Why Does Red Meat Give Me Diarrhea?

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Red meat is a staple food in many American homes, but for some people, red meat can cause adverse reactions, such as diarrhea, stomach pain and cramping. If you notice that every time you eat red meat you develop diarrhea, you need to make an appointment with your health care provider. Diarrhea that develops after a single instance of eating red meat may be related to food poisoning. Avoid all red meat products until you can be seen by a medical professional.

Meat Allergy

If you are allergic to red meat, you could develop diarrhea every time you consume even a small amount of the meat. A meat allergy is slightly different than other food allergies. The immune reaction is not always related to the proteins found in meat, but sometimes it's from the carbohydrates, according to the 2010 annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Your body mistakes the carbohydrates -- or proteins -- as dangerous substances and reacts by creating immunoglobulin E antibodies and histamine. These chemicals cause a reaction to occur throughout the body, leading to inflammation in soft tissue. Inflammation that forms in the digestive system will cause diarrhea, cramping, nausea and vomiting. Food allergies can disrupt breathing and can be life threatening if left untreated.


Meat Intolerance

Diarrhea can also be a sign of meat intolerance. You can be intolerant to any food if your intestines don't produce enough enzymes to break it down. Intolerance is different from a meat allergy because it does not involve the immune system. Meat intolerance occurs when you are unable to process the proteins found in red meat. Because the proteins remain undigested, it causes inflammation and irritation to the lining of your intestines. This may cause bloating, gas, cramping, stomach pain and diarrhea within a few hours of consuming red meat.

Food Poisoning

Anytime you develop diarrhea accompanied with excessive vomiting and stomach cramps, you need to talk with your doctor about food poisoning. If you have food poisoning from eating red meat, you will develop symptoms within two to six hours after consuming the infected meat, according to MedlinePlus. Food poisoning occurs when you eat red meat that is contaminated with infectious organisms, such as bacteria, toxins, parasites or viruses. The most effective treatment for food poisoning is dietary modification, rest and increased liquid intake.



Occasional bouts of diarrhea can be normal in some cases. Chronic diarrhea may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome. If you notice blood in your stool, call your doctor immediately, as this may be a sign of a more serious condition.


Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.