Poor Digestion of Meat

Chicken breast
Having problems digesting meat may be a sign of a more serious issue. (Image: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images)

Digesting meat begins in your mouth when you chew, before it even reaches your stomach or intestines. For the most part, poor meat digestion can probably be adjusted with a few simple changes. In some cases, digestion issues may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease. If you notice chronic problems every time you eat meat, talk with your physician about your concerns to rule out any health conditions.

Chewing

Meat requires a lot of chewing in your mouth before you swallow. Experiencing gas, bloating, diarrhea, cramping or constipation every time you eat meat may originate from inadequate chewing. If you don't chew your meat for a long enough period of time, you may swallow large pieces that your body can't break down. Next time you have a piece of grilled chicken or seared steak, take smaller bites, put down your fork and knife between each bite and enjoy the flavor while you extend your chewing time. Breaking down meat in your mouth doesn't require your digestive tract to work so hard during digestion, possibly alleviating problems with poor digestion.

Lack of Fiber

Suffering from poor digestion when you eat meat may stem from a lack of fiber in your diet. Fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate that sweeps through your digestive tract, relatively intact, pushing out waste and aiding in digestion. Next time you include meat in a meal, fill half of your plate with high-fiber steamed veggies, such as broccoli, green beans, spinach or Brussels sprouts. For optimal digestive health, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends that women have at least 25 grams and men 38 grams of fiber each day. Meat doesn't provide fiber, but veggies have approximately 3 grams per 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw serving.

Portion Size

Suffering from indigestion or other digestive problems after eating meat may be related to having a large serving size. Protein and fat take a long time for your body to breakdown. If you frequently feel discomfort after having meat in your meal, cut down on your portion size. For example, if you normally have a 6 ounce steak for dinner a couple of times per week, cut it down to a 3 or 4 ounce steak or share it with your partner. Enjoying a smaller cut of meat may be easier for your body to digest.

Other Considerations

Fatty or greasy foods may lead to problems with digestion. Prevent digestion issues by selecting lean cuts of meat, such as skinless chicken breast, beef sirloin or pork tenderloin, and remove any excess fat. Cut back on fat by grilling with a non-stick spray instead of butter or oil. You should also consider other parts of your meal, such as your beverage and side-dish. Pairing meat with alcohol, for example, may cause indigestion and discomfort when you drink too much. Having a fatty side-dish or covering your meat with a fatty cheese may also lead do poor digestion, since your body has to work hard to digest the massive amount of fat intake.

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