Is Meat Addictive?

For years, I wondered why people, including myself at one point, would feel so tired when making a rapid transition to a nutrient rich diet. Lethargy, would raise the questions, “Am I getting enough nutrients?” Enough Protein, iron etc?

I knew intuitively at that time that it had something to do with vital energy, the stimulating qualities of animal products and the less stimulating effects of truly nutrient rich foods. Because nutrient rich foods are aren’t toxic, like beef for example, you literally don’t intoxicate yourself like you do when you are eating significant quantities of animal products.

Intoxication feels good, just drink a glass of wine or beer! It is just the withdrawal effects that nobody likes.
Well, last year, I found a deeper explanation for why this lethargy happens. I am not saying it’s the only answer, because Joel Fuhrman M.D. also explains and I paraphrase our conversation…

“the toxic metabolites of animal products that are flowing through the body, once consumption of animal products is dramatically lessened or eliminated, the presence of these toxic metabolites creates this hangover feeling.”

Like a hangover from alcohol, this feeling is the process of withdrawal or detoxification that a healthy body that is always trending towards health will initiate. That hangover from animal products like beef, is saving your life!

Note: there is much more to the personal energy equation, but when it comes to food, this is a BIG factor.

I realized this morning, that I had never done a blog post about this, particularly highlighting a new finding.

Here is what I found…

According to George D Pamplona-Roger, M.D. in his book “Foods That Heal” –

“The stimulant hypoxanthine, not any special properties of its protein, vitamins, or minerals is responsible for the satisfying and stimulating effects of meat. It is similar in chemical formula and effect as caffeine.

It has been known since antiquity that those who regularly eat meat experience some degree of enervation when they are deprived of this food for some time. This sensation that “something is missing” always results from abruptly removing meat from the diet, even when it is replaced with plant foods and dietary supplements providing as much or even more protein and nutrients as meat.

He goes on to say, “that the enervation that some persons experience when they stop eating meat products is not due to a lack of its protein or other nutrients that some consider irreplaceable. It is due to a type of stimulant found in meat. Today it’s known that the muscle cells of meat contain Hypoxanthine, which increases in concentration as the meat ages.

Hypoxanthine and other similar substances, such as inosinic acid and guanylic acid, are present in meat. They have a chemical structure similar to that of caffeine in coffee or the theobromine in cocoa, with similar effects. They are central nervous system stimulants. They are addictive.

Hypoxanthine explains the stimulating effect of meat and it’s capacity to create a certain level of addiction, which manifests itself when meat is given up abruptly. Because of this, it is recommended that those wishing to replace meat with plant-based foods follow a transition diet to help avoid the effect of sudden deprivation.

~ John Allen Mollenhauer

8 thoughts on “Is Meat Addictive?”

  1. I just went through meat addiction withdrawals it took about 2 weeks and is and absolute fact. It feels like a hang over but man do i feel better. I’ve been eating meat for over 40 years. It was very hard. I might as well have been addicted to some drug or alcohol for that matter. This includes cheese and all (pasteurized) dairy product. Thank you.

  2. My meat addiction is real. I love animals and know that it is hypocritical to claim this yet continued to eat them. Until today. Today is the day I go vegan.

    I would often attempt to go vegan only to relapse then binge on meat, feeling complete guilt afterwards. Not to mention the acne, blackheads and oily skin, weight gain, and high cholesterol I suffer as a result from eating dead animal flesh.

    I know from reading this article and the helpful posts that in order to kick the meat addiction (which will benefit myself, the billions of animals that are slaughtered each day, and the entire planet) I will conquer this disease.

    5 minutes of pleasure on the tongue is not worth a lifetime of ill health and cruelty.

    Why love one and eat the other? Pigs are smarter than dogs. Their little tails wag too! And the cows, they know when they are about to be slaughtered and try to resist the air guns shot into their heads, which seldom works the first shot.

  3. My dad is addicted to meat and MT Dew. He switched from Coke last summer after 25 years drinking nothing but coke, prior to that 15 years of Pepsi.
    Anyway we live with him and it has gotten so bad that we don’t eat together anymore, “I need my meat!” is very popular. He gets mad after a few days if i don’t make it, and now he just needs to make his own food because I just don’t have the time to make two dinners anymore, even though i have been doing it for a long time now (which he doesn’t he just goes out and buys fast food). He won’t touch a veggie, or eat anything voluntarily that is healthy, he basically just wants red (barely cooked) raw meat to eat daily. Or pork.
    I don’t have that kind of budget even if I was inclined to do that daily.
    So we maintain a cabinet of Spam and chili as his main source of “Protein,Protein,Protein”. He will eat fish but states he does not like fish, chicken, turkey, really anything but red meat and occasionally pork.
    So yesterday, he was sick and cranky and had us pick him up 2 pork only burrito at the local mexican rest in town, which i am sure is on the menu for tonight as well, if not tomorrow-

    He has been on this type of diet since I was a child, he needs a full mouth extraction due to the
    dietary measures he has went by demanding MEAT MEAT MEAT and soda. His lunch is bologna meat by itself. And recently has developed hand washing OCD, that i think originated from his mouth abscessing every month of so.
    He refuses to go even talk to a surgeon. He yelled at me last time I asked him to go to mine(which was last week when he was floored from his latest abscess). This meat addiction is ridiculous.

    I am so glad I found this site, I am not alone in this struggle. It annoys me to no end. Makes doing a food budget difficult as well as knowing he just doesn’t want to eat anything good for him (even though he does know what foods are good for him he won’t eat them-Rabbit food is anything that is no red meat by the way-not just lettuce)

    Be well for all those who struggle with loved ones with this issue.

  4. Why can’t people simply consume a small amount of caffeine during their transition to a better diet?. . . Anyone?

  5. Robyn,
    Yes, it’s a very addicting food and at the root of why people who move to a plant based diet feel tired. Basically they are off the stimulants, like coffee and everything else. Meat is a metabolism booster, but that’s not necessarily good, and certainly not the way you want to boost your metabolism. Why not just get intoxicated, it’s the same thing.
    Small amounts ok, but 2-3 times per day, meat is a very significant addiction.
    Thanks for your comment.

  6. As a mental health care worker, I am constantly presented with clients who suffer from various addictions. The worst and most insidious seems to be meat and boy, NO ONE wants to give THAT up! Even if their health is failing and they have constant inflammation, they’ll continue to adhere to Atkins or some other protein rich diet. The truth about animal proteins just has to get out there! Thanks for the blog.

    1. I’m convinced meat and dairy products are addictive too–I think the reason meat eaters (who are otherwise good,kind people) are able to detach themselves from the cruelty of murdering animals and denying that they are sentient beings is because the addiction is profound. Just like when you quit smoking, making a break from meat is hard. The benefits later are amazing: slimness, youthful appearance, energy but withdrawal has to be over first.

    2. Hi Robyn:
      I have a friend who has been on the Atkins 'make me sick diet' for about four years in the misguided belief that he will lose weight and feel better. In that time I have witnessed a downward spiral in his health as he turns away things like sweet potato and peppers, opting for red meat and cream sauces instead – "The Atkins book, says so so there".  Terrible and very sad.

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