CPR First Aid

Why You Feel Hot After Eating?

People’s body temperature is in constant flux. This is generally nothing to worry about. It is just the body adapting to various factors, conditions, and stimuli. 

One phenomenon that needs to be looked at closer though is why your temperature may rise after a meal. What is going on with the body after eating? Why does the temperature rise afterwards?

Put on a big and ready your utensils as we learn more about why you feel hot after eating. 

The Ups and Downs of Body Temperature

As we just mentioned, a body’s temperature constantly changes throughout the day. Normal body temperature stays at 37 °C. The normal ranges largely vary between children and adults. 

However, generally, if it rises to a certain point, this can cause fevers in people. If it goes down significantly, it may be a sign of hypothermia. 

Our bodies need to maintain a core body temperature. That is why, depending on the various things that the body experiences, the hypothalamus in people’s brains regulate body temperature in a variety of ways. All of this is done to keep that core body temperature.

Apart from that, many other factors are largely responsible for the temperature changes.

Body temp fluctuates daily. Normal: 37°C. Range avaries by age.

Factors Affecting Temperature

Age

As the saying goes, the older one gets, the colder it gets. Yes, age is a big factor that affects the temperature in a person’s body. Once a person gets to 65 years of age and older, their average body temperature is lowered. As the person gets older, it keeps on decreasing.

This, and the combination of their weakened immunities, make constant fever monitoring important. Since their average temperatures are lower, the usual fever temperatures may be skewed.

On the opposite side of the age spectrum, children usually run hot. This is mostly due to their high metabolisms. 

Gender

For the most part, men and women share the same average body temperature. In some cases though, women have higher temperatures. While one study has observed this high temperature in women, the subject of temperature perception is different.

Despite running slightly hotter, women feel colder in certain situations This is largely because of the oestrogen in their bodies that reduces blood flow to their extremities. It is usually during ovulation periods. 

In addition, women’s metabolisms are lower than their male counterparts. The higher it is, the more energy is burnt and the warmer the extremities of the body are. 

The Time and Place

The time of the day largely contributes to a person’s temperature. When a person just wakes up, their temperatures are at their lowest levels. Then, throughout the day, it gradually rises. It reaches its highest levels during the afternoon.

Again, this is linked to metabolism. Upon waking, a person’s metabolism is just starting up. Eventually, it is in full swing, burning calories for warmth and energy. 

At the same time, the environment also plays a big part. Whether a person stays in a cold or tropical country may affect it as well. 

Physical Activity

Next up, we have physical activity. During exercise, muscles work hard and generate a ton of heat. This heat increases a person’s temperature. While the body generally releases this heat to maintain the core body temperature, in some cases, it fails to keep up.

The amount of heat generated by the muscles is largely dependent on how hard they are working and the intensity of the physical activity. 

This is compounded if a person is working in a hot room or environment. These make it harder for the body to release heat. The result is either dehydration or conditions such as heat stroke

Stress

Stress is another contributory factor to increased body temperature. When a person is stressed, hormones such as cortisol are released. The increase in body temperature is just a side effect of these hormones. 

In many ways, when a person feels hotter, it is the body’s way of deciding whether it will fight or flee. Adrenaline is another hormone released into the body, and the heat felt is a way of the body adapting and trying to decide what to do in stressful situations. 

Food Eaten

Finally, we have the food eaten. Usually, a person feels hot after eating food. While the change is very minute, it is there. The question now is, why does this phenomenon take place? 

Why Does Your Temperature Increase After Eating?

As you may have guessed by now, feeling hot after eating is due to – you guessed it – your metabolism. A continuous temperature monitor throughout eating will show a slight increase of a couple of degrees. 

About 30 minutes after eating, the body metabolises what you have eaten. This also starts the digestion process. This process is called thermogenesis, and it is when the body breaks down the food eaten to create energy.

This is mainly why a person feels warm after eating. Apart from this process though, certain foods can affect a body’s temperature

Eating heats you up, thanks to metabolism. Temp rises slightly while you munch.

