4

votes

losing the ability to normally digest foods that haven't been eaten for a while- mechanism?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 06, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I hadn't eaten sushi for a long while. then my husband made some and i thought it couldn't hurt to eat a little white rice when so much of the other parts of the sushi was healthy (seaweed, avocado, semi-healthy fake crab). after i ate it i had really bad gas and constipation, problems i never had before eating anything, let alone sushi. what is going on here? do i no longer have some particular gut flora needed to digest white rice?

also the other day i had some sweets- a 25 gram carb bar of chocolate and some pieces of moon cake, which are super sugary chinese desserts. not a lot, but that night i had awful headaches.

i don't see anything negative with these reactions, since i'm using them to motivate me not to step outside paleo. but i'm curious as to why they occur. professor de vany also mentioned that he gets more of a bloated feeling after eating bread those times he eats it (very rarely). he speculated that he has lost the ability to digest it as he had done before. also chinese people who come from a background of not drinking milk, and have digestive issues when they do, can build up a tolerance for it if they just continue to drink it regularly. their gas, loose stools gradually disappear. so it seems we can lose the ability to normally digest certain food as well as develop the ability to digest foods that we previously did not tolerate well.

what is the mechanism?

D69d10c3b22d75b09a12f0ebfc7c61b9

(230)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:23 PM

vmary: regular "soy sauce" is usually made of 50% soy and 50% wheat. read the ingredients. go for organic tamari sauce, which will be 100% soy, instead. some restaurants do keep a bottle in stock, I always ask.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 24, 2010
at 04:48 AM

gluten-free soy sauce = tamari sauce

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 12, 2010
at 08:33 PM

gf soy sauce? i don't geddit.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on September 10, 2010
at 10:35 PM

This sounds a lot like gluten intolerance, not just a lack of enzymes. Perhaps avoid the crab and take your own GF soy sauce if you decide to try again.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 08, 2010
at 01:56 PM

@Girl Gone Primal: Exactly.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on September 08, 2010
at 10:00 AM

You can be allergic to practically anything - I think it's more indicative that very few people (if any?) would be what we'd call 'intolerant' of meat. Allergies are one thing, but a general inability to digest meat makes no evolutionary sense.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 06, 2010
at 09:16 PM

@Ed: 1. "... although not commonly ..." I'm satisfied with that. But thanks for the link, I'll check it out. 2. I know, I know; I just wanted my last sentence to be snappy. Though I guess here at Paleohacks accuracy should be more important than rhetorical effectiveness ... [smiley face.]

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:21 PM

WCC Paul, 2 points: 1) Meat allergy does occur, although not commonly ( http://www.allallergy.net/fapaidfind.cfm?cdeoc=133 ). 2) Food allergy is just one subtype of the broad category of food sensitivities. Carbohydrate intolerance is usually a sensitivity, but not an allergy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 05:59 PM

I remember sylvester Stallone said he gave up red meat for a while and when he ate a burger he had such a bad reaction that he decided to always eat one every once in a while. This was years ago. I don't know what his diet is like now, but he looked good in his movie 'the expendables'.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 05:53 PM

you're right. That's why I'm now wondering if the 'elimination' diet really can tell you anything.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:26 PM

I'm sure you'll survive without it :) However some people feel the same after some fruit after not eating any for a while and conlude that the fruit must be unhealthy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:16 PM

Thx Stephen I can't fight with my husband too much on that stuff or I'm going to go gray faster than I already am.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:12 PM

True, but since I'll be satisfied with never coping with a coke again Im leaving it off my menu.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:03 PM

Most fake crab has wheat, most soy sauce has wheat. Just FYI.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:03 PM

Rebecca I had the exact same sushi before but in the past I ate even more in one sitting. I had no prob with digestion before- and believe me- I would remember feeling like a zepplin.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 02:56 PM

Cool! Makes sense! Paying with headaches etc for digesting garbage will help me stay on this diet. although paying with hangovers doesn't keep everyone from drinking to excess, the threat of a sugar hangover will keep my sweet tooth in check.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 06, 2010
at 02:17 PM

I'm skeptical of the "food-combining" hypothesis. Your small intestine is about 7 meters long ( http://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray/subjects/subject/248 ), so there's plenty of time and surface area to sort out the various nutrients. My body is very happy when I eat a sweet potato with my steak.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 06, 2010
at 02:10 PM

Yes, there is no point wasting energy making enzymes you don't need.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 06, 2010
at 01:41 PM

What makes you so sure they don't lose the ability. It could be a matter of digestive enzymes that take time to establish, or gut flora, or something else. I think it is important to take someone's first-hand experience at face value, rather than dismissing it as impossible

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 06, 2010
at 01:40 PM

What makes you so sure they don't [u]lose[/u] the ability. It could be a matter of digestive enzymes that take time to establish, or gut flora, or something else. I think it is important to take someone's first-hand experience at face value, rather than dismissing it as impossible.

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4 Answers

6
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 06, 2010
at 02:07 PM

One mechanism is enzyme induction.

Enzymes are proteins, which are metabolically expensive to produce. It makes evolutionary sense that your body makes less digestive enzymes such as lactase and sucrase when they're not needed. If your diet changes, your body can gradually increase the production of some enzymes through a process of enzyme induction.

