Happy Thanksgiving!

College student explains the Thanksgiving sleepiness.

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Here’s wishing my  readers that celebrate it a happy thanksgiving.  I know I for one am thankful for the break; these past few weeks have been punching my dick into oblivion with all the classwork.  For everyone else readers, well, happy Thursday to you.

One thing people believe about their upcoming meal of turkey and all the other foods out there is that the turkey meat knocks you into a coma.  It makes sense.  When do a lot of people eat turkey meat?  Thanksgiving.  But, what if I was to say that this thought process is wrong, and it seems to be more the meat is at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The theory on the Post-Thanksgiving Meal Coma is that turkey is high in the amino acid, L-Tryptophan.  Tryptophan (in biochemical terms, the “L” simply means if it is facing one way or another) is a precursor to serotonin and melanin.  Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate things like appetite, sleeping, and mood.  Melanin is the neurotransmitter responsible for sleep cycle regulation.  So here is where the misconception is.  Everyone knows turkey is high in tryptophan, which means that eating it causes your body to produce more sleepy-time chemicals.  Case solved, let’s go get hella wasted.  But not so fast, Capt. Drunko, there is more to this case than association.

Foods high in tryptophan include red meat and cheese.  Basically foods that are in almost every single meal in America.  Which is odd, because by that logic, people who eat a cheeseburger should be passing out once they eat their meal.  Huh, interesting.  So after all that biochemical bullshit using words I learned in my biochemistry class, that was NOT the reason why people get sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner?

Well, there is actually a very simple reason that might have been overlooked.  We really need to get to the heart of this.  Or actually, more like the cardiac sphincter.  As in the stomach.  You see, digestion requires energy.  The stomach and intestines actually have muscles that need blood.  When you consume a lot of food, there is a lot of blood needed in this area, and not in others, like your skeletal muscles.  What is a good way to make sure more blood goes to the gut, and not anywhere else?  Immobilize the person.  So essentially, the reason you get tired is because you ate too much.  Kinda interesting to think about, right?

Change in the House of Food: The Upcoming Changes to the Nutrition Panel

A brief run-down of what changes to the food label the FDA is implementing soon.

There are some changes happening with the nutrition panel.  You know, that thing on the back of foods that you might or might not look at, depending on how much you care (or how much you want to scare yourself with some foods).  These changes come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), citing things like updated research, better links between food and chronic disease, and easier readability.

Some of the changes include bolding the amount of Calories per serving, and removing the Calories from Fat information.  Labels still need to put fat content on the label, but research shows the type of fat matters more than the amount of Calories from eating it.  Instead of being required to list vitamins A and C on food labels, manufacturers are now required to put vitamin D and potassium on the label.  The amount of added sugars is also being listed, as it has been found that excess sugar consumption can make it difficult to reach nutrient goals.  Below is a picture highlighting the relevant information:

difference.png

© US Food and Drug Administration 2016

The label is also changing the serving size of many foods.  The serving size is now being based off of what people actually eat, rather than what manufacturers think people should eat.  This means some packages that are typically eaten in one sitting are now listed as one serving.  Other packages might have multiple columns; one showing per reference serving, and one showing per package.  To make sense of this, the serving size of soda is going up from 8 oz. to 12 oz.  A 20 oz. bottle would be labeled as one serving, because it is less than two servings.  A 24 oz. bottle would be dual columned, one for the 12 oz. serving, and one for the whole bottle, since people often consume this in one sitting.  Again, below is a picture from the FDA detailing the changes:

serving-sizes

© US Food and Drug Administration 2016

So, when can people expect this change to happen?  In July 26th, 2018, food manufacturers that make more than 10 million in sales are required to update to the new label, whereas those who make less than 10 million have until 2019 to comply.

So what do you guys think?  Is this change a beneficial one, a negative one, or something in between?

For more information check out the FDA website here.