While consuming a meal has substantial benefits in terms of both nutrient and energy acquisition, there are physiological costs associated with digesting and metabolizing a meal. For centuries, these costs have primarily been documented in the context of energy expenditure while other physiological costs have been relatively ignored. Here, we tested whether the seemingly innocuous act of eating a meal affects either systemic oxidative damage or antioxidant capacity of corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) by collecting plasma during absorptive (peak increase in metabolic rate due to digestion of a meal) and post-absorptive (baseline) states. When individuals were digesting a meal, there was a minimal increase in antioxidant capacity relative to baseline (6%), but a substantial increase in oxidative damage (nearly 180%). This oxidative cost due to simply digesting a meal demonstrates the importance of investigating non-energetic costs associated with meal processing, and begs future work identifying the mechanism driving this increase. Because energetic costs associated with eating are taxonomically widespread, eating-induced oxidative damage may be similarly prevalent and, thus, an important factor in the evolution of life histories.