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March 13, 2024 4 mins

Sometimes, foods that require more effort for our bodies to digest (like meats) can cause us to sweat. Learn why in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/digestive/are-meat-sweats-real-thing.htm

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Brainstuff, a production of iHeartRadio. Hey brain Stuff,
Lauren Vogelbam here the meat sweats is more than just
an unexpectedly gross turn of phrase. It's become something of
a punchline and everything from a Progressive insurance commercial in
twenty sixteen to that Thanksgiving episode of the sitcom Friends

(00:23):
from two thousand and one in which Joey played by
Matt LeBlanc, consumes an entire turkey, then sits back and groans,
here come the meat sweats. And a while back, fast
food brand Arby's, which emphasizes the carnivora appeal of its menu,
gave away beef themed sweatpants and hoodies as a promotion.
You know, meat sweats. Miriam Webster even added this phrase

(00:46):
to their dictionary in twenty twenty three. It's a punchline
for a reason other than again that it's weirdly gross.
People who have consumed large amounts of animal protein have
occasionally reported that they've experienced a sensation of feeling flushed
and fatigued, accompanied by perspiration. Although there isn't an extensive

(01:09):
body of scientific literature on the meat sweats, it does
seem to be a real phenomenon for the article of
this episode is based on How Stuffworks. Spoke by email
Chris Lockwood, PhD, a Draper, Utah based consultant in food,
fitness and dietary supplement industries who holds his doctorate in
exercise physiology from the University of Oklahoma. He explained that

(01:30):
the thermal effect of feeding, or TEF for short, is
actually a good thing rather than a sign of distress
a quote. It means that your body is burning more
calories and fat than it typically does when processing a meal.
While you can get a thermal effect from eating other
foods besides meat, a huge steak will make you sweat

(01:51):
more than a loaded potato because protein is more difficult
to break down than carbohydrates are fat and has a
higher thermic effect when your body has to dieget and
use it. Meaning some people will experience an increase in
their core temperature when they eat a lot of meat,
and as a result might start to sweat as a
way for their body to help them cool off. But

(02:13):
the thermic effective protein only explains part of the total TEF.
According to Lockwood, protein also stimulates the release of hormones
that affect your thyroid and are involved in regulating your metabolism.
But okay, why would a meat eater sweat more than
someone who eats a plateful of tofu with the same
amount of protein. A one plausible explanation, according to Lockwood,

(02:36):
is that the simple act of chewing also affects the metabolism.
He says that researchers demonstrated this by having some experimental
subjects eat a solid meal while others consume the same
amount of calories and identical nutrients as a liquid pure
For those who had to chew, the tef more than doubled.
If you want to avoid meat sweats, it's fairly easy

(02:58):
eat a bit less, especially if you've had meat sweats
happen before and know about the point at which it
starts for you. It doesn't mean you need to go
hungry and just focus on foods other than proteins, vegetables
or carbs, preferably whole grains, but you know treats are nice.
Remember that, based on general healthy dietary guidelines, a serving
of meat is around three to four ounces, or a

(03:20):
piece about the size of your palm. Of course, everyone's
body is different and nutrition is complicated. If you're here
because you're concerned about your meat sweats, consult a medical
professional who is not us. Today's episode is based on
the article our meat Sweats A Real Thing on HowStuffWorks

(03:42):
dot com, written by Patrick Jake Hyder. Brain Stuff is
production by Heart Radio in partnership with how stuffworks dot
Com and is produced by Tyler Klang. For more podcasts
my heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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