Meat Sweats, Explained

If the furrows in your brow become overheated trenches as you eat, know this: You are not alone.

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Illustration by Daniel Downey

Feeling “not so fresh” after downing that 16-ounce porterhouse? Join the hot, perspiring club. Though science hasn’t done any studies on the phenomenon, there’s anecdotal evidence that binging on animal protein can trigger a nasty phenomenon known as “meat sweats.” Nutritionists say it’s a well-documented fact that protein (the main component of meat) requires more energy to digest and process than do carbs or fat, and that this extra effort produces excessive heat as a byproduct. Amber Haroldson, assistant professor of nutrition at Ball State University, sums it up: “It is possible that eating a large portion of meat at one time could cause some heat production and possible sweating.”

According to Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, people generally exhibit a “thermic response” when they put on the feedbag and could get similarly hot and bothered if they horked down a mountain of, say, carrots. But since we’re far more likely to OD on ribs or burgers or steak, most people’s post-gorging discomfort is laid solely at the feet of meat.

Or perhaps your gastrointestinal tract is simply registering its displeasure at getting too much of a good thing. Wayne says that about three ounces of meat provides the protein your body needs. Which means that when you hoover a quarter-pounder, only the first three ounces actually contributes anything to your body’s health and maintenance. The rest goes to your waistline—after pausing for a moment at your body’s internal thermostat to crank up the heat.

 

We love steak, any way you slice it. In Indianapolis, there’s a steakhouse to cater to every occasion and level of sophistication, and after months of dining like wealthy cavemen, we present them to you here, in juicy detail. A la cartes include a primer on the king cuts (for those who don’t know a porterhouse from a portobello), tips on the best cheap chops in town, a cattle call of beefy terms, and a stab at defining that common condition among steak-lovers—the meat sweats. You want a piece of this? Dig in.

 

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