6

votes

Why do people experience severe intestinal pain from cheating on paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Anyone have links to great resources/papers on the reason why people experience severe intestinal pain when they "cheat" with a bit of gluten or legumes after going Paleo?

My thoughts are that the gut has healed and is now more sensitive to inflammatory factors, but I don't have any scientific evidence to back that up... If you know of anything offhand, thanks much!

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on December 18, 2011
at 01:41 PM

I would be interested to see some studies documenting the changes in the intestines before, during, and after a food intervention with whole, real foods similar to a Paleo/Primal diet in place of highly processed junk.

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on December 18, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Good point. My friend did not seem to have any striking gastrointestinal issues before removing grains and legumes from her diet. Now, if she eats the slightest amount of a food with gluten in it (and certain legumes - black eyed peas being one), she experiences severe intestinal cramping, bloating, and pain within 20 minutes of consuming, such that she is unable to drive afterwards. The addition of gluten is the only difference in each of her episodes, whether in a spice mix or a piece of pizza, and the reaction is always immediate and intense.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 07:41 PM

My timeframe is similar to thatkate 5, although not all those foods bother me. Let's say when I ate the restaurant food the stomach discomfort hit while we were in the car--about 10 minutes later.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on December 16, 2011
at 02:13 PM

I feel terrible after a handful or two of some oily nuts within five minutes-- stomach cramps, gas, diarrhea; too much chocolate gets me in the bathroom in ten. A little gluten takes an hour or two to have me bloated for three days. Dairy gives me tummy troubles within about an hour and keeps my sinuses angry for a week, while my acne returns sometimes by the next morning (once it only took a few hours to see something new on my face). Black- and raspberries make me uncomfortable almost immediately; bananas used to do that, too.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on December 16, 2011
at 08:08 AM

This would make a lot of sense, I've noticed lately that I can no longer tolerate habaneros without a serious stomach ache. I used to eat them raw on salads, when I was eating rather poorly overall. However, the only research I can find on the subject states the opposite: an irritated mucosal lining leads to leaky gut syndrome, whereas a healthy lining consists of tight cell junctions that work "as a barrier against viral, bacterial, fungi, parasitic & food antigens." Can anyone offer some clarification? Anecdotally this does seem to make sense.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:58 AM

That would be a YES for many of us. A few days ago, I had a plain lettuce and tomato salad, no dressing, plus a "hold the bun" burger with cheese and bacon at a restaurant. I don't know what it was, but even with miniscule menu I suffered an hour of of discomfort afterward from something. If I eat a full serving of anything that's not ancestral, then I REALLY pay. So I've stopped cheating.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:57 AM

That would be a YES for many of us. A few days ago, I had a plain lettuce and tomato salad, no dressing, plus a burger with cheese and bacon at a restaurant. I don't know what it was, but I suffered an hour of of discomfort afterward from something. If I eat anything I know is bad, then I REALLY pay. So I've stopped cheating.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 28, 2011
at 12:27 PM

Weirdly, sometimes I wish I had issues, it would probably keep me from being quite so bad. And when I'm bad, I'M BAD.

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:50 PM

I'm with you. I can eat legumes without issue but a lot of the folks I work with have severe reactions that disturb them greatly because they "were not intolerant before"...

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:48 PM

I researched legumes recently and found that kidney beans do have one of the highest lectin contents too. The individual variance with tolerance is an interesting area, but it's frustrating not to have answers for folks sometimes! :) Oh, well. Listen to your body!

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:45 PM

That is exactly what happened to my friend. She was strictly Paleo and gluten-free for six weeks. Now if she eats one piece of cake or even black eyed peas she is up all night in pain. And she didn't believe she was gluten-intolerant before. I can personally eat legumes and not have trouble, but I thought it was interesting.

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:31 PM

This is interesting. Will look into further.

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on July 27, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Lucky. I've had some fairly bad GI distress after either pizza or beer - not sure which. Haven't fully been able to reproduce it with wheat product, haven't even bothered to try beer again :)

8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

(2830)

on July 27, 2011
at 01:33 PM

I know the blood type diet is considered to be mostly bunk around here, but certain blood types supposedly tolerate lentils but not kidney beans due to the alleged presence of certain lectins.