Food That Increases Temperature

Ice Cream

At the top of our list is possibly the most surprising food that increases the temperature. It is ice cream. The refreshing dessert that people would assume would cool them down raises body temperature

This is largely due to the large amounts of fat and sugar in each scoop. These two things make it difficult for the body to digest. Thus, it needs to work overtime, generating more heat in the process. 

Ginger

Next up, we have ginger. This root vegetable is largely attributed to improving blood circulation within the body. It is this improved circulation that warms up the body more than usual and makes you feel warm after eating. This is why it is recommended to be added to the diets of older people.

Brown Rice

Then, we have brown rice. What makes this brown variant different from its white one? Why does a person feel warm after eating brown rice? 

The answer is in its complexity. When compared to other carbohydrates like white rice and pasta, brown rice is a complex carbohydrate. This means that it is much harder to digest, making the body work more throughout its slow metabolising process. 

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods, such as chili peppers, contain capsaicin which tricks your body into thinking it’s hot, causing your body to sweat.

Hot Foods and Drinks

Food such as soup and hot coffee warm you up causing you to sweat usually around the lips and forehead.

Food Allergies or Intolerance

If particular foods make you sweat or give you a burning sensation on the skin, there may be food allergy or intolerance. For these situations, it is best to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.

Sugary Foods

Sugary foods are some of the common causes for the glucose/blood sugar levels to spike, so the body releases insulin to manage it. However, if the insulin levels are too high, it causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which causes excessive sweating.

If aside from getting hot, additional symptoms occur such as fever, cough, or weight loss, it may indicate an underlying condition. It is ideal to book an appointment with your healthcare provider to see if there is a concerning medical condition.

Meat Sweats

After eating massive quantities of meat, there is an excessive buildup of perspiration. If you want to avoid meat sweats, you may want to eat less meat or spread meals throughout the day.

What Happens if You Are Sweating During Eating?

Experiencing sweating when eating can be uncomfortable and concerning for many individuals. This phenomenon, known as gustatory sweating or gustatory hyperhidrosis, occurs when certain triggers, such as food consumption, stimulate the sweat glands excessively. While sweating during meals can be a normal bodily response in some cases, it may also indicate underlying health issues.

Causes of Sweating During Eating

  • Frey’s Syndrome: This condition occurs due to damage to the nerves that control sweating and salivary glands, often as a result of surgery or trauma to the head and neck area. Gustatory sweating typically affects the forehead, scalp, neck, and lips while eating or talking.
  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes may experience gustatory sweating as a complication of the disease. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can disrupt the autonomic nervous system, leading to abnormal sweating patterns, especially during meals.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease can also disrupt the normal functioning of sweat glands and nerves, causing sweating episodes triggered by eating.

Management and Treatment

If sweating during meals becomes excessive or bothersome, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management. Treatment options may include:

  • Medication: In some cases, medications that regulate sweating or manage underlying conditions like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease may be prescribed.
  • Botulinum Toxin Injections: Botulinum toxin type A injections can effectively block the nerve signals responsible for excessive sweating, providing relief for individuals with gustatory hyperhidrosis.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting strategies to manage sweating, such as wearing breathable clothing, avoiding spicy foods that trigger sweating, and practicing relaxation techniques, may help alleviate symptoms.

What if I Sweat Every Time I Eat?

If you ask yourself, “Why Do I Get Hot After Eating?”, then this section may be helpful. Experiencing sweating every time you eat can be disruptive and may indicate an underlying issue that warrants attention. While occasional sweating during meals is normal, persistent and excessive sweating, especially accompanied by other symptoms, may require medical evaluation.

Possible Causes of Sweating Every Time You Eat

  • Hyperhidrosis: This condition is characterized by excessive sweating that goes beyond what is necessary to regulate body temperature. Primary hyperhidrosis often affects specific areas like the palms, soles, underarms, and face, and can be triggered by various stimuli, including eating.
  • Gustatory Sweating: As mentioned earlier, gustatory sweating occurs when eating triggers sweating, often due to nerve damage or underlying medical conditions such as Frey’s syndrome, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Food Sensitivities or Allergies: Certain foods may trigger sweating as a part of an allergic reaction or sensitivity. This reaction may be accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, swelling, or gastrointestinal discomfort.

