Why Do I Sweat When I Eat?

Before we had air conditioned homes, we used our bodies to regulate our inner heat. In particular, we use sweating in order to keep our body temperatures regulated. If we are too hot, sweating allows the body to cool by releasing hot from our pores and evaporating on the skin. Sweating can be triggered by exerting ourselves during hot weather. But you might wonder "Why do I sweat when I eat?" This is what this article will help you understand.

Why Do I Sweat When I Eat?

No one knows exactly why eating can contribute to sweating. What they have discovered, however, is that there are two different mechanisms behind sweating and eating. These are physiological mechanisms and non-physiological mechanisms:

1.   Physiological mechanisms

Sweating can happen any time you eat foods that are too spicy or too hot. This is a normal physiological response to a type of food that increases your body temperature. The natural response to this is to cool down through sweating. This kind of sweating is usually normal.

2.   Non physiological mechanisms

Interestingly, there are people who always sweat when eating, even when they eat ice cream. This condition is known as gustatory hyperhidrosis or gustatory sweating. For some, this can result in an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation. The problem can be idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause. It can also result from the following:

  • Parotid gland damage. One can develop this condition after some type of trauma to the parotid gland or surgery that affects the parotid gland. There are actually two parotid glands, one on each side of the face, located just beneath and forward of the ear. These glands comprise the largest of the body's salivary glands. Saliva is the fluid we secrete as a part of the normal swallowing, chewing and digesting of foods. Saliva can be produced when we eat and even when we are thinking about the process of eating.

If there is some type of damage to the parotid gland, the nerves can be injured, only to regenerate in a way that causes a mixing up or intertwining of the nerve bundles. There can be damage to the parotid gland by means of infection, inflammation, and a viral infection called the mumps so that the parotid gland does not function. When the nerves become mixed up, salivation does not happen, but instead sweating may occur along with flushing of the face. The condition that results in this group of symptoms is known as Frey's syndrome; it usually involves only one side of a person's face.

  • Other medical conditions that cause gustatory sweating. In asking yourself "why do I sweat when I eat?" you need to know there are several reasons behind. You can have gustatory hyperhidrosis from having other medical conditions. This is called "secondary hyperhidrosis" and is related to diseases like Parkinson's disease, diabetes, herpes zoster of the face, or cluster headaches. In these situations, the sweating can be seen on both sides of the face, including the forehead, neck, cheeks, chest, temple area, and the area around the lips. The symptoms usually develop whenever the individual sees, eats, thinks about, or even talks about foods.

Diabetes is a common problem that can cause gustatory sweating. The high blood sugars seen in diabetes can put the individual at a greater risk of damage to the various nerves of the body. According to the American Diabetes Association, foods like chocolate and cheese are common triggers to the sweating process. Other foods, including fresh fruit, vinegar, salty foods, pickles, and alcohol can contribute to developing gustatory hyperhidrosis.

How to Deal With Sweating While Eating

Since you have known "Why do I sweat when I eat?" you may wonder what can be done about it. If you develop sweating because you are consuming spicy or hot foods, the problem can be solved easily by eliminating these foods from the diet. These foods not only cause hyperhidrosis, in some people, they also contribute to getting gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is also referred to as GERD or as heartburn. If you have these problems, you should see a doctor for some help.

If you are suffering from some conditions causing secondary hyperhidrosis, treating the underlying conditions may be a resolution of the sweating. If not, you can treat the sweating by making use of over the counter or prescription antiperspirants. However, be careful about using antiperspirants in the facial area; do a test in an area of the skin not on the face to see if it irritates the skin. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, you should use a solid antiperspirant for the facial area and put it on near your hairline.

You can also treat hyperhidrosis by undergoing injections of Botox, which can help control hyperhidrosis of the face for a long period of time. If you choose to have Botox injections, seek the advice of a dermatologist who has given these types of injections.


While it may be tempting to stay away from foods that cause you to sweat, you should always continue eating. In some cases, a person is so embarrassed by the sweating problem that they stop eating altogether. That is highly dangerous to your overall health and can make you sick. If you choose foods that are mild in character, it's fine. 

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