(NEW YORK) -- Will your Thanksgiving turkey put you to sleep? Can the stuffing give you salmonella poisoning?
Here's the straight story on health myths and facts surrounding your Thanksgiving feast:
Turkey Dinner Makes You Sleepy
Turkey does contain a protein called tryptophan which can act like a natural sedative. But a large amount -- meaning more than just a few slices of turkey -- would have to be consumed alone on an empty stomach to make you feel sleepy.
"A more likely scenario is the huge number of calories that people consume rather than the turkey meat," said Dr. Lou Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.
A large number of calories consumed from the whole meal produce intestinal hormones which can make you sleepy, said Aronne.
Canned Foods Contain Cancer Causing BPA
A recent report released by the Breast Cancer fund suggests that canned foods may contain traces of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in the lining of cans, which has been implicated as a potential carcinogen. Still, many experts said that not all cans contain BPA, and the levels in the cans that do have it are too small to ruin your Thanksgiving meal.
"There are more anti-cancer properties in having vegetables than not eating because of the can," said Aronne.
Drinking More Can Cure that Holiday Hangover
"Most hangover cures are by and large not effective besides sleeping and hydrating with water," said Arrone.
Drinking more will only help you get drunk again, which is only a temporary cure for what's sure to be a stronger hangover, he said. Worse, drinking alcohol to cure a hangover could lead to more dehydration, which can lead to serious health problems.
Holiday Desserts Can Cause Acne
Acne is due to hormone changes in the body and not by consuming sweet or fried food, experts said.
"The problem is that high-fat finger foods gets greasy and you put those fingers up to your face," said Keith Ayoob, Director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "If you don't wash carefully and often, this may clog pores."
Salmonella from Turkey Stuffing
Stuffing a turkey while raw or not fully cooked can contaminate the stuffing with bacteria like salmonella. Heat can kill some of the bacteria, but because the stuffing is hidden inside the turkey, some of it may not reach the 160 degrees needed to kill off the bacteria.
"If it does reach that temperature then the bird could be overdone," said Ayoob.
While the salmonella risk can be staved off if the stuffing is warm when added to the turkey, you may end up having another problem on your hands.
"But all the turkey fat drips into the stuffing," said Ayoob. "Do we really need another source of fat in a Thanksgiving meal side dish?"
Cook the stuffing and turkey separately, marry them later, and the problem will be solved, he said.
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