Sugar doesn’t make kids hyperactive and turkey doesn’t make you sleepy.
Turkey doesn't actually make you sleepy.
Turkey making you sleepy is one myth that gets repeated often around the festive season – and especially at Thanksgiving in the US. Turkey's supposed sleep-inducing properties were even mentioned in an episode of Seinfeld. But they don't hold up to scientific scrutiny.
But the levels of tryptophan in turkey are not high enough to induce that effect, and are comparable to those in other meats. In their book Don't Swallow Your Gum (Penguin, 2009), Dr Aaron Carroll and Dr Rachel Vreeman write:
“The amount of tryptophan in a single 4-ounce serving of turkey (350 milligrams) is also lower than the amount typically used to induce sleep. The recommendations for tryptophan supplements to help you sleep are 500 to 1,000 milligrams.”
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It's not comfort food that makes you feel better.
After a tough day or a break-up it's often food we turn to for comfort. But according to a recent study published in the journal Health Psychology, it's time – not comfort food – that makes people feel better.
A hundred people watched a 20-minute film designed to make them sad and angry. The group who ate their specially chosen comfort food afterwards did have significant improvements in their mood, but no more than the groups who ate other foods or no food at all. From this, the study authors concluded: “You don't need comfort food to feel better; the mind will do the trick all on its own if you give it time.”
However, if you do choose to cook and eat a family-size macaroni cheese in that time, it's entirely your own business.
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It doesn't take seven years for chewing gum to work its way through you if you swallow it.
Gastroenterologist Roger Liddle from the Duke University School of Medicine told Scientific American: “Nothing would reside that long, unless it was so large it couldn't get out of the stomach or it was trapped in the intestine.”
Most of what gum is made of is indigestible. Some components, such as the sweeteners, will break down, and the rest of the gum will pass through pretty much undisturbed.
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Celery doesn't have negative calories.
Some foods – particularly celery – are touted as having “negative calories”, meaning your body supposedly uses up more calories digesting them than you get from the food itself.
So let's look at the numbers: A large stick of celery has something like 10 calories, but Dr Tim Garvey, chair of the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, US, told the BBC that it only takes something like two calories to digest it. “In actuality there are no negative-calorie foods,” he said.
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