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I’m sending a huge tip-of-the-cap to HowStuffWorks.com for getting to the bottom of an awkward affliction that befalls baby-back ribs lovers each summer: I am talking, of course, about meat sweats.

Should you be so lucky as to have never experienced protein-induced perspiration, consider yourself a fairy goddess among us disgusting, slimy mortals. For many of us, the consumption of meaty treats in deliciously large quantities results in—there’s really no other way to say it—sweatiness.

The meat sweats have been memorialized in popular culture, but are they a real phenomenon? Thanks to HowStuffWorks.com, we now know the answer: Yes, Virginia, there are meat sweats.

The website contacted experts including Chris Lockwood, a food, fitness, and nutrition consultant with a doctorate in exercise physiology. He describes a phenomenon known as the thermic effect of feeding (TEF), in which the body—while processing meat protein—burns more calories than it normally would when digesting a meal. Wait, does this mean I’m working out while eating this cheeseburger? (Fingers crossed, friends.)

Alas, no. But protein is more difficult for the body to digest than carbs or fat, which can lead to sweating. Lockwood says chewing can also raise a body’s TEF, which helps explain why a plate of ribs might make you sweat while a high-protein energy shake wouldn’t.

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It’s all fascinating stuff and useful to those of us interested in better understanding these disgusting flesh suits we inhabit. Give the whole piece a read—then please turn up the A/C.