The meat sweat is an interesting phenomenon that has risen in prominence in recent years. The term describes excessive perspiration following the consumption of large amounts of meat. Currently, there is no known medical condition or definition that would apply to meat sweats. Additionally, many people believe the condition to be a joke, though there is proof of its existence and several possible scientific reasons.
Digestion and Heat
Researchers studying meat sweats believe the condition is the result of multiple digestive systems activating consecutively. Eating is a complex process that uses many organs. The entire process requires energy, and the body pulls that energy from the food it is digesting. While using energy during this process, the body creates heat. This heat production is specific dynamic action or dietary-induced thermogenesis. Certain foods may create enough heat to affect the body’s core temperature.
Some Foods Run Hotter
Carbohydrates, fats, and protein create different levels of heat and require different expenditures of energy. Dietary fat is easy to digest and has a little thermic effect. The foods that require the most energy and create the most heat are proteins. Most meats contain significant levels of protein, which leads to the most heat production in the body. Consuming many proteins may lead to an increased core body temperature, which then leads to perspiration as the body tries to cool itself down.
Changes in Diet
Despite the widespread popularity of the condition, it is easy to encounter people who have never experienced meat sweats. There are many testimonies from those who consume large amounts of meat and protein but never develop any perspiration as a result. This may be due to body weight, eating habits, and conditioning. People who regularly consume high levels of protein are less likely to experience effects of excess such as meat sweats.
While proteins require the most energy to consume and therefore create the most heat, other factors can contribute to meat sweats. Alcohol affects almost every system in the human body. Not only does it require notable amounts of energy for digestion, but it can also cause an increase in heart rate and widen the blood vessels in the skin. All of these factors can cause perspiration. Because many individuals consume alcohol during meals, it is possible that the meat sweats are a combination of the specific dynamic action of consuming protein and the effects of alcohol.
Though meat sweats are seemingly harmless and even humorous, many people wonder if the condition has adverse effects. Without proper research, it’s difficult for physicians to state whether or not meat sweats are dangerous. They do recommend avoiding binging or eating faster than is comfortable, as overeating has potentially dangerous side effects. More and more research is also showing the dangers of excessive meat consumption. It is possible that what many people believe are meat sweats are actually a symptom of another disorder. Many metabolic and neurological disorders feature excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis a common symptom.
Sweating is a natural bodily response. However, diabetes can lead to damage that affects the nerves that control the sweat glands. The nerves can send incorrect signals to the sweat glands, causing excessive perspiration. Individuals who are unaware of the underlying issue may believe their hyperhidrosis is due to meat sweats or another factor. Additionally, many people with diabetes experience low blood sugar levels. This can trigger a fight-or-flight response that releases the hormones that increase sweating. Low blood sugar also makes an individual hungry, potentially leading them to consume large amounts of food. If the timing of this syncs up, it may appear as though the food is causing the sweating.
Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience hyperhidrosis. Because Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system, normal bodily responses deteriorate or malfunction. This includes sweating. Some people may notice their extremities sweat less, and as such, other parts of the body may increase perspiration to compensate. If this occurs in an individual who is unaware of their condition, it is easy for them to mistake it for another condition such as meat sweats.
Some prescription and non-prescription medications can lead to hyperhidrosis. Many antidepressants can cause increased sweating. Individuals who experience acid reflux or other digestion-related conditions may take heartburn and reflux medications, which also cause hyperhidrosis. Given the issues that cause a person to take heartburn or reflux medications, the meat sweats may merely be a combination of factors between the underlying issue and the medication attempting to treat it.
Preventing the Meat Sweats
There are many steps a person can take to prevent meat sweats entirely. Limiting the amount of meat one eats can dramatically lower the amount of perspiration they produce. Spacing out meals more may also prevent meat sweats. In addition, a person can choose to limit or entirely avoid consuming alcohol during meals. Given the effects of proteins and alcohol, this could be one of the biggest factors in preventing meat sweats. Finally, if the perspiration continues, a medical examination may reveal an underlying condition.
Some individuals may not be able to make the dietary changes necessary to prevent meat sweats if they are on a specific diet or are required to binge eat meats regularly. If this is the case, the best option is to begin exercising regularly. This improves the overall conditioning of the body and thus the metabolic response. Additionally, decreasing body fat decreases the body’s core temperature, leading to fewer cases of meat sweats.