Thanksgiving dinner? Don't bother with turkey!

Thanksgiving dinner? Don’t bother with turkey!

October is turkey time and if you live in North America, there is 9 out of 10 chance you eat it, especially during Thanksgiving.

But why not? Turkey is healthy, right? At least that’s what “they” say. And yep, I fell for that healthy turkey dinner too, in the past. Media knows how to use the power of persuasion.

It’s every grocer’s dream to sell as many turkeys for the Thanksgiving celebration as it is insanely possible. And let me tell you, grocery store managers use their super-powers to make it virtually impossible to buy other meat for that special day.

Yes, you will fall for turkey

First, there are store freezers packed full with whole birds. These are placed close to the entrance, so you would stumble on one while shopping, even if you don’t intend on a turkey party.

Then, there are the prices with ultra-low numbers prominently displayed, so that your previously agreed upon, no-turkey grocery list would cave under pressure. There are also coupons and turkey dinner ads flooding the media. With all that, it’s hard to say no to a turkey roast.

Is turkey really healthy?

Turkey is welcomed in America, not only because of the tradition, but also because of the belief that turkey meat is healthy.

Turkey has been touted with several health benefits due to its low-saturated-fat and low-fat content, enough to have every reputable dietitian or hearth-healthy clinician praise turkey meal choices, but…

Turkey health expectations and turkey health reality are two different things, especially when it comes to a Thanksgiving dinner.

The expectations go like that hmm.. turkey… low fat = weight loss; low saturated fat = heart healthy, it will be a perfectly healthy dinner.

The reality somehow goes in a different direction. The truth is that a typical Thanksgiving dinner has nothing to do with turkey nutritional details.

Turkey dinner cancels out low caloric turkey benefits

Don’t forget that Thanksgiving menu is not just roasted meat alone, but also the stuffing, cheese grits, corn pudding, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and whatever else is edible on the table. So while turkey may be low in calories, a turkey feast is just the opposite.

A typical Thanksgiving dinner is 3,000 calories, and that’s without the extras! Add some drinks, an appetizer, and dessert, and you may end up with 4,500 calories just in one sitting! That’s two days worth of energy! And that explains why people gain over a pound during that special long weekend in October.

There is a lot of fat in Thanksgiving dinner

Turkey is low in fat, but that does not apply to Thanksgiving dinner. So, how much fat in a typical dinner? A whopping 160 grams! That’s like eating two sticks of butter! So while turkey itself is skinny on fat, the rest of the menu is not.

Thanksgiving carbs will shock you

Thanksgiving dinner carbs not only cancel out any heart benefits of low fat, but they actually increase the health risks.

Every day the link between carbs and heart health strengthens as researchers becomes clearer that it’s not excess fat, but excess carbs that puts the heart in danger. Thanksgiving dinner carb load cancels out heart benefits of lean turkey meat many are betting on.

So how much carbs in a typical Thanksgiving dinner? A lot! A typical serving is 563 grams and that translates to 160 teaspoons of sugar or over 3 cups! With the daily safety limit for added sugar of 4-6 teaspoons, there goes the heart health.

That’s about it. Turkey meat may be low in fat, low in carbs, low in calories, but… Thanksgiving dinner is something completely different.