Food & Drink, Nerdery, Tech

The Tick Bites That Will Turn You Vegetarian

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On TV and in the comics, the Tick would attempt to stop the Man-Eating Cow. In real life – and most ironically, in Texas – ticks are now preventing men from eating cows. Just like their big blue namesake, they seem to have misinterpreted the script.

Here’s how it happens: The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don’t have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat — beef, pork, venison, rabbit — and even some dairy products. It’s usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.

But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim’s bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.

Doctors have no idea if the newly created meat allergy is permanent or not, but smartasses like me would suggest that if there is a God, He couldn’t have delivered a more ironic pestilence upon Texas unless there were somehow a way to be allergic to football.

h/t Broos Campbell

About Author

Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.) Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist