By Sophia Xiao

Think you know everything there is to know about this All-American holiday that began with the pilgrims?  Think again.

Fact or fiction?

  1. Thanksgiving turkey is actually named after the Turks.
  2. Beginning on Thanksgiving, people gain an average of five to seven pounds over the holidays.
  3. The largest turkey ever recorded was 130 pounds!
  4. Native Americans used cranberry sauce to treat wounds.
  5. Cranberries’ closest relatives are watermelons.
  6. We are half pumpkin.
  7. Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday of November.
  8. A chemical in turkey called tryptophan is what makes you sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal.


  1. FACT – Turkey is actually named after the Turks! But like all events in history, it is kind of a long story…  According to the New York Times, merchants from Turkey brought guinea fowl (originally from Madagascar) into England, where it became very popular.  Since the merchants were from Turkey, the bird came to be known as the turkey. When the actual “turkey” was brought to England from the New World, they tasted just as delicious as guinea fowl (or turkey then), and so the English called it “turkey” as well without much scrutiny.  When they finally sorted out the differences, they were too lazy to change the name, and thus, the American bird came to be named after a Middle Eastern country!
  2. FICTION – A study published in the National Library of Medicine on holiday weight gain measured body weight in a convenience sample of 195 adults. It turns out the media exaggerates, people gain “only” an average of one pound throughout the holidays.  But all is not well.  “Since this gain is not reversed during the spring or summer months, the net 0.48-kg weight gain in the fall and winter probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood,” states the study.
  3. FICTION – According to the Guinness World Record, the largest turkey recorded was “just” 87 pounds. For a bird though, that’s still pretty big…
  4. FACT- Native Americans did use this Thanksgiving classic to heal wounds! They used a cranberry poultice as medicine to fight bacterial infections.  According to the Huffington Post, “that was a smart strategy, as cranberries have a compound that prevents common bacteria like E. coli and Staph from attaching to the walls of tissue cells.”
  5. FICTION– Are you crazy? Watermelon might be a berry, but it’s definitely not the closest relative to cranberries.  In fact, the real stars of your grandmother’s Thanksgiving sauce are the closest in relation to blueberries, not watermelons (The Huffington Post).
  6. FICTION – But not for the reasons you might think: Genetically, our makeup is actually 75% the same as a pumpkin (TheHumanGenome)!
  7. FICTION – It is actually on the fourth Thursday of November. Honestly though, who cares other than that Thanksgiving is whenever those glorious days of no school and feasting happens.
  8. FICTION – Sure, turkey does have a chemical, tryptophan that can make you sleepy. But so do chicken, nuts and red meat, which all have more tryptophan than turkey, based on Healthaliciousness’ findings.  Yet we don’t see you complaining about drowsiness after every time you eat sunflower seeds!  The after-meal drowsiness you get on Thanksgiving night is most likely just due to overeating.  So if you don’t want to feel so tired after Thanksgiving dinner, don’t just lay off the tryptophan, cut back on overall consumption!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s