The holidays are a joyous and simultaneously stressful time for most people. Caroling, decorating, gathering with family and friends, eating, more eating, and giving thanks are some of the hallmarks of the holiday season. It’s also a time of year that involves some of the world’s most notorious myths, exaggerations, and straight up lies.
Many of the Thanksgiving myths tend to involve food because, well, food is often the focal point. There are many food myths in regards to Thanksgiving, but not all of them are true. Do people eat over three times the calories they should? Yes, but that’s fact and nobody wants to argue that. We want to bust some classic Thanksgiving myths and give you the honest answers you deserve!
Weight Gain Is Inevitable
The classic thought is that everyone gains 15 pounds during the holiday season, but this is an outdated way of thinking. Although the sweets, pies, big meals, and booze can increase the caloric intake, the average American realistically gains one to two pounds from Thanksgiving to the New Year. The problem lies in what happens after the holidays are over. You cannot reverse weight gain, unless you put the effort in. Failure to lose the one to two pounds you gain every holiday season, year after year, adds up and increases bodyweight over time.
Tryptophan Makes You Sleepy
Turkey is a source of tryptophan, which is a component of serotonin, a brain chemical that the body converts to melatonin. Although turkey contains tryptophan, it doesn’t contain enough to induce sleep, especially when compared to other foods. Why does the Thanksgiving meal make you sleepy, then? Well, consider the fact that people eat copious amounts of carbohydrates in the form of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and desserts. Add the sedative effects of alcohol to the equation and it’s a surprise that anyone is able to keep their eyes open before the meal is over.
Canned Pumpkin Isn’t As Healthy As Fresh Pumpkin
More and more people have started to use fresh pumpkins for classic holiday recipes. Pumpkins are excellent sources of beta-carotene and fiber, but canned pumpkin may have a higher nutrient concentration. Typically, canned varieties are not as healthy as fresh ingredients. This is primarily due to added sodium, added sugars, and other preservatives, but 100% pure pumpkin puree is different. It contains more vitamin A and fiber than fresh pumpkin. Just make sure that you don’t grab canned pumpkin pie filling in place of canned pumpkin, as pie filling is replete with sugar and salt!
Turkey Was The Star Of The First Thanksgiving
Turkeys were prevalent in the area during the first Thanksgiving in November 1621, but they weren’t necessarily on the menu. Historical records indicate that the colony governor sent men to hunt fowl for three days leading up to the big feast. The reality is that ducks, geese, and swans were most likely the featured birds on that dinner table.
One Day Of Feasting Will Ruin Your Diet
It’s hard to resist some of the temptations that adorn the Thanksgiving table, and you shouldn’t avoid them. Depriving yourself of these foods can actually lead to overindulgence later on. Enjoying a modest amount of dishes that are outside your diet is perfectly fine, and you should savor these classic holiday flavors. Just remember to do so mindfully, putting the plate down when you are comfortably full, not overflowing. If you’re diligent with your diet, you’ll most likely get right back to it the very next day.
Cranberry Sauce Is Healthy
For many people, cranberry sauce is the condiment that completes the Thanksgiving feast. It provides a sweet and tart flavor that seems to work with the myriad savory items on the plate. Now, whole cranberries, be they fresh or frozen, are naturally low in sugar and rich in a wide variety of antioxidants. Canned cranberry sauce contains added sugars, preservatives, and artificial dyes. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not a healthy condiment. Consider making your own cranberry sauce with real cranberries, raw agave nectar, cinnamon, alcohol-free vanilla extract, and fresh orange zest.