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One beer made me sick after three weeks on Paleo, is this the norm?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 21, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Does beer make anyone else absolutely ill-feeling? In my case, I had one small beer after three weeks of eating Paleo, my husband (Paleo as well) had two and we both awoke the next morning to feeling as though we had gone on a Vegas-style bender, complete with vomiting (charming detail, I know). We each had different types of beer and Paleo meals, so it wasn't food poisoning and our non-Paleo friends felt just fine. Is beer forever off the menu?! Is my dream of it as a "cheat" dashed or was it just too soon after beginning the Paleo lifestyle? Give me some hope (or reality :)!

1a7ba557a417504545aa70272b226f8f

on June 19, 2012
at 06:23 PM

Thanks for the comments! I don't check in here much... I'm glad you found this helpful.

B04787f664abf9bebc28f71bf7825a3c

(877)

on May 28, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Me and my husband found hard cider before ever going Paleo or even hearing about it! Woodchuck hard cider seems to be the most prevalent around my area (nw indiana) but I've had Crispin (sp?) from tap down at Notre Dame's Legends sports bar and that was fantastic. Then there is Hornsby's but that one is more rough tasting.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 27, 2012
at 10:16 PM

I agree that mixing grape and grain is asking for trouble. Grain and grain (as in Saki + Kirin saki bombs) is the same as a beer hangover to me. Drinking top shelf vodka all night leaves me virtually physically unphased the next morning, however.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 27, 2012
at 10:11 PM

Yes, mixing grape and grain is asking for trouble.

01eb62476756ea980bf8fc048179d4bc

(374)

on May 27, 2012
at 07:25 PM

agreed. i love red wine, but can't drink it anymore due to debilitating hangovers with even small amounts!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 27, 2012
at 07:15 PM

I forgot to tell you - don't ever mix alcohol. If you are drinking wine, drink it the whole night. If you mix different drinks, your hangover will be worse.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 27, 2012
at 06:50 PM

Be careful b/c no hangover is worse than one that comes from red wine...or champagne.

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:23 AM

Interesting, hard cider sounds good though! Thanks for answering!

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:22 AM

I am willing to try it again in a month or so. That was just a bit too gross of a reality. As I said in an above post, I might give a donut a try in a couple weeks (such a sacrifice :). Thanks for the post!

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:17 AM

It was a wheat beer from Belgium, I don't recall the name. It was in a small bottle. I will give Bards and New Grist a try as an occasional beer would be a nice treat. Thanks for your answer!

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:12 AM

I will try the barley malt. Thanks for the tip!

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:11 AM

What a great way to illustrate how the body heals! It was so eye opening to have this occur, reinforcing my decision to stay grain-free. Perhaps I will experiment with a donut in a month ;)

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:09 AM

Thanks! I guess I will play it safe with wine for now :)

D234fb481bab6f51f5f2c23e1d21a500

(0)

on April 21, 2012
at 08:22 PM

If he's testing for gluten intolerance, shouldn't he try something other than beer? He may not tolerate alcohol well, or perhaps there are some preservatives in commercial beer to which he is reacting. If you really want to test the thesis "gluten intolerance" (or wheat intolerance), have a piece of bread.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 21, 2012
at 07:24 PM

+1 on the New Grist. That's a tasty beer! It reminds me of a good Heffe or Whitbier, but no gluten.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 21, 2012
at 07:09 PM

From what I've read the only Anheuser Busch product that is GF is Redbridge- made or sorghum. Budweiser is still made with barley... As a celiac who is very sensitive to gluten 20 ppm doesn't cut it for me. You can't be a little pregnant, and you cant be mostly gluten free: you are or arent. Gluten free beers which are pretty decent include Bards and New Grist- haven't seen Redbridge in Canada.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 21, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Budweiser is essentially gluten-free. It's mostly brewed from a corn mash and tests under 20 ppm gluten (which for legal purposes is gluten-free). So I'm calling BS on the gluten making you sick.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on April 21, 2012
at 06:23 PM

love your explanation! this is so true of introducing everything back in!

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12 Answers

9
1a7ba557a417504545aa70272b226f8f

on April 21, 2012
at 06:05 PM

At first glance it sounds like a gluten issue to me, too. And almost all beer is made with gluten. If it doesn't explicitly say "gluten free" you know it's gluten-full.

But I also find that for some people, getting their system really clean dramatically reduces their alcohol tolerance. I'd have to look up the specific detox pathways and enzyme systems, but that might be a piece of what's going on here.

A third possibility: Alcohol is quick sugar for the body. If y'all have been strict about your Paleo diet, you've probably gone into ketosis. This is good. But with the alcohol, you just gave yourself a big dose of straight sugar at a time when your body is just getting used to a completely different fuel. This alone could make you feel sick ??? it's a sugar hangover. Think how nauseous people often feel after eating a big bunch of cookies or icky cake or cotton candy. Could that be part of what you experienced?

