Ever since Joey Tribbiani introduced us to the concept of meat sweats on a Friends Thanksgiving episode way back in 2001, we’ve taken it as gospel.
Take down a pound of Texas barbecue brisket by yourself? Better grab a towel.
Have a third serving of turkey at Thanksgiving? Be prepared for a sweaty pillow after your tryptophan nap.
So while we all have experienced anecdotal evidence of meat sweats, the question remains, are meat sweats a real, provable phenomenon?
The answer? Kind of.
It didn’t exactly shock us that there are no scientific studies on the matter.
But...there is a biological concept that gives meats sweats some credence.
It’s called the thermic effect of feeding (TEF).
The thermic effect of feeding basically says that your body temperature rises after you eat food, because of all the work your body is doing to digest it.
And protein (meat) is the hardest macronutrient for your body to breakdown. According to research, your body uses 20 to 30 percent more energy to break down protein than carbohydrates. Another study showed that post-meal metabolic rates increased 100 percent when subjects were on a high-protein diet compared to a high-carbohydrate diet.
So after a particularly meaty meal, it stands to reason that your body temp would go up enough to induce sweating.
For those of you who are particularly carnivorous and sweaty, here are a few things you can do to prevent the dreaded meat sweats.
1. Eat fatty cuts of meat.
First, the good news. You didn’t read that wrong, we’re telling you to eat more fat. There are studies that show leaner cuts of meat produce a higher TEF than fattier cuts. If you think about it, this makes sense. The more protein that is in a cut of meat, the more work your body has to do to break it down. With a fattier cut, there’s less protein for your body to metabolize.
2. Eat less meat.
We know, exactly what you didn’t want to hear. But we’re not not here to blow smoke, this is the cold, unforgiving truth of meat sweats. Instead of going for that second rack of ribs or fourth hot dog at the ball game, think about how stinky your pits are about to get.
Now if you’re heading to Fogo de Chao with your DUDES, and eating less meat is out of the question, there are some key things you can do to reduce meat sweats.
3. Have an after-dinner digestif.
Order fernet, grappa, or the cultish-among-chefs Underberg post-meal. Any standard digestif will do the job of greasing the wheels of the digestive process. If you’re anticipating a particularly meaty meal, some chefs even recommend having a pre-meal digestif, so your body is already primed for the hellish job you’re about to give it.
4. Take a long walk.
It sounds very European, but it works. A 10 to 20 minute walk after a heavy meal aids digestion and keeps you from sitting in a pool of your own sweat. Go outside and air it out, buddy.
5. Bring DUDE wipes.
When meat sweats are inevitable, bring our On-The-Go Face Wipes or a DUDE shower to take care of the sweat and stay fresh. For the messy eaters out there, use them to wipe yourself down so you’re not carrying your food around with you the rest of the night.