1

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Does anyone else find that fat upsets their stomach? Is this possible?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 07, 2012 at 3:55 AM

Hi all, I'm on day 28 of my 30 day challenge, and it's been rough, but I'm trying to learn as much about what works and what doesn't work for me, so I can modify and enjoy the benefits of the paleo lifestyle. I think I'm isolating that it's fat (maybe meat based fat) that is upsetting my stomach/causing nausea/GERD. Today, for example, I woke up feeling fine, then had a breakfast of chocolate chili (from WellFed), with a little simple guacamole on top. Within 30 minutes, I felt nausea, GERD, and a general sense of indigestion. I didn't feel better till around 2:30, at which point I had some deli turkey with some guacamole, and a lara bar, and felt great all afternoon. All day long, I sipped my own version of bulletproof tea (good earth decaf tea + coconut milk). I had dinner of sauteed mushrooms and chicken legs (no skin), and feel fine.

I've been trying to play detective, and it seems worst when I eat red meat (fatty meat)--so it could be red meat or fatty meat that's causing the problem.

Prior to starting on the paleo lifestyle, I've always had trouble tolerating high fat meats, cheeses, and oily foods. Nuts and avocados have historically been fine. But all the paleo/primal folks have indicated that we should increase fats, so I've tried. It makes me wonder if all my whole 30 misery might be related to difficulty tolerating meat fats. Or am I crazy?

can you help me figure this out? Is there something else I'm missing? Or does anyone else have difficulty with meat based fats?

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:57 AM

Thanks all for your thoughtful ideas. I've removed avocado for two days (super nauseous this afternoon, not at all yesterday and this morning), so I'm guessing it's not that. It seems like it could be tomatoes, red meat/fat, coconut milk or Good Earth tea. I'm at day 30 now of Whole 30, but I might go a bit longer to continue the elimination diet. It's so frustrating to still be dealing with reflux/nausea this far in.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 07, 2012
at 07:00 PM

The name is a little misleading. lol. Well if that was the meal that gave you the grief then I would start looking at the ingredients in that that are not in the other meals you eat.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on February 07, 2012
at 05:27 PM

It took me a couple of months to finally figure it out. I just could not believe that it could possibly be that so I was a bit slow on the uptake. It's been 8 months. I'm going to do a test run in a month or so to see if I can tolerate it now. Wish me luck.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I also have avocado issues now. Glad you figured it out too

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on February 07, 2012
at 01:00 PM

I'll note that like you I never had a historical problem with avocado. It just sortof happened

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 07:12 AM

I think you're right that I've got to keep a food diary, so I can get to the bottom of this, and work on a more scientific basis.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 07:11 AM

the chocolate chili is based primarily in ground beef. Some canned tomatoes, some tomato paste, some cocoa, cumin, onions, and coconut oil, I believe.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 07, 2012
at 06:39 AM

lol I remember when I was drinking like 4 cups of that tea a day and my doctor was testing me for all kinds of horrible disorders. When the weather warmed up all the weird mouth problems went away since I don't like the tea when it's warm outside.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 07, 2012
at 06:35 AM

I don't normally get heartburn these days, but I had to stop putting chocolate in my chili because it seemed to bring a return of it. The tea and coconut milk combo sounds delightful, but I wonder if that could be contributing to the heartburn too, but in ways that aren't noticable until you have a full belly. The orange oil (which is in the Good Earth tea) can cause digestion and mouth problems if you are sensitive to it. If you are adding canned coconut milk there are likely additives like guar gum that could be an issue.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 06:10 AM

Wow, I've never heard of this, and for the first few weeks of the paleo diet, my only fruit was no sugar added applesauce, with a few cherries here and there. I'm going to see what happens if I cut the FODMAPs. Great tip!

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:54 AM

Totally a fair point, and I'll spend some more time ruling stuff out. I'm just trying to figure out what the likeliest contenders are, as I previously was thinking it was just all of paleo, but I felt FABULOUS all afternoon, which made me begin thinking it might just be dietary choices that didn't work right for me.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Hee hee hee. You can have my bacon. Don't like it. (gasp! Am I banned from the boards now?)