Add any of those things together and you might have a good explanation for what happened.

Will you ever be able to have beer again? Probably, in small amounts, but not for a while yet.

I think part of the issue here is that you're so newly into the process. When you first remove problematic foods that have long been dietary staples, your body starts turning its energy away from trying to soldier on while carrying an unreasonable burden (which is why you might not have felt overtly sick eating/drinking certain things before) to actually healing itself. When you suddenly reintroduce something problematic, you get to see how problematic that thing was to you in the first place.

Example: Someone hits you on the shoulder, on the same spot, repeatedly, for years. Eventually your body learns that it just has to put up with this assault, and it starts going kinda numb so you can just soldier on through it. But then one day the hitting stops. At first your body doesn't quite believe it's over, so the defenses stay in place. But then it starts to understand that the problem is over. It gets the nerves started up again, sends blood into the area to heal the damage. If you allow the entire healing process to occur, an occasional punch in the shoulder may hurt a little, but your body's natural resilience will compensate and it won't be too bad. Early in the healing process, your bruised and abused shoulder is just coming back to life. Hitting it then will feel absolutely awful, because your coping mechanisms (numbness, etc.) have just turned off but the damage hasn't been addressed. Maybe an example would be novocaine wearing off in the middle of getting a filling: you can't eat with that tooth yet because the healing's not done, and the pain will be worse than when you just had a cavity.

Bottom line: It's very common to have disproportionate reactions to food/drink triggers early in a detox process. That doesn't mean you're doing the wrong thing or have made yourself worse. What it means is these things were really very problematic for you all along and you're just starting to heal.

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:11 AM

What a great way to illustrate how the body heals! It was so eye opening to have this occur, reinforcing my decision to stay grain-free. Perhaps I will experiment with a donut in a month ;)

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on April 21, 2012
at 06:23 PM

love your explanation! this is so true of introducing everything back in!

1a7ba557a417504545aa70272b226f8f

on June 19, 2012
at 06:23 PM

Thanks for the comments! I don't check in here much... I'm glad you found this helpful.

6
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on April 21, 2012
at 05:32 PM

Sounds like you are gluten intolerant. Wine is healthier and has no gluten. If worse comes to worse, drink vodka.

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:09 AM

Thanks! I guess I will play it safe with wine for now :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 27, 2012
at 06:50 PM

Be careful b/c no hangover is worse than one that comes from red wine...or champagne.

01eb62476756ea980bf8fc048179d4bc

(374)

on May 27, 2012
at 07:25 PM

agreed. i love red wine, but can't drink it anymore due to debilitating hangovers with even small amounts!

3
8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

on April 21, 2012
at 05:44 PM

My husband has a wheat (NOT gluten) allergy and beer w/ wheat gives him a terrible hangover. If he drinks beer brewed w/ just barley malt, he's fine. He drinks a lot of Rogue since they list their ingredients on the bottle (most beers don't). So it could be gluten, or could be wheat, or could be sthg else altogether.

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:12 AM

I will try the barley malt. Thanks for the tip!

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 21, 2012
at 06:45 PM

Congrats on probably having a legitimate and significant amount of gluten intolerance. (Had to spin it positive, because 'no beer for you? sucks for you!' isn't as nice sounding.)

But try again a few more times, N=1 means essentially nothing. If you go 3 out of 3, in terms of glutening, you probably should avoid it.

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:22 AM

I am willing to try it again in a month or so. That was just a bit too gross of a reality. As I said in an above post, I might give a donut a try in a couple weeks (such a sacrifice :). Thanks for the post!

D234fb481bab6f51f5f2c23e1d21a500

(0)

on April 21, 2012
at 08:22 PM

If he's testing for gluten intolerance, shouldn't he try something other than beer? He may not tolerate alcohol well, or perhaps there are some preservatives in commercial beer to which he is reacting. If you really want to test the thesis "gluten intolerance" (or wheat intolerance), have a piece of bread.

1
18d89478c2fbd0a69889ae094f5fa5d3

on April 21, 2012
at 05:33 PM

What kind of beer was it? Certain ones tend to make people with gluten sensitivity sick. It tends to mimic the ill affects if you've been Paleo. For instance, Budweiser makes both myself (Paleo) and my Non-Paleo friend with a Gluten allergy pretty dang sick.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 21, 2012
at 07:09 PM

From what I've read the only Anheuser Busch product that is GF is Redbridge- made or sorghum. Budweiser is still made with barley... As a celiac who is very sensitive to gluten 20 ppm doesn't cut it for me. You can't be a little pregnant, and you cant be mostly gluten free: you are or arent. Gluten free beers which are pretty decent include Bards and New Grist- haven't seen Redbridge in Canada.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 21, 2012
at 07:24 PM

+1 on the New Grist. That's a tasty beer! It reminds me of a good Heffe or Whitbier, but no gluten.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 21, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Budweiser is essentially gluten-free. It's mostly brewed from a corn mash and tests under 20 ppm gluten (which for legal purposes is gluten-free). So I'm calling BS on the gluten making you sick.

