Are the Meat Sweats a Real Thing?

Are the Meat Sweats a Real Thing?


[INTRO ♪] Picture yourself at a summer barbecue, chowing down on burgers, hot dogs, and ribs. But somewhere between the 3rd helping and the resulting food coma you experience an extremely uncomfortable zone of overeating. My friends, I’m talking about the meat sweats. Now, you might have had this experience, but is there any science to back up this meaty meme? The idea that eating food can raise our body temperature isn’t anything new. Warming up slightly is a totally normal byproduct of our bodies using energy. And our bodies use lots of energy—by exercising, of course, but also just by being alive and having a heartbeat. The other way is through something called diet induced thermogenesis, or DIT. Food doesn’t just instantly get converted into usable calories— your body has to put in some energy to start the breakdown process, so it takes energy to make energy. DIT is usually around 5 to 15 percent of your daily caloric use. And while it’s tricky to measure super accurately, the more calories you eat, the higher your DIT will generally be. And that might be the secret to the meat sweats. Protein has a higher DIT than any other macronutrient like fat or carbohydrates, so you’ll use more calories to digest that thousand calorie rack of ribs than the same thousand calories of ice cream. The proteins found in food are chunky molecules that take time and energy to break down into more digestible components. And this increased thermogenic effect might have to do with the fact that your body doesn’t have an efficient storage system for those amino acids. Now, while increased protein consumption is strongly linked to increased thermogenesis and a slightly increased body temperature, it’s not so much of an increase that it’ll cause you to overheat. No actual studies have linked meat consumption directly to the act of sweating. So what other factors could there be? One could be the spice that we use to season meat. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers their pungency, can increase thermogenesis also, despite having no calories. So that whole “takes energy to make energy” thing doesn’t really apply here, but spicy seasonings could potentially make you even warmer than bland meat would. Ultimately, this meme got popular from competitive eaters eating dozens of hot dogs in the sun, and Guy Fieri taking you to Flavortown over a hot grill. So, the meat sweats might be an actual thing, but we still need some direct evidence. Thank you for asking, and thanks to our patrons for supporting what we do here at SciShow. If you want to help us make even more videos about all kinds of different science, check out patreon.com/scishow. [OUTRO ♪]

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About the Author: John Markowski

100 Comments

  1. What? I'm a voracious meat-eater and I've never experienced nor even heard of this before. Is this really that common?

  2. calories are an arbitrary unit of energy. our body has no caloric receptors so why use calories when its not accurate. "calories" from spinach are going to be processed differently than corn rice or steak

  3. I was going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments 2 years ago, and no matter how high I had the furnace up or how many layers of clothes I wore, I was always cold, then one day my sister stopped by with a Quarter Pounder with cheese and a large coke, and I felt comfortable again, so I ditched the "healthy" diet and started eating more fatty foods and sugar, and it fixed the always being cold problem

  4. Similar to the meat sweats, I get this weird thing when I eat lots of cheese where my face feels suddenly cold. Not kidding, I can't find anything about this happening on google. please help

  5. Me : Sees the thumbnail and title,

    Also me : is that even real Thing, Although I am Veg, Let me see this.

  6. I get a cold, weird, sweaty feeling when i eat too much chicken meat. Only with chicken meat, idk what it is.

  7. scishow pls make videos explaining why doggys sneeze when theyre excited and whether or not the big rip will pull black holes apart, if it happens ty

  8. My next work call out ; “cant make it today, dr says I have diet induced thermogenesis “. Pray for me

  9. “The Meat Sweats” is a phrase we use in England for that hot & clammy feeling after you’ve eaten too much.

    Personally I think it’s down to a the sodium content of the meal as I get it most after fast food.

  10. I was under the impression that 'meat sweats' was actually about how a person begins to smell like cooked beef after eating it almost exclusively for an extended period of time. I've actually had this occur after eating leftover beef ribs for dinner 3 days in a row, and no matter what I did I couldn't get rid of the smell for almost a week afterward. I bathed twice a day, brushed my teeth and rinsed almost religiously the entire time, and would even double up on deodorant, but the smell wouldn't dissipate and it was clearly coming from me because I could smell it even when I was out of the house.

  11. Thanks for mentioning the whole "in the sun" and "over a hot grill" thing, because I'm pretty sure that's a MUCH greater source of why folks are sweating.
    And yes, even at Thanksgiving, when it's maybe snowing outside – that oven's still hot and that kitchen's still warm, and add in a ton of people? Your whole house is hotter than usual just from guests, potentially! So there are many reasons for the sweating. I'd like to see studies try to pin down these reactions to eating, though. It's only anecdotal evidence, but my husband sweats ANY time he eats – meat or no meat, inside or outside, doesn't seem to matter. We joke that his sweating is how we know he likes the food! Some of his other extended family members have the same reaction.

    So it'd be interesting to learn more, but I am content to leave this meme to itself for now!

  12. 1:06 Well if I never need an excuse to eat ice cream this will be it. Hint I never need an excuse to eat ice cream. 😂😂😂

  13. I always figured that the meat sweats came from the discomfort and indigestion that comes from being over full. Basically, the same reason you sweat when you're stressed.

