Have you ever wondered why your favorite foods are often followed by an unexplained PDES? (Public Display of Excessive Sweating).
Soggy armpits and sweaty palms are just a few of the places this inconvenient sweat might rear it’s ugly head.
Here’s the deal… your diet affects your health, physique, skin complexion, and yes… even how much you sweat.
There are foods that will lead to profuse sweating and other foods that help tame overactive sweat glands.
In this article we’ll explore common foods that trigger embarrassing sweat and how to control it.
We’re not oblivious to the fact that a lot of these foods are delicious, convenient, and hard to avoid. If you’re not ready to give them up, use a clinical strength antiperspirant to keep heavy sweating under control.
Why We Sweat After We Eat
Gustatory sweating is the sheen of perspiration you get when eating or even just thinking about food. It can leave you in a sweat puddle faster than you can say, “Hold the jalapenos.”
If you eat enough of anything – except maybe celery or cucumbers – you’ll eventually start to sweat. That’s the thermic effect of eating food, also called “thermogenesis” or the “thermogenic effect.” But some foods have higher thermogenic effects than others, which makes your body produce more heat (sweat) during or soon after eating.
This can be for a number of reasons:
- Your body is working overtime to digest fat, carbs, sugar or protein – or just a lot of calories.
- Your nervous system is being overstimulated.
- Your body is flushing excess compounds formed during digestion.
- Your brain is chemically fooled into thinking your core temperature is too high.
- Your heart rate is elevated and your blood vessels are expanded (vasodilation).
- You’re experiencing a true increase in body temperature.
Is Sweating After Eating Normal?
Yes, usually. All of the reasons listed above are normal and not a cause for concern. Also keep in mind that there are lots of factors that can trigger excessive sweating – and many times they work together. If you can isolate your triggers, that can help.
What About Excessive Sweating on the Head, Neck and Face While Eating?
Let’s face it (ha!) – this kind of sweating is tough to deal with. In fact, many people battling excessive sweating have the hardest time coping with sweat on their face or neck — mostly because it’s nearly impossible to hide at the dinner table.
Some medical conditions, such as diabetes or chronic heart conditions, can cause you to sweat on the head, neck or face. If you are sure you don’t suffer from these conditions, your excessive head, neck or face sweating could relate to your diet.
The good news is that for head, face and neck sweating, an antiperspirant like SweatBlock can be really effective. It might sound weird, but it really does work. Before going to bed, wipe down your face and neck with a SweatBlock towelette, which will do its magic while you sleep, when your sweat glands aren’t as active. One nighttime treatment should be enough to reduce excessive sweating for four to seven days, but you can also carry a SweatBlock towelette with you — just in case.
You can also carry alcohol wipes to use in an emergency. If a situation pops up that calls for eating Kung Pao Chicken, quickly wiping down your face with an alcohol wipe can close your pores so the sweat can’t pour.
These tips on how to stop face sweating can also be helpful.
10 Foods That Will Make You Sweat
For your convenience we’ve put together list of the most common foods and food types that will lead to embarrassing sweat.
1. Processed, Fatty Foods
These snacks and treats are low in fiber and lack enzymes your body needs for digestion, so your body works twice as hard to process them. Some of the worst offenders? Chocolate, white bread and fast food. When your body works this hard, you can look forward to sweating profusely. Think of it like running a 5K – complete with rapid heart rate and sweating, but without the toned glutes and calves.
2. Sugar and High-Carb Foods
Some people report sweating after eating sugar, sweating after eating carbs, or sweating after eating a heavy meal. These calorie-filled options have high thermic effects in general, so it’s not uncommon for them to trigger a sweaty dining experience.
It’s more rare, but some people also can experience an insulin spike that drives blood sugar dangerously low after eating sugar or carbs. Symptoms include sweating, dizziness, fatigue and or perhaps you feel light-headed after eating. If you have any of these symptoms you should be checked out by a doctor.
Your morning espresso is good for more than a wake-up jolt – it can also fire up those sweat glands. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, increases your heart rate and raises blood pressure, all while cranking out the sweat. Basically, your body responds to caffeine like it would respond to a grizzly in the kitchen – you’re in fight-or-flight mode. And coffee can be a double-edged sword, because unless you take your java iced, you get the caffeine stimulation plus the extra temperature from the hot liquid that naturally triggers your internal fire alarm and heart palpitations.
4. Too Much Salt
Consuming too much sodium forces your body to dispose of the excess through your urine and skin – which, you guessed it, makes you sweat. Cutting down on salty snacks can reduce excessive sweating after eating, and this one seems like an easy place to start. Most Americans consume about 12 grams of sodium daily compared to the recommended 4 grams.