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:17 AM

It was a wheat beer from Belgium, I don't recall the name. It was in a small bottle. I will give Bards and New Grist a try as an occasional beer would be a nice treat. Thanks for your answer!

0
2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 05, 2013
at 10:53 PM

I recently had a similar experience, though with Gluten free beer I had just ordered from a pharmacy. So- it wasn't the gluten. Coincidently, I was in the process (over a three day period) of making a 5 tier birthday cake (gluten free) for my daughter. In two days, I had two of the gluten free beers (first beer in 2 years) and felt like total crap- sluggishness, irritability, diarrhea then constipation. Just today, one week later I decided to be brave and try one more beer. No problem. So in my case, I am sure it was due to the sugar I decided to use in the cake instead of Xylitol in order to save money. Most of the birthday guests could care less about health. !!!! So, just tasting the cake and fillings and frosting for me was a sugar overload. Top that off with the alcohol and maybe the grains in the beer- SUGAR HANGOVER MID DAY.

0
Ba99a15e6bf870b81286791617050593

(671)

on November 26, 2012
at 04:22 AM

I used to love 2-3 beers every friday night when I wasn't on paleo and was marathon training. Rather than making me feel worse they usually made me feel better - I'd have plenty of energy for the next day.

I did a full-cut out, no-grains or alcohol, still running, etc. After about two months I had a Dale's Pale Ale on draught and it felt like I'd inflated a balloon in my stomach.The sort of gut feeling where you don't want to sit/lie down/anything, and woke up the next morning groggy.

I haven't seen a lot of scholarly data on intolerance/built-up immunity, but in my experience - yea. Your body loses its ability to process it as easily. For better or for worse.

0
553d5f06e4ecfe94f1d3373e3a671150

on November 26, 2012
at 03:10 AM

** Alcohol is quick sugar for the body. If y'all have been strict about your Paleo diet, you've probably gone into ketosis. This is good. But with the alcohol, you just gave yourself a big dose of straight sugar at a time when your body is just getting used to a completely different fuel. This alone could make you feel sick — it's a sugar hangover. Think how nauseous people often feel after eating a big bunch of cookies or icky cake or cotton candy. Could that be part of what you experienced?**

Not true. Alcohol is not sugar, it is sugar that has been consumed by yeast and then excreted by the yeast as alcohol. Drinking alcohol actually lowers your blood sugar. That's what triggers hunger after a night of drinking. That's completely erroneous to say you get a sugar hangover from drinking beer. Beer does have carbohydrates in it, but very little sugar.

http://www.maxwettsteinfitness.com/Library/Alcohol.htm

0
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 28, 2012
at 02:48 AM

If you are low carb, you will be less able to tolerate alcohol.

0
C8761ba686da2059e28014990b1ceb00

on May 27, 2012
at 06:43 PM

I have the same problem. Due to my health problem, I started low carb diet similar to the paleo diet. I get very sick from one drink of any type of alcohol that can last up to a week. I think it has something to do with messing up the blood sugars after your body has adapted to a clean low glycemic diet.

0
E55906cdb6839a23fd740ad85d160cc8

(1159)

on April 21, 2012
at 09:30 PM

I can no longer drink beer, wine or liquor. The hangovers from a small amount are terrible. The heartburn for days is worse. Including gluten-free beer. They both completely destroy my stomach in different ways. The histamines from red wine induce head-splitting pain. The only alcohol I can consume now is a small amount of dry hard cider. What you're experiencing is normal for a large group of people. I can't tolerate second hand smoke at all either. I get nauseous before I've even registered the smell.

956b90c4d825754d206c298938d45ec1

(0)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:23 AM

Interesting, hard cider sounds good though! Thanks for answering!

B04787f664abf9bebc28f71bf7825a3c

(877)

on May 28, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Me and my husband found hard cider before ever going Paleo or even hearing about it! Woodchuck hard cider seems to be the most prevalent around my area (nw indiana) but I've had Crispin (sp?) from tap down at Notre Dame's Legends sports bar and that was fantastic. Then there is Hornsby's but that one is more rough tasting.

0
De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db

(2227)

on April 21, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Beer makes me feel bloated, that's about it. Everyone is different. Still tastes great ;)

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