WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WANE) – A nutrition science expert from Purdue University is debunking the “food coma” myth that comes with eating Thanksgiving turkey.

Greg Henderson, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Science, said there is actually a scientific explanation for drowsiness you might feel after a holiday meal– and it doesn’t mean you have to hold back from eating more turkey.

Henderson said people often think turkey contains an excess amount of tryptophan, a chemical compound connected to sleep.

“The nutrition science community doesn’t think that tryptophan is the reason why we feel sleepy after a meal,” Henderson said, adding that turkey has about the same amount of tryptophan as chicken and pork. “Turkey would have to have a lot more tryptophan than other foods you would consume in its place… and it doesn’t.”

The real reason you might feel tired, Henderson explained, is connected to eating larger portions of food around the holidays. For those who are privileged enough to have a table lined with food, filling the dinner plate with all the options at once can lead to

Activating the sympathetic nervous system, Henderson said, can prevent drowsiness after eating.

One way to avoid a “food coma” during the holidays is with social interactions, Henderson said, like playing a game with family or discussing an engaging topic. You can also fight the fatigue through physical activity, like taking a walk, or exposure to cold temperatures.

So, maybe lining up in the winter cold to get Black Friday bargains would do the trick.