For example, the production of lactase enzyme can be increased in some lactose-intolerant individuals by feeding them lactose ( http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/laa/biola/vk/peuhkuri/chap6.html ). Also, studies in rats have shown that other carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, such as sucrase-isomaltase, trehalase, and maltase-glucoamylase--can be induced by hydrocortisone administration ( http://www.springerlink.com/content/p81m0g2367666r6r/ ).

Your body makes more of what it needs, and less of what it doesn't need--brilliant!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 02:56 PM

Cool! Makes sense! Paying with headaches etc for digesting garbage will help me stay on this diet. although paying with hangovers doesn't keep everyone from drinking to excess, the threat of a sugar hangover will keep my sweet tooth in check.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 06, 2010
at 02:10 PM

Yes, there is no point wasting energy making enzymes you don't need.

1
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 06, 2010
at 04:59 PM

By saying this I don't intend to disagree with what has been written so far, but: when I was vegetarian and started eating meat again I had no problems whatsoever with my digestion. This happened several times, in fact, because I went back and forth between veg and non-veg. I also think it's no coincidence that of all the things people can be allergic to, it seems like meat is never one of them ...

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:21 PM

WCC Paul, 2 points: 1) Meat allergy does occur, although not commonly ( http://www.allallergy.net/fapaidfind.cfm?cdeoc=133 ). 2) Food allergy is just one subtype of the broad category of food sensitivities. Carbohydrate intolerance is usually a sensitivity, but not an allergy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 05:59 PM

I remember sylvester Stallone said he gave up red meat for a while and when he ate a burger he had such a bad reaction that he decided to always eat one every once in a while. This was years ago. I don't know what his diet is like now, but he looked good in his movie 'the expendables'.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 06, 2010
at 09:16 PM

@Ed: 1. "... although not commonly ..." I'm satisfied with that. But thanks for the link, I'll check it out. 2. I know, I know; I just wanted my last sentence to be snappy. Though I guess here at Paleohacks accuracy should be more important than rhetorical effectiveness ... [smiley face.]

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on September 08, 2010
at 10:00 AM

You can be allergic to practically anything - I think it's more indicative that very few people (if any?) would be what we'd call 'intolerant' of meat. Allergies are one thing, but a general inability to digest meat makes no evolutionary sense.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 08, 2010
at 01:56 PM

@Girl Gone Primal: Exactly.

1
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 06, 2010
at 01:44 PM

From my perspective i've never lost the ability to digest anything and have always been able to eat anything without a problem. However it does seem to be a common experience.

There is no known answer to this question, only speculation. There are most likely several different explanations depending on the food and situation.

If you cut any group of foods or macronutrients from your diet for a while you will probably reduce the production of all the things needed to digest an absorb them. If you ate a low fat diet for a few months and then tried to drink a glass of cream or coconut milk you would probably be sick. Same for eating cake after eating low carb. The body soon adapts to changes.

I think gut bacteria mostly infulence foods that reach the colon undigested, an example of this is fiber. If you are not acustomed to eating much soluble fiber then alot of fruit can easily upset your digestion. It is unlikely that you need any gut flora to digest white rice as your own bodies enzymes can digest all the starch. However if you do not digest it all your native bacteria will have fun digesting if for you, probably with unwelcome results.

The more diverse a diet you eat the better prepared you are to cope with eating anything.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:12 PM

True, but since I'll be satisfied with never coping with a coke again Im leaving it off my menu.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:26 PM

I'm sure you'll survive without it :) However some people feel the same after some fruit after not eating any for a while and conlude that the fruit must be unhealthy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 05:53 PM

you're right. That's why I'm now wondering if the 'elimination' diet really can tell you anything.

0
Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

on September 06, 2010
at 01:31 PM

Combining startchy carbs and protien are what will give you gas/stomach upset. There is a ton of info on line about food combining. Carbs and protien digest at different rates, using different chemicals to break them down, so when you throw them in together, or very close to one another, the body isn't happy.

If you ate rice on an empty stomach, you would not have had the same reaction. You likely had it before just not as bad and didn't notice it as much.

People don't "loose the ability" to digest certain foods in short periods of time.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 06, 2010
at 02:17 PM

I'm skeptical of the "food-combining" hypothesis. Your small intestine is about 7 meters long ( http://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray/subjects/subject/248 ), so there's plenty of time and surface area to sort out the various nutrients. My body is very happy when I eat a sweet potato with my steak.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 06, 2010
at 03:03 PM

Rebecca I had the exact same sushi before but in the past I ate even more in one sitting. I had no prob with digestion before- and believe me- I would remember feeling like a zepplin.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 06, 2010
at 01:41 PM

What makes you so sure they don't lose the ability. It could be a matter of digestive enzymes that take time to establish, or gut flora, or something else. I think it is important to take someone's first-hand experience at face value, rather than dismissing it as impossible

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 06, 2010
at 01:40 PM

What makes you so sure they don't [u]lose[/u] the ability. It could be a matter of digestive enzymes that take time to establish, or gut flora, or something else. I think it is important to take someone's first-hand experience at face value, rather than dismissing it as impossible.

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