T Nation

Problems w/ Certain Cuts of Meat


So over the last 12 months I have eaten baby back ribs exactly 3 times and each time I have had a bad reaction to them. First time was at a restaurant last fall and I had severe heartburn. Second time was at my brother's place and I felt physically sick after eating. And finally last weekend I BBQ'ed them on my own grill and not only felt crappy and had heartburn but I got diarrhea for the remainder of the weekend.

That's when, on the toilet, it finally dawned on me that me and ribs don't get along. I have no idea what is causing this reaction as I routinely eat pork and all the spices I put on the ribs. Basically not a thing I ate causes me problems by itself but combined they form the perfect storm in my digestive system.

Does anyone have an idea why this is happening or has it happened to you?


No idea why it happens, sorry, but I have something similar with most steak. If it's anything other than rare, it goes right through me - bathroom trip within 20 minutes or so.

Burgers and any kind of ground beef is fine, and like I said rare steak is fine, but anything medium rare or more is a problem. I see some improvement when I thoroughly chew each bite, but it's a hassle. (Weak excuse, I know).

No other foods cause the same reaction. I'm guessing it's some kind of problem digesting or breaking down the fats, but I really have no clue and probably should've looked into correcting it a while ago.


With my 30th creeping up on me all I could think last weekend is that I'm losing a step.

It started with bacon and the realization that anything over half a package of cooked bacon will give me heartburn. I always wrote that off as too many sulfites but this ribs episode has me thinking.

Besides those two pork issues I will not eat frozen pre-pattied ground beef. The cheap 70/30 crap you find in the frozen food section, instant heartburn. I hate being a snob when I go to a friends BBQ so I try not to ask questions and it the burgers look pre-pattied I skip them all together.

FML, I'm 29 going on 60...


Other than the possibility of a problem breaking down the fats, as Chris mentioned,the only thing i might consider is the use of any condiment on the ribs.

You claim you don't have a problem with the spices or other cuts of pork so my question to you is are you consuming any type of barbque sauce on these ribs ?


If it makes you feel any better, I'm the same way with sweet potatoes. Literally just destroy my stomach, bathroom issues. Never sure why.


Sucks to be you.



The first two times the ribs had sauce and the ones I made at my house were dry rub.


I've had similar experiences to you since turning 30 two years ago. Not with ribs but spicier foods in particular. Stuff I could eat all day before with no issue now either gives me extreme GI problems. Same with alcohol. My tolerance has remained the same (ie. can still drink the same amount before getting tipsy) but the hangover is much worse now.

It's gotten to the point where even drinking as little as 1 beer I'll feel it the next day. It's like I woke up on my 30th b-day as an old man. I don't feel it's a sign of weakness to admit that there are some natural changes in the body as you age.


Agreed. It's the same reason I now do mobility and activation drills before squats. Nutrition and "inner" health is just another part of the game the needs attention, moreso when you start adding on years of wear and tear, inside and out.

I've often popped a few papain/bromelain tablets after bigger meals, and it seems to help overall digestion but nothing significant with the steak issue, but I'll probably give some of this info a shot:

Sauerkraut or something similar on a regular basis is probably the easiest to implement. Probiotic supps always seemed a little "complicated" (amount, make sure they're live, feed 'em, etc.), but that's the next step. I've heard mixed reviews about HCL supplementation.


Y'all are describing the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The foods that cause symptoms (aka 'trigger foods') are numerous; per WebMD, the top 10 offenders are:
Citrus fruits
Spicy foods
Fatty foods
Carbonated drinks


For some individuals, GERD is related to a chronic bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori) in their stomach. Another risk factor for GERD is a hiatal hernia--a defect in the diaphragm at the junction of the esophagus and stomach that allows a portion of the stomach to slide through the diaphragm into the thoracic cavity. Who gets hiatal hernias?

There are several risk factors, one of which is repeated bouts of increased intra-abdominal pressure such as can occur during weightlifting. (Hmm, does that apply to anyone here?) I'm unable to find any data on the incidence/prevalence of H-H in weightlifters, but it's widely accepted to be higher than that of the general population.

GERD should not be taken lightly. In addition to causing discomfort, chronic GERD puts the sufferer at increased risk of esophageal cancer. (This risk goes up markedly if the sufferer is a smoker and/or heavy drinker.) Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases GERD can be controlled via lifestyle moderation and/or OTC meds. (A few individuals with GERD + H-H require surgery.)

I would encourage anyone who has experienced chronic and/or frequent GERD to mention it to their physician, who will likely recommend treatment, and maybe an upper endoscopy to check for pre-cancerous dysplasia of the lining of the lower esophagus (a condition called 'Barrett's esophagus').

(Edited for clarity)


^^ Distressful, but interesting. Thanks, Doc. Something to at least look into.