Dabdb4e771b72dff14709b0258b207a7

(201)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:41 AM

Super sound advice. I know they are not super fun but elimination diets, diet experimenting can teach you so much about your body. Good luck with everything.

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12 Answers

best answer

3
4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:14 AM

The classic answer to "fat causes me belly aches" is that it has something to due to bile, so a GI might look into something like gallstones or pancreatitis. Those are possible but I would try to treat SIBO first (since doctors won't look into it and it's easy to treat yourself).

SIBO is bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine. It's promoted by eating fermentatble carbs, like FODMAPs or even starch (in large quantities). Fat would be fine, but for the fact that it slows digestion, leaving the bacteria more time to ferment the fermentatble stuff.

Before giving up on fat, try limiting FODMAPs and starch for a while, and try betain HCL or Kombucha before meals too.

Good luck.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 06:10 AM

Wow, I've never heard of this, and for the first few weeks of the paleo diet, my only fruit was no sugar added applesauce, with a few cherries here and there. I'm going to see what happens if I cut the FODMAPs. Great tip!

7
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 07, 2012
at 04:12 AM

You can only know if you try meat fat without anything else. It could be the nightshades or chocolate in the chili for example. Or the Good Earth Tea (I used to drink that so much that it gave me mouth ulcers). "Seems" isn't a good way to rule it out. You should either eliminate other potentially problematic things or eliminate the meat and see what things are like. And even if you are sensitive to it now, it's possible to have less of a sensitivity if you can improve your digestion in the future, so you might just have to avoid it temporarily and then slowly add it back in.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 07, 2012
at 06:35 AM

I don't normally get heartburn these days, but I had to stop putting chocolate in my chili because it seemed to bring a return of it. The tea and coconut milk combo sounds delightful, but I wonder if that could be contributing to the heartburn too, but in ways that aren't noticable until you have a full belly. The orange oil (which is in the Good Earth tea) can cause digestion and mouth problems if you are sensitive to it. If you are adding canned coconut milk there are likely additives like guar gum that could be an issue.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 07, 2012
at 06:39 AM

lol I remember when I was drinking like 4 cups of that tea a day and my doctor was testing me for all kinds of horrible disorders. When the weather warmed up all the weird mouth problems went away since I don't like the tea when it's warm outside.

Dabdb4e771b72dff14709b0258b207a7

(201)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:41 AM

Super sound advice. I know they are not super fun but elimination diets, diet experimenting can teach you so much about your body. Good luck with everything.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:54 AM

Totally a fair point, and I'll spend some more time ruling stuff out. I'm just trying to figure out what the likeliest contenders are, as I previously was thinking it was just all of paleo, but I felt FABULOUS all afternoon, which made me begin thinking it might just be dietary choices that didn't work right for me.

2
C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on February 07, 2012
at 05:11 AM

I don't think you need to over do it with fats. Listen to your body. It talks. You just have to figure out what it's saying.

Anecdotally, I get that exact reaction from avocado. It is sad and awful cuz I love the avocado, but it's just not worth the awful feeling I get from eating it. Never happened (or didn't notice it) before going Paleo. So strange. In fact, the cleaner my diet got the worse the reaction to it seemed to get. Finally just had to give it up after I did an elimination diet.

Also, it is a small chance, but I'll say it any way. If you've had your gallbladder removed I hear that this can affect people's ability to process fat.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I also have avocado issues now. Glad you figured it out too

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on February 07, 2012
at 05:27 PM

It took me a couple of months to finally figure it out. I just could not believe that it could possibly be that so I was a bit slow on the uptake. It's been 8 months. I'm going to do a test run in a month or so to see if I can tolerate it now. Wish me luck.

1
Ffd5a4e7282c73f035ed416d154dd313

on February 18, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Hi,

I am also on day 30 of the Paleo challenge, and I had the same problem through almost all of my 30 days. I kept getting heartburn, which I had never had before, and I couldn't figure out why. Finally I realized it was the coconut milk, which I was putting in my smoothie almost every day. I never drank coconut milk before I went Paleo so maybe my system just isn't used to it. I was so bummed to figure that out because I LOVE the creamy texture it gives my smoothies, but definitely not worth having heartburn every afternoon.

