“Meat sweats” is a colloquial term that describes a physiological response to consuming a large quantity of meat. When a person experiences meat sweats, they perspire excessively shortly after eating a substantial amount of meat.

When an individual consumes a protein-rich meal, such as a hearty steak or a generous serving of barbecue, their body initiates a complex process to break it down.

Protein digestion requires more energy than the breakdown of carbohydrates or fats, increasing metabolic rate and body temperature. However, there is little evidence to suggest that this increase is significant enough to cause meat sweats.

This article explains what meat sweats are, why they occur, and how to prevent them.

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The colloquial term meat sweats describes the excessive sweating that some individuals experience after consuming a protein-rich meal, particularly one that includes a substantial amount of meat.

The phenomenon is not a recognized medical condition but a physiological response related to the body’s metabolic processes.

Learn more about sweating after eating.

The primary sign of meat sweats is profuse sweating that occurs shortly after consuming a protein-heavy meal.

Individuals may notice:

  • body temperature rising
  • visible sweat on the forehead, face, neck, and other body parts
  • skin discoloration, such as flushed cheeks

These effects are only temporary and typically resolve quickly.

There is no scientific validation for why meat sweats occur. One theory is that they happen as a metabolic response to protein digestion.

When a person consumes a protein-rich meal, the body initiates a complex process to break down and digest it. Protein digestion requires more energy than carbohydrates or fats, as amino acids break down into smaller components. This is diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), and it causes body temperature to rise.

In response, the body activates its cooling mechanisms. It pushes additional blood flow to the skin and stimulates sweat glands to dissipate the excess heat.

In theory, the excessive sweating experienced during meat sweats is the body’s way of regulating its internal temperature and maintaining homeostasis.


Meat sweats have no relation to allergies. Allergies are immune system reactions to a food’s protein, often in dairy, fish, or nuts. If a person has a food allergy, they may have immediate symptoms, including:

Traditionally, experts considered meat allergies rare. However, they now recognize that a bite from a lone star tick can cause people to develop meat allergies.

Learn more about food allergies.


Food intolerances are nonimmunological responses to certain foods. Many occur because the person lacks a particular enzyme necessary for breaking down certain foods. They cause digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, and nausea.

A person could have a meat intolerance. However, if they can consume a standard-size serving of meat without having an adverse reaction besides sweating, it is unlikely.

Learn more about food intolerances.

Proteins are essential macronutrients that play a vital role in the structure, function, and regulation of mammalian bodies. They comprise chains of amino acids, which serve as the building blocks for various tissues, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.

For the body to harness the benefits of protein, it must undergo a complex process of digestion and absorption. Protein digestion involves the following steps:

  • Stomach digestion: In the stomach, proteins encounter the acidic environment and the enzyme pepsin. Pepsin breaks down proteins into smaller polypeptides.
  • Small intestine digestion: In the small intestine, pancreatic enzymes like trypsin, chymotrypsin, and elastase further break down polypeptides into smaller peptides. Brush border enzymes on the intestinal lining break down peptides into individual amino acids.
  • Absorption: Absorption happens with individual amino acids across the intestinal lining into the bloodstream through specialized cells called enterocytes.
  • Protein synthesis: Once in the bloodstream, amino acids transport to tissues, where the body uses them for protein synthesis, supporting the growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues.

Protein digestion requires significant energy expenditure and time compared to other macronutrients such as carbohydrates and fats. The complex structure of proteins and the need for their breakdown into individual amino acids contribute to this process.

Learn more about protein.

Eating less meat each meal is the best way to prevent meat sweats. A person could try eating more, smaller meals throughout the day to reach their protein requirements without overloading their digestive system. They can also choose vegetarian or vegan protein sources.

In theory, less meat should require less energy to digest, resulting in less generated heat and less sweat.

If meat sweats become problematic for someone, they can consult a doctor, particularly if they have other symptoms.

Meat sweats describe profuse sweating that follows a meat-rich meal. They may occur due to the energy expenditure involved in protein metabolism. However, no scientific research confirms the effect is significant enough to cause sweating.

If a person experiences sweating after eating meat, they may consider eating less meat each meal or choosing vegetarian or vegan protein sources.

If someone has other symptoms along with sweating, it is advisable to contact a doctor to rule out any other issues.