Does Tryptophan in Turkey Cause Food Coma?

November 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Digestion, Protein


You hear it every year around Thanksgiving time: the turkey is to blame for your after dinner food coma. But is that really true?

As with most things in internet nutrition lore – the answer is, “Not exactly.”

Tryptophan is one of the 9 essential amino acids that your body can’t process, so it needs to get from food.

Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids, and all animal foods are complete proteins. Since turkey is an animal food, it falls in this category.

Tryptophan plays many roles in the body, but one thing it does is serve as a precursor to serotonin, a sleep inducing chemical. Hence…the turkey tryptophan and sleep connection.

But the reality is, there is no more tryptophan in turkey than in many other animal or meat products.

The real reason you’re probably falling asleep after Thanksgiving is because you’re sated (or oversated) and ready to start digesting all of those nutrients, including the tryptophan!

You can learn more about the tryptophan – and other nutrient content – of your favorite foods by using the USDA’s Nutrient Database sort by nutrient website search (select Tryptophan from the dropdown menu).

School Lunch Showdown: Pack or Purchase?

November 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Dietary Patterns, Fat


When it comes to school lunch, parents are faced with one of two choices: pack or purchase.

So which school lunch is healthier? The answer might surprise you.

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior showed that when you pack a kid’s lunch, it is more likely to contain more fat, saturated fat and sugar.

Compare that to school lunches, which are higher in protein, fiber, vitamin A, and calcium.

This particular study looked at 1,314 school lunches: 562 of which were packed and 752 were school-purchased. The researchers found that packed lunches were generally less nutritious than those purchased at schools.

Nationwide, about 40% of American kids bring a packed lunch to school. For more information about the benefits of school nutrition, check out the USDA’s National School Lunch Program website at

How Does Your Adult FITTness Stack Up?


You may remember taking part in the President’s Challenge Fitness Test when you were in elementary school. Millions of American school children have participated in a battery of tests as part of their school-based physical education for decades.

It may have been years since you took PE, but as an adult, you can still test out how your fitness falls by completing the President’s Challenge: Adult Fitness Test.

The adult version of the popular test challenges older Americans to a battery of tests, including:

  • Aerobic Fitness Test: 400 meter walk, 1 mile walk, or 1.5 mile run
  • Muscular Strength & Endurance Test: Half-Sit Up & Push-Up
  • Flexibility Test: Sit & Reach
  • Body Composition Test: BMI & Waist Circumference

Each of the tests has a component that focuses on the FITT principle to improve your fitness. FITT stands for:

  • F – Frequency: how often do you exercise?
  • I – Intensity: how intensely or strenuously do you work out?
  • T – Time: how long do you exercise for?
  • T – Type: what type or kind of activities are you engaging in?

By gradually upping your Frequency, Intensity, Time, or Type of exercise, you can improve your overall fitness level.

So jump online and test out your adult fitness today! To learn more about The President’s Challenge Adult Fitness Test, click here.