A question that seems to be popping up more and more is “what are meat sweats?” and “are meat sweats real?” This article will attempt to provide a simple definition of meat sweats and discuss the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures of meat sweats.
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What Are Meat Sweats?
Meat sweats are used to describe moments when you experience increased perspiration due to eating a large amount of meat. According to Healthline, meat sweats are not a symptom of food allergies and are very rarely linked to cases of food intolerance. While there have not been specific scientific studies regarding meat sweats, it has been linked to a different term studied before: diet-induced thermogenesis. Let’s take a look at what is causing this phenomenon.
What Causes Meat Sweats?
Meat sweats or diet-induced thermogenesis is an extension of our metabolism at work. When we eat food, our body converts that food into energy. When our body converts energy, it creates heat. When our body becomes overheated, we sweat to cool ourselves down. The clearest example of this is sweating while we exercise. Yet, this can also take place when we eat food too.
Why is it that eating meat can cause this? Well, when we eat carbohydrates like bread or pasta, our body doesn’t have to work that hard to break them down. Since your body is not working that hard, it doesn’t render enough heat to make you sweat. But, when we eat protein like chicken or beef, our body does have to work harder to break it down. How much harder?
According to research at the University of Colorado Boulder, your body has to exert 20 to 30 percent more energy to break down protein than it does for carbohydrates. On top of that, if you eat a lot of meat, your body has to work even harder. Thus, you experience the main symptom of meat sweats: excess perspiration.
Meat Sweats Prevention
Now that we understand what meats sweats are, plus the causes and symptoms, it’s time to look at how you can work to prevent this from happening. Here are five ways to help:
1. Go Vegetarian
The most straightforward way to prevent meat sweats is to stop eating meat altogether. Instead, focus on eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Research also shows that switching to a vegetarian diet could help you live longer.
2. Eat Less Meat
If you don’t want to give up meat entirely, the next best thing you can do is try eating less meat. You can do this in two ways: limiting portion sizes or spacing out your servings.
Verona Somarriba, MS, RDN, Clinical Nutrition Coordinator at Mount Sinai, recommends limiting portions to 8 oz or less for each meal. In terms of spacing out meals, allow a few hours between extra food portions. This gap will allow your body time to digest the food you just ate adequately.
3. Avoid Alcohol
Whether you cut out eating meat entirely or just cut down a little bit, avoiding alcohol is a good bet either way. Drinking alcohol can increase the thermogenic effect your body experiences when eating a large meal. If you know you’re going to eat a big meal, especially one that is protein-heavy, it’s best to stick with water.
4. Exercise More
The first three ways to prevent meat sweats are all about doing less. Here’s something to do more of for the last tip: exercise. Why? Exercise improves your metabolism. If you have a healthy metabolism, your body will not have to work as hard to digest food which lowers the chance of experiencing meat sweats.
If you have questions about meat sweats or any of the conditions discussed here, connecting with a doctor in a discrete setting has never been easier.
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