Food Myths: Thanksgiving Dinner Debunked
By Thomas DeLauer
Watch as HYLETE Community Captain, Thomas DeLauer debunks one of the biggest Thanksgiving myths. Rest-easy this holiday and enjoy Thanksgiving with the people you love the most.
Relax this turkey day! Put your flexion gear on and appreciate its superior comfort and breathability.
Tryptophan- an amino acid that is a constituent of most proteins. Orexin- a neuro transmitter that regulates appetite and sleep. Postprandial fatigue- a state of drowsiness following a meal. Circadian rhythm- the body‚Äôs 24-hour internal clock.
About Thomas DeLauer
From 280 lbs. to the magazine covers... All by living a lifestyle that is honest and real. Thomas DeLauer brings the nutrition expertise along with a unique perspective on health and wellness that is everything HYLETE.
The following is a transcription of the above video:
Way too many people get freaked out about Thanksgiving. They get freaked out about the holidays in general because they think that they're eating all the wrong things. Well, I'm going to flip everything upside down here for you, so that you can get through the holidays a little bit easier, but also so that we can clear up some of these myths. I'm going to give you some solutions and some tips and tricks that you can use to make it so that your Thanksgiving is a little bit easier and that you're not buying into the biggest Thanksgiving meal myth that's out there.
Let's talk first about this tryptophan link, okay? Everyone seems to think that when you consume turkey that you're taking in so much tryptophan that you get tired, and that's exactly why after we have Thanksgiving dinner we end up getting super sleepy and want to just veg out on the couch watching football. That's not quite the case. But if we do understand how tryptophan works, it does help us out a little bit. You see, what's going on is when you consume tryptophan you're consuming an amino acid that causes a chain reacting within the body.
You see, what happens is tryptophan goes into the cell, into the brain, and therefore converts into serotonin, which ultimately turns into melatonin. And melatonin, of course, puts you to sleep. But the thing is, is that tryptophan can not get into the brain unless insulin is present. Okay, so tryptophan, which of course is in turkey, isn't going to actually make you sleepy unless it's in conjunction with carbohydrates. Now, I'm sure if you knew this or not, but tryptophan is not all that high in turkey. In fact, believe it or not, there's more tryptophan in nuts and more tryptophan in many seeds and even cheeses than there is in turkey.
So I don't know where that started, but I think that it has something to do with the fact that they want us to consume more of the starchy carbs, that are totally backed by all these different companies and by these different lobbyists, and a little bit less of the meat. And it just makes sense, it's kind of a natural progression that we've evolved in, especially in America. So, if we look at how this process works, that's not why we're getting sleepy. So here's the thing. Flip it on its head, go ahead and consume a little bit more of the meat that you want to be consuming, because it's not going to make you tired. In fact, it's only going to benefit you.
So we've got hams, we've got different kinds of beefs that you could use along with your Thanksgiving dinner, or at least in the general vicinity of that same timeline. So you don't have to just be doing turkey, you can be doing beef, you could be doing whatever you want.
So now let's talk about what's actually causing this situation, okay? The main thing is postprandial fatigue. That is why you're getting tired, and it's a pretty cut and dry, simple thing. You see, carbs play the biggest role in the tryptophan uptake. So like I said, that tryptophan can't get in to make you tired without the carbs. Well, by and large, by ratio, generally with Thanksgiving we're consuming like 70% carbs, 20% protein, and like 10 to 15% fat, somewhere in there. We're actually not consuming a whole, whole lot of fat, depending on what kind of gravy you're using. Most of us are eating the white meat chicken and then we're having stuffing, and then we're having mashed potatoes. We might put some butter on it, but by far it's a carb-dominant meal. Okay, you're having this postprandial fatigue that's happening from the tryptophan getting in and causing this issue.
How do you keep yourself from getting tired? Cut the carbs down a little bit, try to increase the fats a little bit. Even if you're having some carbs too, sub them out for fats. Trust me, it will make life a lot better. Of course, insulin, obviously, like I just started talking about, insulin plays a big role. So you're consuming these carbs and then you have a big spike of insulin. That insulin's going to open the cell doorways so that the carbs can get in, the blood sugar just went up, now the blood sugar is crashing. So of course you have an issue.
