Thanksgiving Food Truths and Myths We Just Can't Shake

PHOTO: Contrary to popular belief, eating turkey on Thanksgiving does not make a person sleepy.
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Will your Thanksgiving turkey put you to sleep? Can the stuffing give you salmonella poisoning?

Well, here's the straight story on health myths and facts surrounding the Thanksgiving feast.

Turkey Dinner Makes You Sleepy

Many of us have turkey sandwiches for lunch and don't feel sleepy, but a Thanksgiving turkey dinner seems to slip us into food coma.

While turkey seems to be the likely culprit, it's time to put this myth to bed.

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.

While the turkey is the spotlight of Thanksgiving, the cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, yams, corn, stuffing, wine and biscuits makes the meal complete.

"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. So don't blame it all on the turkey.

Canned Foods Contain Cancer Causing BPA

For many of us, there aren't enough hours during Thanksgiving Day to prepare all the food from scratch, especially when you're expecting more family members than the space you have to host them.

It's inevitable that many of us will reach for quick and easy canned corn and cranberry sauce to fulfill hungry guests.

But 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 has a potential carcinogen.

Previous studies suggest BPA levels found in urine may be associated with miscarriages, male infertility, and behavior issues in girls. But it's unclear how much BPA, considered to be a hormone disrupter, can be considered harmful and what level of exposure might cause potentially harmful effects.

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

It's the holiday afterparty for some: The pounding head, rocky stomach, the hangover.

You've probably taken all sorts of advice from your friends and family, but the advice you shouldn't take is to drink more alcohol.

"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

Don't pass up the sweets because of acne fears.

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."

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