Eating Meat Makes My Stomach Hurt

Under normal circumstances, what you eat should not make you feel sick. If eating meat gives you a stomachache, it could be something as simple as indigestion from too much fat or protein or something more serious such as an allergy or food poisoning. Consult your doctor if the pain is a chronic problem.

High-fat meats may be harder to digest. Credit: onairda/iStock/Getty Images

Protein and Fat

While your body is well-equipped to digest protein and fat, there are occasions when these nutrients may cause an upset stomach. Protein foods keep you feeling full better than any other type of food, according to the European Food Information Council. If you've eaten too much meat, though, it may sit in your stomach longer and make you feel very full and uncomfortable. High-fat foods, such as a fatty steak, also delay stomach emptying and may cause abdominal discomfort.

Food Allergy

You can develop an allergy to food at any time, even if it's a food you've been eating all your life, like meat, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. While symptoms may vary, they may include abdominal cramping or vomiting. Symptoms usually occur within minutes of eating the food but can take up to two hours to appear. If you think your stomach pain is due to an allergy to meat, you need to consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Food Poisoning

If your meat was handled improperly or not cooked to an appropriate temperature, it may make you sick. Each year nearly 50 million Americans get food poisoning, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Meats can be contaminated with a variety of different organisms that may make you sick to your stomach, including Salmonella, E. coli or listeria. Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms of food poisoning and may last a few hours or up to a few days.

What to Do

How you manage the pain depends on the cause. If your stomach pain is due to indigestion from eating too much or meats that are too high in fat, you might want to limit your portion size or eat lower-fat meats. A food allergy requires that you eliminate the allergen from your diet to prevent further symptoms. If your stomach pain is caused by food poisoning, taking precautions when you prepare meat, such as washing your hands and cooking it to the recommended temperature, may help prevent another occurrence.

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