8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

(2830)

on July 27, 2011
at 12:45 PM

I'm also really interested in this phenomenon. I had some very clean, very benign pea protein powder the other day (hardly a "cheat"!) and definitely noticed some gastrointestinal reaction for the following 36 hours - not awful, but definitely noticeable. Meanwhile, I can eat ice cream with no real repercussions.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 27, 2011
at 12:28 PM

I don't know for sure either, but I'm thinking along those lines; either we are more sensitive, or it just seems that way because we've become used to feeling good all the time. I was skeptical about cutting legumes (because they're such a great source of protein and fiber! :D ) but after not having them for a couple months and eating some super bowl chili, I felt awful. I'm gluten intolerant, and it felt the same as if I'd eaten a giant donut.

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12 Answers

5
F074daf8ee19a4c101c533b7fdab708a

(284)

on July 27, 2011
at 03:00 PM

I remember reading something about a mucosal lining that forms as a protectant while eating problem foods. Since these foods were so prevalent before changing to paleo, the chances of having a heavy lining are pretty good. Once cleaning up the diet, the lining is no longer needed/maintained and is flushed out by the body. Therefore when a cheat happens the bodies old, trusted defenses are no longer there, causing greater sensitivity and pain!

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:31 PM

This is interesting. Will look into further.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on December 16, 2011
at 08:08 AM

This would make a lot of sense, I've noticed lately that I can no longer tolerate habaneros without a serious stomach ache. I used to eat them raw on salads, when I was eating rather poorly overall. However, the only research I can find on the subject states the opposite: an irritated mucosal lining leads to leaky gut syndrome, whereas a healthy lining consists of tight cell junctions that work "as a barrier against viral, bacterial, fungi, parasitic & food antigens." Can anyone offer some clarification? Anecdotally this does seem to make sense.

4
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on July 27, 2011
at 12:29 PM

There could be a bunch of reasons.

Most of the time when we "cheat" it ends up being a overeat binge which would probably be the biggest culprit. Not eating these foods for a long time and reintroducing them in huge quantities further causes problems because your body is not used to producing enzymes and certain stuff for these specific foods(not to sure on this one but I've heard it from a couple different people).

I personally never get intestinal pain or anything that negative after eating legumes or wheat. I ate a huge burrito after being gluten/bean free for about a year with absolutely no problems for the most.

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:50 PM

I'm with you. I can eat legumes without issue but a lot of the folks I work with have severe reactions that disturb them greatly because they "were not intolerant before"...

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 27, 2011
at 01:52 PM

After eating gluten, sugar, processed oils, and a bunch of crap most of my life, I think I just got de-sensitized to it. Both my body just putting up with it, and me putting up with all of the symptoms that went along with it -- digestive problems, skin conditions, wildly varying energy levels, inability to lose weight, etc.

Once I went Paleo, and realized that all of these things I had been putting up with were avoidable, I now think of them in my mind as problems I can correct, rather than just "part of life". Now, if I cheat and these symptoms come back, I have a totally different view of them.

I am also now a lot more sensitive to food "pollutants", especially sugar and gluten. Just one bite of these things sends me off into unhappy land. This was a feeling that I used to consider normal, but now know that it is not.

Going strict Paleo really redefined the baseline of what I consider to be good health.

2
013c756670ee6e1456893b5c335fccac

on December 16, 2011
at 01:51 AM

Glad I found this article.

Over Thanksgiving, due to tradition, I went ahead and ate my grandparent's famous stuffing and made-from-scratch rolls. I suppose it was a bit of a splurge, but I cannot even tell you how terrible I felt in the middle of the night. It was like a volcano was erupting inside my stomach!

Then today, I accidentally ate some white flour (had no clue it was an ingredient in French Onion Soup), and even the small traces of flour used in making a small cup have my stomach doing similar somersaults. Once being on paleo for 90 days or so, do even small small doses wreak havoc on the body?

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:58 AM

That would be a YES for many of us. A few days ago, I had a plain lettuce and tomato salad, no dressing, plus a "hold the bun" burger with cheese and bacon at a restaurant. I don't know what it was, but even with miniscule menu I suffered an hour of of discomfort afterward from something. If I eat a full serving of anything that's not ancestral, then I REALLY pay. So I've stopped cheating.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:57 AM

That would be a YES for many of us. A few days ago, I had a plain lettuce and tomato salad, no dressing, plus a burger with cheese and bacon at a restaurant. I don't know what it was, but I suffered an hour of of discomfort afterward from something. If I eat anything I know is bad, then I REALLY pay. So I've stopped cheating.

