5 Holiday Food Myths Busted


BySarah-Jane Bedwell,SELF magazine

We've all heard that eating turkey makes us tired, that weight gain during the holidays is inevitable, and that certain holiday foods can give you indigestion. But who knows if these things are myth or fact? I set out to find the facts and set the record straight this holiday season!

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1. Eating turkey will make you sleepy: Myth
While turkey does contain an amino acid called tryptophan which plays a role in the sleep-inducing process, the amount in turkey is not enough to create this effect. If you feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner it's more likely to be from eating such a large meal high in carbs and fat, which sends blood rushing to your digestive tract, away from the brain (where it keeps you alert).

2. You should exercise before a holiday meal or party to help balance your food intake: Fact.

Although some people fear that exercising before a dinner or a party will lead them to eat more, research actually shows the opposite is true. Moderate exercise before a big dinner or party will actually boost your metabolism and can even slightly suppress your appetite.

See more:
12 Ways to Think Yourself Slim

3. If you have indigestion after a meal, it was most likely due to something you ate: Myth
While it's true that some favorite holiday foods can trigger indigestion (because they're high in fat), other factors such as the environment in which you ate can also play a role. Holiday stress, eating too quickly, or nervousness can also lead to indigestion.

4. Most people gain between 5-10lbs. during the holiday season: Myth

While it is important to be mindful of our eating during the holidays, there is no need to stress out too much about it. Most people think they gain close to 10lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but one study showed that the average weight gain was only around a pound.

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5. You should eat your normal meals and snacks leading up to parties and holiday dinners: Fact

Many people skip meals and snacks leading up to holiday events in an effort to "save" calories for the party or dinner. The problem with this is that by the time they are presented with food at the party or dinner, they are so hungry that they end up overeating. So a better strategy is to eat balanced meals and snacks as you normally would and then enjoy a reasonable portion of food at the party or dinner.

So know that you know your healthy holiday facts, you can enjoy the season the smart way!

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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio