4 Common Turkey Misconceptions

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1. Light Meat is the Best Choice

False!  Dark meat and light meat have very similar nutritional values.  They have nearly the same amount of calories (light meat has a few less calories). Both provide you with adequate amounts of protein.  Dark meat has a bit more fat than light meat (BUT the higher fat content will help keep you fuller longer and can prevent overeating). And an added bonus is that dark meat is a better source of iron than light meat!

2. You Should Stuff Your Turkey

Bad Idea!  Stuffing your turkey sounds yummy, but it can actually be dangerous.  A turkey needs to be cooked to 165 degrees to be deemed “okay” to eat.  However, if you stuff your bird, the stuffing won’t make it to this temperature unless you purposely over-cook your turkey.  Hence, in a “normal cooked turkey,” the stuffing will contain residue of uncooked turkey drippings and be contaminated with bacteria and salmonella.  Yuck!

3. Basting Your Turkey is Essential

Nope!  Basting your turkey does not make your turkey moister OR more flavorful.  It may seem like a Thanksgiving tradition, however, it has been scientifically proven that basting doesn’t enhance flavor or moistness.  In fact, repeatedly opening the oven door to “baste” actually dries out your turkey and will release heat from the oven leading to a longer cooking time.

4. Turkey Leads to Tiredness

Ummmm, false!  DON’T BLAME THE BIRD!  Tryptophan is the original reason that people thought turkey caused sleepiness. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid to the human diet. Yes, it is a natural sedative.   However, turkey should NOT make you more tired than any other meat.  Tryptophan is also found in other poultries, meats, cheeses, fish, and eggs. In fact, turkey actually has slightly less tryptophan than chicken.  So is it really the turkey that makes us tired after our Thanksgiving feast?  Nope, it’s probably a self-induced food coma. In other words, don’t only blame your tiredness on the turkey—it’s all the food we eat on Turkey Day!

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