming about 1,500 calories in one sitting releases a nausea-causing hormone.” There’s a thought that’ll haunt you as you head up for seconds.)

The Tryptophan Myth:

I’ve been espousing this point the last few Thanksgivings, but I’ll say it again: Don’t blame the tryptophan in turkey for your post-dinner drowsiness. For starters, turkey doesn’t have an inordinate amount of tryptophan—about as much as any other fowl. In short: You’re bound to get tired after you gorge yourself, especially when carbs are involved (yay mashed potatoes!). There’s more info in our November Health Report here, plus an awesome recipe for a healthier sweet potato casserole. (Did you know that sweet potatoes have more potassium than bananas?)

Now that you’re in the know, go ahead and enjoy your meal! Consider it fuel for your Black Friday adventures…

Read Hannah Wallace's Health Report in our November issue by clicking here.

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