Management and Treatment

Seeking medical advice is crucial if sweating during meals becomes persistent or problematic. Treatment options may include:

  • Identifying Triggers: Keeping a food diary to track episodes of sweating and potential triggers can help identify specific foods or beverages that contribute to the problem.
  • Medical Interventions: Depending on the underlying cause, treatment may involve medications to control sweating, surgical procedures to address nerve damage, or allergen avoidance strategies for food-related reactions.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Practicing good hygiene, wearing moisture-wicking clothing, and managing stress through relaxation techniques or counseling may help alleviate symptoms of excessive sweating during meals.

While feeling hot after eating is often a normal bodily response, persistent or excessive sweating during meals may indicate an underlying issue that requires medical evaluation and management. By addressing the underlying cause and implementing appropriate treatment strategies, individuals can find relief and improve their overall quality of life.

What If I Feel Cold After Eating?

We have now established that generally, eating causes slight increments in a person’s body temperature. The food eaten may also contribute to that. What does it mean then if a person feels cold after eating?

There are many reasons why this could be the case. Things like low-calorie diets mean that there isn’t enough food to make energy to warm up the body. The body responds by lowering the temperature to conserve more energy.

Naturally, different kinds of food can also leave a person feeling cold. Ironically, peppers can leave a person feeling colder because it makes a person’s brain feel like it’s overheating. The response is to make the body sweat which may make people feel colder. 

Eating raises body temp. Food type matters. Why feel cold post-meal?

Other Causes of Getting Hot or Excessive Sweating

Although it does not necessarily occur right after eating, getting hot may also be a symptom of underlying causes.

Menopause

Women in menopause have imbalances in the hormone levels which trigger physical symptoms such as bloating, hot flashes, and night sweats.

Gustatory Sweating/ Gustatory Hyperhidrosis

Frey’s syndrome, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease damage the salivary glands, parotid glands, and/or the nervous system and cause gustatory sweating. It occurs on the forehead, scalp, neck, and lips while eating or talking.

Harlequin Syndrome

In this condition, one side of the face suffers nerve damage that prevents it from sweating properly.

Chemicals

Certain chemicals such as thyroid hormones and adrenaline may trigger a rise in body temperature.

Alcohol

Alcohol dilates your blood vessels which then causes your skin to heat up.

Treatment Options

It is always best to seek advice from medical professionals regarding treatment options for excessive sweating. Resources offer the following treatment options a doctor may prescribe.

Self-Care

Lifestyle changes such as wearing moisture-wicking socks, bathing more often, and changing shoes every two days may help reduce sweating.

Using an Antiperspirant

Antiperspirants that are in spray, solution, and powder forms may be effective if used properly.

Iontophoresis with Tap Water

It requires a special machine that passes a low-voltage current through the skin using pads that are moistened with tap water.

Anticholinergic Medicines

A doctor may prescribe these but may cause side effects such as increased heart rate, blurred vision, dry mouth, and constipation.

Botulinum toxin Type A (Botox) Injections

These stop the sympathetic nerves from stimulating the sweat glands and is effective for about 4 to 12 months.

Removal of Sweat Glands

Surgical treatments such as liposuction, curettage, and laser glandular destruction remove sweat glands which may have side effects.

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy

It treats severe hyperhidrosis which involves cutting the spinal sympathetic nerves that supply the sweat glands in the arm and hand.

A Natural Rise

We have now established why you feel hot after eating. Usually, it is a natural rise in temperature brought about by either our body’s normal digestion processes or the food that we eat. However, certain food, drinks, and health conditions make it worse and even cause excessive sweating. Fortunately, there are treatment options for it.

Even though it is normal to feel warm after eating, temperature changes must not be ignored easily. These changes may indicate medical emergencies or conditions that must be cared for. 

With the right first aid skills and knowledge, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any changes. 

Learn more about it through CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course today. 

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