  14. maybe gustatory hyperhidrosis adds to the effect too?
    i know it's not common, just adding another possibility. 🙂

  15. Comment section prove me wrong, but pretty sure the first I heard the saying was Joey in Friends after he eats a whole Turkey at thanksgiving….🤷‍♂️

  16. Every example you used, the eater is in the sun on a hot summer day. The meat, and everything else they are eating likely has lots of salt, perhaps. And who likes drinking water when there's pop/soda and alcohol (if you're of legal drinking age). And other factors too. Maybe it's the meat, my guess is that it's more complicated.

  17. I mean I'm not a scientist or anything but the combination of the proteins being harder on the digestive system to breakdown and the massive amounts of sodium consumed at the same time sounds like sweat to me…

  18. I've never had them nor have I know anyone that has. And I used to eat up to 40 hot wings in a sitting.

  19. "Taking you to flavor town over a hot grill" sounds like a euphamism for something not entirely consensual…

  20. Oka so the other week I finished eating a bag of hickory smoked flavored beef jerky-the like $8 "jumbo bag" jack links brand- it was the only bag I ate that day and I had eaten one bag each day for about a week prior with having no other meats that I remember to have eaten other than maybe a small, thin, steak filet earlier in the week. Anyway for some reason after this bag I suddenly had started to become very hot and sweaty and had the thermostat set to cool, 65° so I know it wasn't hot in my place. My stomach also hurt a bit and my bf said "u got the meat sweats". I've never experienced anything like this before and I live in Texas so stuff like medium rare steaks and burgers and ribs are a staple default of my diet and have many times at cookouts eaten a damn good bit with heavy meat being at least 70-80% of what I have eaten and NEVER before had gotten the "meat sweats" before, even if they're covered in different spices.
    I can say that in the past few months I haven't eaten as much meat, especially red meats, so maybe to suddenly eat a lot of something like jerky was part of it? Maybe cause of how much sodium and stuff in jerky? Idk I found it weird never happened before and has yet to happen again despite still eating a bag of jerky almost every day since…

  21. I have autonomic regulation issues due to a health issue and I HATE eating hot food because I always sweat. It always happens. Easily moldeable hot foods like soups, stews, mashed potatoes, and casseroles are worse than a hot sandwich or steak or hot bread, interestingly. I think maybe more surface area is against my stomach lining while it’s still very warm? I’ve avoided eating for ten minutes after food is ready for years if at all possible simply to avoid eating it as warm as I’d otherwise like it, because it’s so uncomfortable. I also can’t eat basically anything spicy, not even black pepper, due to another health issue, so it’s definitely not related to that. For me, it’s like, garlic, cinnamon, and salt, and that’s it.

    From what I Can gather, my body is overdramatic about some things. If I should get a little warm, I get very warm. If I should get really hot, I’m off the charts. I have a low body temperature normally, about 97.2, but I just get hot or cold at the slightest suggestion. Living in Tennessee, I can’t leave my apartment six months out of the year without instantly breaking into a second skin of sweat. I have a back issue and sleep in heating pads sometimes, but if I do that and I’m in a layer of clothes that’s too heavy, or fall asleep with a blanket on me, I wake up with a fever (what would be a fever even if my body temperature was ‘normal,’). It’s random and weird, but my mother has the same health condition and it was like this for her too.

    Curse this weirdness!!

  22. I've experienced this even before I heard the term. It happened when I chowed down on a big steak, after 15-20 mins, im sweating and felt hot. And no, i did not use any hot sauce

  23. I know I'm just one example, but I eat a lot of meat daily.
    I never get sweats. In fact, this is the first time I'm hearing of it.

    I also can't handle spicy food, and I avoid it.

    So I think looking at spice, not meat, is a good idea.

  24. Stopped watching scishow ever since they started dismissing the richat structure as a completely natural formation, instead of Atlantis, as bright insight/many other media outlets have discovered. The powers at be are most likely controlling this channel/modern academia to keep us commoners In the dark

  25. the pale queezy sweating effect is more akin to ones nausea after partaking in a cigarette which unexpectedly spoils the experience.

  26. He touched on it VERY lightly at the end but a huge part could be the direct thermal energy in a hot piece of meat, a food almost always served hot. If it's hotter than body temp it WILL heat you body.

  27. Whenever I hear of meat sweats I think of that episode of Friends where Joey trys to eat an entire Turkey.. "Here come the meat sweats.." haha

  28. Once went to a barbeque hosted by a Greek friend. There were 0 carbs and a ridiculous amount of meat. First and only time I ever got meat sweats but I can confirm that they are real!

  29. How about not eating so damn much meat and be more kind to your environment (I am a meat eater, not a militant vegan FYI)?

  30. For some reason I always confuse sweat and sweet I dont know why (maby the one letter diffrence between something I cant get enough of and something I wish wouldnt exist doesnt represent the big diffrence)

  31. So if eating an absolutely massive steak uses more energy than similarly-calorific non-meat foods, does that mean ditch the lettuce, because fuckloads of meat is basically exercise?

  32. Honestly, I misread the title as meat sweets. I was expecting bacon ice cream and popcorn, then he talked about sweat…
    I should read titles properly next time

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