But one thing that people don't talk about a lot is something known as orexin. Okay, orexin is a specific neurotransmitter and orexin plays a huge, huge, huge role in why you're tired, but also why the cravings can be so bad, okay? So if you can control the cravings that occur after Thanksgiving ... And I'm talking like subconscious neurotransmitter-related cravings. So you have your big Thanksgiving dinner, then you go, you sleep for a little bit while you watch some football and then you wake up and you're not even hungry but for some reason something's telling you you're hungry so you have a bunch of pumpkin pie, okay? And then you're beyond full. And it's happening at a subconscious level and it all has to do with different neurotransmitters that are almost putting you in, for a lack of a better term, a hypnotic state.
So this orexin neurotransmitter promotes wakefulness, okay? So without orexin we get tire. And what happens is insulin inhibits this, so insulin inhibits orexin. So orexin, which would normally allow you to be awake and feel alive and alert would make it so that, of course, you're not feeling that, you're feeling tired. And then again, we have the double whammy effect, insulin allowing all this to occur. You just get tired, but you also gain weight with it because then you're suppressing your noradrenaline and your adrenaline levels. A good example would be if you have some coffee then you don't feel as hungry because you have enough noradrenalin and adrenalin that's riding you through, it's carrying you through. You don't have the desire to eat, you don't have these big old undulations of blood sugar. This, without orexin, you're going to have to deal with those issues. So basically you're killing off your adrenalin, noradrenalin, and you just want to chill out and sleep.
So the other one we want to talk about is the circadian rhythm. You see, we're eating at a terrible time when it comes down to Thanksgiving. And I'm not trying to ruin Thanksgiving for you, I'm just trying to give you some tips and tricks here and I'm helping you understand why, okay? We have a drop in our core body temperature that occurs towards the end of the day, which is one of the reasons why we get tired. That dropping core body temperature again is, voila, what signals melatonin. But we also have a small drop in core body temperature that occurs between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. So, it's like starts out high, starts ... Well, actually it starts low, comes up high midday, then starts to drop again. But it takes a big drop from about 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., which is, guess what? Right around when we're having Thanksgiving.
So what you might want to start doing is doing some things to elevate your core body temperature a little bit before you have your Thanksgiving meal. so a lot of people will try to starve themselves throughout the course of the day. They'll almost do like a variation of intermittent fasting in an improper sense. So I know so many people, they'll have a small breakfast and maybe they'll just eat a little bit of snack and then they'll just say, ""I'm not going to eat because I'm going to have Thanksgiving dinner."" That's one of the worst things that you can do, okay?
You need to either cut and dry intermittent fast before you go into Thanksgiving dinner or, better yet, intermittent fast, start your fast the night before or maybe a little bit earlier, like 7:00 p.m. or so. Then fast all the way until like maybe 1:00 p.m. and then eat something, eat some protein so you get your core body temperature up, okay? Eat some good amounts of protein, use that ButcherBox that I talked about, capitalize on that. Get some good, inexpensive meat that's high quality, get your core body temperature up, then you're not going to have to deal with that drop.
So not only is your metabolism going to be slightly elevated after a fast, but you're going to have the thermic effect of food that's working to your advantage. Then when it comes down to consuming your actual Thanksgiving meal, you're not also going to town, you're getting a lot more control. You see, it's all being calculated. Eat a little bit of protein, maybe a little bit of fat, then go into Thanksgiving. Your family might look at you and say, ""Why are you eating? You're about to have Thanksgiving dinner."" But just tell them you know what you're doing, and tell that Thomas told you.
So here it is, the big Thanksgiving myth, and this doesn't just apply for Thanksgiving, it's going to apply for Christmas, it's going to apply for all kinds of other holiday meals that you're going to encounter. And the trick will always remain, fast, break the fast, then the meal. It gives you a little bit more flexibility, it allows the insulin to come back to normal a little bit so you don't have the insulin sensitivity that gives you a big spike. It just makes it happen and it makes it easy.
So as always, make sure you're keeping it locked in here on my channel. If you're digging videos like this that give you some more tactical things that you can do around the holidays or specific meals, make sure you let me know. I'll see you in the next video.