Considering how much we humans love shoveling food into our mouths (over the sink, late at night, struggling to see through the tears), you'd think we had a good grasp on what it is we're eating and what it does to our bodies. However, as it turns out, most of the things you probably believe about your favorite foods are about as scientifically accurate as Timecop. To wit ...
6 Myth: Turkey Makes You Sleepy (As Does Warm Milk)
Thanksgiving is the official holiday of three things: football, genocide, and naps. You're already tuckered out after a long day of making hand turkeys and fighting with your uncle about what the word "socialist" means, and then you load yourself up with a competitive eater's portion of hot, steamy bird meat. Your fragile body is no match for the turkey's almighty tryptophan, a sedative so powerful that they could probably use it in the blow darts they use to tag wild animals. You wind up falling asleep before halftime of the Detroit Lions game.
National Football League
Which, to be fair, is the body's natural defense mechanism when confronted with Detroit Lions football.
But Actually ...
According to nutritionists, food science researchers, and people who aren't your grandparents, turkey and warm milk are not sedatives. It's true that turkey has tryptophan (an amino acid that eventually becomes serotonin and melatonin, neurochemicals which do play a role in getting your brain to fall asleep). However, turkey doesn't contain enough tryptophan to have any noticeable effect on your state of consciousness. In fact, it has exactly as much tryptophan as plenty of other dairy, nut, and meat products do (cheddar cheese has more).
The main reason you pass out on the couch after the last round of pumpkin pie is the fact that you ate (on average) 4,500 calories, like a goddamned marauding Visigoth. You're passing out because your body is working overtime struggling to digest all the meat and bread you crammed into it like spackle in busted drywall.
"Throw ... chunks ... in my mouth ... between ... snores ..."
And when it comes to drinking that warm glass of milk, there are no natural sedatives at play either. It's simply very soothing to slowly drink a warm liquid ... particularly since you drank the stuff in your first several months of life. You're just pining for your pre-solid-food days, producing a completely psychosomatic reaction. Would it work even better if you had a giant person feeding it to you while you wore a diaper? Only one way to find out!
"It's $20 extra if you want it from a baby bottle."
5 Myth: Fresh Produce Is Better Than Canned/Frozen
When trying to figure out whether your dinner will send you to an early grave, usually you can put everything on your plate on a spectrum from "processed junk" to "canned or frozen fruits and vegetables" all the way up to the holy grail: fresh produce, eaten the way nature intended. This is why all the healthy people have piles of leaves sticking out of their carts -- even when getting their veggies, they don't want to eat a bunch of freezer-burned bullshit.
But Actually ...
Unless you live in an area with a ton of farms, your produce probably came from a place that's far, far away. From the moment that broccoli was plucked from the earth, it's been slowly decaying and losing its nutrients during its long journey to the grocery shelf. And it's not like it went directly from a produce truck to the vegetable showroom. No, it got tossed into a refrigerated storage room for a bit, then hung out in the produce section for a while hoping to get selected (this is on top of however long you leave it in your fridge at home after you buy it). If you do somehow manage to eat at least most of it before it rots, you're probably in the minority, which is part of the reason America has a huge problem with food waste.
"Eat these when they've clearly gone from reddish-purple to maroonish-violet? Like a common hobo?!"
That's why when it comes to nutrition, frozen produce will probably always be better than fresh. It's flash frozen right after it's picked, so it loses fewer nutrients between being harvested and landing on your plate. The same goes for some canned foods. For instance, canned tomatoes are higher in the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene than their naked brethren, due to how they're preserved.
Plus, frozen or canned food often allows you to buy higher-quality produce that was picked in-season at a better price than if it were fresh. But sure, go ahead and enjoy that sad off-white tomato from Trader Joe's in February.