What happens when you eat too much turkey?

It’s that time of year again, where we come together to give thanks for all the things in our lives. For most people, Thanksgiving usually involves gathering around a table with friends and family to enjoy a delicious meal. And what’s at the center of that meal? Turkey! But have you ever wondered what happens when you eat too much turkey?

The Calm Before the Storm

Before we dive into the consequences of consuming copious amounts of turkey, let’s take a brief moment to reflect on why this splendid bird is so popular during Thanksgiving season.

Turkey is an excellent source of protein, vitamins B6 and B12, and minerals like potassium and zinc; however, it also contains tryptophan – an essential amino acid used by your brain to produce serotonin – aka ‘the happy hormone’. So naturally, after devouring some hot tasty turkey meat straight from grandmamas kitchen or seeping in sauce next day would leave nothing but satisfaction taking over your senses.

Eating Too Much Turkey: Good vs Bad

Now that we know how wonderful turkey can be for our bodies let us explore just how harmful excessive consumption of this delectable poultry product can be:


  • Satisfies Hunger
  • Aid in musle growth & immunity (protein)


  • Lethargy & Fatigue
  • Weight Gain due to overeating
  • Tryptophan Overload leading towards Serotonin syndrome

A Deep Dive into Tryptophan Overdose

For all those caught up wondering whether they went on ahead gobbling way too many turkeys such mechanisms are boundless. The basic foundations here lie within tryptophan metabolism within one’s body once ingested.

The speed with which digested tryptophan levels rise will depend primarily on three factors:
1) The overall amount consumed
2) The presence or absence of other macronutrients in the meal
3) Time elapsed since last meal consumption

The human digestive system is an extraordinary machine, breaking down food through a variety of processes that involve both mechanical and chemical reactions. So when our bodies break down protein from turkey, as well as anything else we eat with it, tryptophan enters the body.

Once inside your headquaters (brain), tryptophan gets converted into serotonin which automatically converts to melatonin – a key component necessary for sleep regulation among individuals. This process happens every day regardless if its Thanksgiving season or not., hence making us feel sleepy after dinner.

What are the implications?

Now that we know what factors influence how fast tryptophan will convert to seretonin let’s examine how overconsumption can lead tamper with ones overall health:

Weight gain & lethargy

Turkey isn’t exactly known for being low in calories! With four ounces (approx 113gms) containing roughly 229 calories and around 20% fat content–granted it’s leaner than red meats like beef–but still doesn’t make Turkey meata number one contender on weight loss diets; however this does provide immense nutrition significant enough to aid those trying to put on muscle mass.
It’s no wonder all that extra energy goes towards slowing you down leaving you feeling sluggish.

Tryptophan Overdose (‘Pseudo-Sickness’)

Unknowingly consuming stuffed birds at relative’s homes comes along with distinct issues such as Serotonin Syndrome (too much of one compound).
Even though rare, periodic overdosing may increase risk especially if you suffer celiac disease – temporary intolerance against gluten-rich ingredients within certain foods..
Alongside symptoms experienced here constitute rapid cognitive decline alongside trembling/ excessive sweating leading up-to perhaps unconsciousness even shivering intermittently

The Pro’s and Cons of White Vs Dark Meat

When it comes to turkey meat, you’re probably well aware that it is a combination of white and dark meat. And while most people might gravitate towards the juicy dark stuffing (or vice-versa) from the center )there are different reasons everyone prefers one over another. Below highlights advantages/disadvantages one may face by choosing sides.

Pros Of Choosing Dark/Turkey Thigh Meat;

  • Typically richer in flavor.
  • More moist/fat – resulting softer taste
  • Larger portions : more caloric intake benefitting muscle-growth enthusiasts or even those who need extra calories due to their high metabolic rate.


  • High Fat Content: given its fat composition; Consuming too much could be detrimental for your health
  • Contains Less Protein % compared to white meat

Conversely If we compare pros of white/turkey breast meat versus cons:
Qhat appears as a classic accompaniment with cranberry-sauce happens also bear several advantages:

Fewer Calories means lesser fat percentage/moist content overall

White Turkey has fewer calories per ounce than dark turkey which provides slight edge against unwanted pounds otherwise consumed via other foods unnecessarily. This serves just right especially when taken alongside steamed veggies, sweet potato mash (no butter)–you have delicious meal attempting complex protein sources along with important micro/macronutrients in each part altogether!

Unrealistic Expectations of Turkey Eating Competition:

Who hasn’t fancied themselves jumping into games revolving around being able eat the most food without repercussions inevitably leading up-to competitive frenzy? What’s fun about becoming a glutton anyway?
Don’t allow eagerness or that seemingly achievable goal cloud judgement ALWAYS BE TIMELY.

To sum up, consuming massive amounts of turkey isn’t going to cause major damage immediately (excluding celiac disease), but over time, it could lead to problems such as weight gain or fatigue. So the next time you pile your plate high with turkey, keep these things in mind and enjoy in moderation! Or you’ll be handed quite a big spoonful of mayhem!

Turkey breast is a healthier option, but even that can backfire if consumed excessively; so always remember– portion control must never be overlooking at any given stage of eating.