5. Spicy Foods
Didn’t see that coming, did you? But why, why, why all the perspiring after dining on the most delicious spicy foods? My stomach wants the spicy food, but my sweaty scalp is begging me to stay away. Short answer: Capsaicin. This chemical fools your brain into thinking your core body temperature is rising. The mouthwatering food triggers your parotid gland and the false alarm goes off triggering your sweat glands (your body’s cooling system). Here come the water works, just like your office sprinklers going off when someone lights a match. To prevent hot flashes and other excessive sweating, watch out for some of the worst offenders:
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Spicy Curries
- Spicy Hot Wings
- Hot Peppers
If you routinely down a few beers, cocktails or glasses of wine, you may find yourself feeling light-headed, sweating profusely or even waking up with night sweats. Alcohol does a lot of fun things to the body, but it also has some unpleasant effects – like increasing your heart rate and dilating the blood vessels in your skin. Sure enough, then your body heat increases and your natural cooling system – aka excessive sweating – kicks in. As your blood vessels widen (vasodilation), your pores also enlarge, making it easy for sweat to flow.
7. Ice Cream
It’s true – that cold, beloved treat on the hottest of days will betray you. The high levels of fat in your favorite scoop can actually heat up your internal thermostat. Remember the warning above about fatty foods and increased blood glucose from sugary foods?
8. Hot Foods and Beverages
Hot coffee, tea and soups, along with the steam that’s coming from your mug or bowl, can also rev up the sweat glands. Your body will do everything in its power to cool you down while you slurp. And if the soup you’re sipping happens also to be spicy, get ready for a double sweat whammy.
9. Onions and Garlic
So many health benefits… and so much sweat. Onions and garlic – and really any foods high in Vitamin B – can lead to excessive sweating. B vitamins raise the body’s internal temperature, which (surprise!) can make you sweat more than usual. Plus, the aroma from a garlic- or onion-induced sweat can curl your toes.
10. Protein ( Meat Sweats )
High consumption of protein causes the body to dispose of urea (a substance formed as your body breaks down protein) through – you guessed it – excessive sweating. Think back to the thermogenic effect: High protein foods give up at least 25 percent of their energy content as heat, which means that for every four bites of that scrumptious steak, an entire bite radiates from your body as pure heat – or pure sweat.
As if the risk of emphysema and lung cancer weren’t enough, smoking can also lead to excessive perspiration. As nicotine is ingested, it causes the body to release acetylcholine. This raises the heart rate, increases body temperature and stimulates the sweat glands. You know the rest.
How to Stop Sweating After Eating
Rest assured, you don’t have to resort to a constant juice and water fast to prevent excessive perspiring after eating. If you are serious about controlling your excessive sweat, try some of these simple diet and lifestyle changes.
Fight Food With Food
Not every delicious food triggers a sweat storm. Here are a few foods that can actually help reduce excessive sweating:
It might seem weird to add water to a sweat-fest, but keeping your body cool will keep it from working so hard to lower your internal temperature by sweating. So drink up!
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
These healthy foods help because of their high water content and digestive power. Some of the best are:
- Red cabbage
Olive oil is a metabolism and digestion superhero. It can prevent surges in body temperature and the profuse sweating that follows. Try using it instead of vegetable or canola oil – or even butter. Other side effects include healthy blood pressure and lower cholesterol – so you’re winning either way.
Low-Fat or Skim Milk
Just like ice cream, that tasty whole milk you use on your morning cereal can turn up the heat. Swap it out for skim milk and enjoy the drop in temperature.
Your body can digest oats quickly because they’re rich in fiber and low in fat. You’re not working as hard, so you don’t need to sweat buckets to cool back down.
With a powerful kick of potassium, bananas actually help you hydrate (potassium is an electrolyte). And good hydration means less excessive sweating. Winning!
Known for its calming effects, green tea can be a great meal addition that keeps your nervous system (and sweat) at bay.
Overall, one of the best things you can do is make sure you eat a balanced diet that includes essential nutrients and vitamins. Try substituting some of these foods or at least eating them in combination with your spicier, fattier favorites.
Studies show that a regular exercise routine can help regulate body temperature, too (Sorry – had to throw in that bit about exercise).
When All Else Fails: Arm Yourself with a Strong Antiperspirant
Life – and great food – happens. You can’t avoid every potentially sweaty situation. But you can fight excessive sweating after eating by using a clinical strength antiperspirant like SweatBlock. Unlike deodorants that simply mask odor, antiperspirants have the ability to actually block sweat. Applying antiperspirant to clean, dry skin before going to bed can help you absorb it better.
Bottom Line: Can I Control Excessive Sweating After Eating?
Most of the time, yes, and it can be addressed using some of the tips here. We all sweat, and nearly everyone has started to perspire after eating something – whether it be spicy food or just something that doesn’t agree with us.
But if you find yourself sweating excessively after every meal, no matter what you eat or what tips you try, you should probably visit with your doctor to make sure you’re not dealing with an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or Frey’s Syndrome.
The fact is, excessive sweating after eating isn’t appetizing, and can be really embarrassing too. But with a combination of clinical-strength antiperspirants, such as SweatBlock, and your doctor’s recommendations, you can rein in eating-induced hyperhidrosis and get back to enjoying your feasts.