You just need to keep playing detective to figure out what food is bothering you but keep in mind that it might be a food you ate more than a few hours ago. I would eat coconut milk in the morning and the heartburn wouldn't set in until mid to late afternoon. If you cut something out, give it at least a few days to see if you're feeling better.

Don't give up. I know it's frustrating because some people go Paleo and feel awesome from day one and here we are 30 days in and feeling miserable, but once you figure it out, it'll be worth it.

1
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on February 07, 2012
at 12:59 PM

I get sick when I eat avocado. You should test this as a factor. Try the chili without the guac and log results, then try the chili with the guac. There was another question on paleohacks describing avocado/kiwi/mango allergies so you may want to search for that.

This might not be your solution but it's better to eliminate a known possibility than keep guessing.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on February 07, 2012
at 01:00 PM

I'll note that like you I never had a historical problem with avocado. It just sortof happened

1
4cef3e34563d751268a800eb9c110594

(273)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:22 AM

I know how frustrating it can be to find a sweet spot when starting a paleo lifestyle! It is truly a great day when you realize you have everything adjusted so that you are sleeping well, making progress in the gym and above anything else, have healthy innards!

I too dealt with issues for a while until I figured out what was working and what wasnt. I had slow digestion until I added about 8-12oz. of raw milk a day.

If you are going strict paleo and not venturing into dairy, try adjusting fat ratios per meal. Perhaps a smaller amount at a time? Gradually increasing as your body heals. Also, if you are very motivated, you could try one fat at a time for a few days straight to see if something stands out as the culprit.

I found that logging my meals and seeing actual grams of Fat, Carbs and Protein allowed me to dial in so that I am able to manage overall consistency with digestion and know what my limits (ballpark) are with each.

Good luck & dont get too discouraged!

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 07:12 AM

I think you're right that I've got to keep a food diary, so I can get to the bottom of this, and work on a more scientific basis.

1
61b70c2f195b0e669a8e25000148d9dd

(10)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:20 AM

Try HCL pills. I had chronic GERD for years that was made worse by fat. The HCL helps me break it down and eliminates the GERD entirely.

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:59 AM

I take it bacon and butter/ghee are bad too?

It really sounds to me like you've got a bile issue, so maybe try some ox bile to help digest the fats.

Oh, and no problems here, nom nom nom. Can I have your bacon?

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Hee hee hee. You can have my bacon. Don't like it. (gasp! Am I banned from the boards now?)

0
17dbef13eb14ec1d594572a1e8301765

on August 07, 2012
at 06:39 AM

Did you find out what is was? I've been having the same and it only started when I starting using coconut milk.

0
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on February 07, 2012
at 01:33 PM

If I was having chocolate chili with guacamole for breakfast, the ground beef would be the last thing I'd suspect! I'm all for unconventional breakfasts but, depending on what I last ate and how I slept etc., if I get too creative then that's when I'm most likely to suffer for it - particularly if I'm breaking the fast earlier than I need to.

Or maybe the meat isn't quite cooked enough?

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 07, 2012
at 06:28 AM

The meal that caused the nausea, didn't have meat in it.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 07, 2012
at 07:11 AM

the chocolate chili is based primarily in ground beef. Some canned tomatoes, some tomato paste, some cocoa, cumin, onions, and coconut oil, I believe.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 07, 2012
at 07:00 PM

The name is a little misleading. lol. Well if that was the meal that gave you the grief then I would start looking at the ingredients in that that are not in the other meals you eat.

0
51a4b53ca196e59b01960b1a39b5f5a3

on February 07, 2012
at 04:17 AM

I often have digestion issues when it comes to what I "break the fast" with. Before Paleo some mornings I would have plain black tea and dry toast, and then eat a real breakfast 15 minutes later. My breakfast is now a small piece of fruit, tea and a handful of nuts. Then I have a more balanced morning meal when I'm feeling up to it.

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