Food coma

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Food coma is a term that was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014. We will examine the meaning of the expression food coma, its scientific name, and some examples of its use in sentences.

A food coma is the feeling of extreme lethargy and sleepiness one gets after eating an enormous meal. The term food coma is often used around the Thanksgiving holiday, as the festivities revolve around an enormous family meal. The scientific name for a food coma is postprandial somnolence. Many believe that the cause of the Thanksgiving Day food coma is the amino acid tryptophan, found in turkey and other meats. More recent research points to the simple fact that a Thanksgiving Day meal is very heavy in carbohydrates and fatty foods that have a high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index release sugar into the bloodstream rather quickly. Food coma is a slightly humorous term, the plural form is food comas.


The name is Italian slang for “food coma,” she explained, adding, “It’s the drama you feel after eating a big meal.” (The Times-Tribune)

Once you work your way out of the self-induced Thanksgiving food coma, get online or head to the nearest brick and mortar to stock up on a few of your favorite things. (Vanity Fair Magazine)

Before family members succumb to a food coma after a fabulous feast, don’t let Thanksgiving become a snoozefest. (The Victoria Advocate)

Of course, it doesn’t matter whether you prefer stuffing made with wild rice (like those in the Midwest) or oysters (a Louisiana favorite), nearly everyone can agree on one thing: Thanksgiving is best spent in a food coma. (Newsweek)

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