Does Eating Beef Make You Tired? Here’s What the Science Says

Eating beef is a staple of many people’s diets. However, some people report feeling tired or sluggish after eating beef. Is there any truth to the claim that beef can make you tired? Let’s take a closer look at the science.

How Beef is Digested and Absorbed

To understand why beef may cause tiredness, we first need to understand how it is digested and absorbed

Beef is a high-protein food, containing all 9 essential amino acids our bodies need. When we eat beef, it travels from the stomach to the small intestine for digestion. Here, the proteins are broken down into individual amino acids which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.

The process of digesting and absorbing protein takes a lot of energy and blood flow. In fact, up to 20% of our resting energy expenditure can go towards digesting and absorbing protein alone. This is significantly higher than the energy required to digest carbs or fat.

So in essence, our bodies have to work harder to digest beef versus other foods. This can leave some people feeling sluggish or tired afterwards.

High Fat Content

In addition to protein, beef also contains saturated fat. The high fat content makes beef more difficult for our bodies to digest.

Fat digestion starts in the stomach but is completed in the small intestine. Bile salts are released from the gallbladder to help break down and emulsify fats.

This complex process requires a lot of energy expenditure. The body has to increase blood flow to the digestive organs to handle the digestion of all that fat.

This can leave some people feeling tired and lethargic, as blood is diverted away from the muscles and brain.

Glycemic Response

Beef has a low glycemic index, meaning it does not spike blood sugar levels rapidly after eating. This is a good thing, as the energy from beef is released slowly over several hours.

However, this means that beef is not an efficient source of quick energy. The amino acids from beef have to be converted into glucose in the body through a process called gluconeogenesis. This process takes time and does not increase energy levels immediately.

So while beef provides lasting energy, some people may experience a dip in energy levels right after eating it since it does not provide an instant glucose boost.

Individual Responses

While the high protein and fat contents of beef can generally make digestion more laborious for the body, not everyone will experience tiredness or fatigue after eating it.

Here are some reasons why individual responses may vary:

  • Body size: Smaller individuals will likely feel more tired from digesting beef than larger individuals with bigger energy needs.

  • Metabolism: Someone with a fast metabolism can digest beef quicker than someone with a slower metabolism.

  • Gut health: People with healthier guts or more robust microbiomes may digest beef better.

  • Fitness level: Active individuals who exercise frequently tend to digest protein better.

  • Time of day: Eating beef later in the day means less time for digestion before sleep.

So in essence, your individual response to beef depends on your unique body characteristics and needs. Very active individuals may get an energy boost from beef, while more sedentary folks are more likely to feel fatigued.

Tips to Prevent Tiredness from Beef

If you do tend to feel tired after eating beef, there are some things you can try to prevent fatigue:

  • Eat smaller portions: Try cutting back on your portion sizes to make digestion easier.

  • Have beef earlier: Eat beef for lunch rather than dinner to allow more digestion time before bed.

  • Choose lean cuts: Opt for leaner cuts of beef to reduce fat content.

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to support digestion and absorption.

  • Take a walk: Light activity can help digestion after eating beef.

  • Eat slowly: Chew beef thoroughly and don’t rush your meal.

  • Add carbs: Pairing beef with a complex carb source can provide quicker energy.

Making a few simple diet and lifestyle tweaks can help minimize tiredness from beef for those sensitive to its fat and protein content.

When to See a Doctor

While beef can commonly cause sleepiness in some people, extreme fatigue or sleepiness after eating may be a sign of an underlying health condition. See your doctor if you experience:

  • Drowsiness that lasts over 24 hours after eating beef
  • Fatigue that interferes with work, school or relationships
  • Frequent need to take naps during the day
  • Slurred speech, cognitive issues or muscle weakness

These may be signs of a food allergy, digestive disorder, thyroid issues or other medical problems. Your doctor can help determine if your symptoms are normal or require further evaluation.

The Bottom Line

To summarize, beef can make some people tired due to:

  • The high amount of energy needed to digest its protein
  • Its fat content which requires more digestion
  • Its low glycemic index providing no quick glucose boost

However, the effect will vary based on individual characteristics like metabolism, body size, gut health and fitness level.

If you frequently feel abnormally fatigued after eating beef, try reducing portions, choosing leaner cuts or eating it earlier in the day. See a doctor if fatigue is excessive or accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

With some minor diet modifications, most people should be able to enjoy beef as part of a healthy diet without experiencing significant tiredness or lethargy. Moderation and listening to your body’s cues are key.

Eating Steak Each Day Will Do This To Your Body

Why do I get tired after eating meat?

Some sleepiness after eating, particularly heavy meals, is common, but consistent flat-out tiredness after meat consumption in particular may be a signal that the meat isn’t being processed properly. 11.

Is eating a lot of meat bad for the body?

Consuming the right amount of meat is not bad for you, but too much of it is not good for you because you are also consuming a lot of meat fat. Animal fats contain high levels of saturated fatty acids, which increase the risk of adverse health effects. There are also reports that people who consume more processed meat products such as ham and sausage than meat itself have an increased rate of heart disease and atherosclerosis.

Does red meat make you tired?

The key takeaway here is that red meat does not drive inflammation the way the media says it does. This is good news for those of you wondering if red meat makes you tired. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) you want to lower inflammation. And it turns out red meat may actually help you do that!

Why do I feel tired after eating?

Too much fat, carbohydrates or sugar can also make you tired. Once you figure out what’s causing you to feel tired after eating, you can adjust your diet to incorporate foods that will give you energy and mental clarity for your daily activities. The glycemic index ranks food according to how they affect your blood glucose levels.

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