Many people enjoy beef as a relaxing Sunday treat, while others prefer a lean steak as a high-protein substitute for sports drinks. However, some people may discover that the meat makes them feel a little worse for wear.
It may be the case that you have a beef intolerance if you consistently get sick after eating beef or red meat causes you to feel queasy.
If there%E2%80%99s something on your plate that%E2%80%99s making you feel not quite 100%, and you suspect beef but you%E2%80%99re not quite sure, take a look at our guide below to see if beef might be the problem After all, a meat intolerance isn’t unherd of.
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Food Allergy or Intolerance
Even if you grew up never having had an issue digesting meat, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) says you can develop a meat allergy at any time in life. Heres what happens.
The immune system detects danger and alerts the body when a person with a beef allergy consumes beef for the first time. According to ACAAI, antibodies produced in response to that threat attach to immune cells and remain there, waiting to act if the threat reappears. Histamine-releasing chemicals are released by cells whenever beef is consumed after the first time in an effort to defend the body.
According to ACAAI, the type and severity of symptoms a person experiences depend on where the antibodies are released in the body. The same symptoms of food poisoning may also be signs of an allergy, in addition to a long list of other possible indicators, such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the throat
- Swelling of the tongue or lips
- Pale or bluish colored skin
While an allergic reaction to beef can be life-threatening, an intolerance to beef is a digestive issue — not an allergy, notes the Cleveland Clinic.
According to a review published in Nutrients in July 2019, up to 20% of all people have some sort of food intolerance, compared to 1 to 2% of adults and up to 10% of children who have food allergies. It suggests that enzyme deficiencies may contribute to food sensitivities, which may help to explain why some older individuals who consumed beef without incident when they were younger suddenly develop an intolerance to it.
“Beef needs more stomach acid and enzyme for proper digestion,” says Marina Yuabova, FNP, DNP, a family nurse practitioner and associate professor at City University of New York. As you age, normal production of digestive enzymes declines, and without enough enzymes, indigestion, abdominal bloating and a feeling of gastric fullness can occur, she explains.
Raw or undercooked beef consumption can result in food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 48 million Americans, or one in six Americans, suffer from food poisoning each year.
It can take a few hours or several days before symptoms show up, and the severity of symptoms will vary depending on the type of germ that causes the foodborne illness, notes CDC. Common symptoms are diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting. Symptoms of food poisoning from consuming bad beef may come on suddenly and they can last for a couple of hours or up to four days.
The majority of food poisoning cases are minor, but when the contaminant is E coli, food poisoning can turn into a life-threatening event. According to the CDC, this type of foodborne illness will result in life-threatening complications in 5 to 10% of patients. Food poisoning causes more than 128,000 hospital admissions in the US each year, and about 3,000 people pass away as a result.
The CDC advises seeking medical attention if symptoms are severe and staying hydrated by drinking lots of fluids if you believe you or someone you know may have food poisoning. Signs to watch for may include:
- A fever above 102 degrees
- Blood in feces
- Diarrhea for more than three days
- Frequent vomiting.
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.