2
B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

on July 27, 2011
at 02:35 PM

My guess would be you have an intolerance to one of the foods you ate.

1
Medium avatar

on December 16, 2011
at 03:34 AM

"Anyone have links to great resources/papers on the reason why people experience severe intestinal pain when they 'cheat' with a bit of gluten or legumes after going Paleo?"

My friend, I tend to be a "conservative" regarding such global questions.

You posit a cause/effect relationship, yet your question mentions nothing about the time frame involving the eating of something "forbidden" and alleged negative results.

Tell us more.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on December 16, 2011
at 02:13 PM

I feel terrible after a handful or two of some oily nuts within five minutes-- stomach cramps, gas, diarrhea; too much chocolate gets me in the bathroom in ten. A little gluten takes an hour or two to have me bloated for three days. Dairy gives me tummy troubles within about an hour and keeps my sinuses angry for a week, while my acne returns sometimes by the next morning (once it only took a few hours to see something new on my face). Black- and raspberries make me uncomfortable almost immediately; bananas used to do that, too.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 07:41 PM

My timeframe is similar to thatkate 5, although not all those foods bother me. Let's say when I ate the restaurant food the stomach discomfort hit while we were in the car--about 10 minutes later.

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on December 18, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Good point. My friend did not seem to have any striking gastrointestinal issues before removing grains and legumes from her diet. Now, if she eats the slightest amount of a food with gluten in it (and certain legumes - black eyed peas being one), she experiences severe intestinal cramping, bloating, and pain within 20 minutes of consuming, such that she is unable to drive afterwards. The addition of gluten is the only difference in each of her episodes, whether in a spice mix or a piece of pizza, and the reaction is always immediate and intense.

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on December 18, 2011
at 01:41 PM

I would be interested to see some studies documenting the changes in the intestines before, during, and after a food intervention with whole, real foods similar to a Paleo/Primal diet in place of highly processed junk.

1
E242ecf1fecbac866894059f5304b4c6

(318)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:07 PM

Orthorexia.


1
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 27, 2011
at 01:50 PM

Just had my first real cheat this weekend and I'm assuming it had some sort of gluten in it (dessert), but boy I paid!

I know my gut is not healed but I learned my lesson! Pure foods and only foods I prepare!!

I am very curious though why it prompts such a tramatic response in some and not in others? I don't believe I was gluten intolerant before, I was just intolerant in general! So 8 months later a bit and bam!!

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:45 PM

That is exactly what happened to my friend. She was strictly Paleo and gluten-free for six weeks. Now if she eats one piece of cake or even black eyed peas she is up all night in pain. And she didn't believe she was gluten-intolerant before. I can personally eat legumes and not have trouble, but I thought it was interesting.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 27, 2011
at 12:56 PM

It's interesting because I had some lentils a few months ago and felt totally fine afterwards, so I thought legumes weren't an issue. But then I had some chili with kidney beans and my stomach was like WTF. I also had some beer and didn't feel that bad, but when I had some sourdough rye it really messed me up. I think for me the issue is fructans and certain fibers like raffinose, which cause dysbiosis.

8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

(2830)

on July 27, 2011
at 01:33 PM

I know the blood type diet is considered to be mostly bunk around here, but certain blood types supposedly tolerate lentils but not kidney beans due to the alleged presence of certain lectins.

25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 27, 2011
at 04:48 PM

I researched legumes recently and found that kidney beans do have one of the highest lectin contents too. The individual variance with tolerance is an interesting area, but it's frustrating not to have answers for folks sometimes! :) Oh, well. Listen to your body!

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on July 27, 2011
at 04:34 PM

Personally, I used to have shooting intestinal pains all the time before I was paleo... now I only have them when I 'cheat' with foods that aggravate my system (grains, stuff fried in crap vegetable oil, or too much fruit or nuts, basically). But not every time.

0
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on July 27, 2011
at 01:56 PM

at the urging of a very enthusiastic uncle, i ate a piece of "the best fried chicken evah"(it was) and 20 minutes later endured debilitating gastric distress for about an hour. it wasn't worth it.

ps for nostalgic purposes, i use gf pancake mixes for fried chicken and fish occasionally. they get you about 95% of the way there. pamela's pancake mix seems to work the best.

0
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on July 27, 2011
at 01:11 PM

I just had a two week break from Paleo and ate awful, awful SAD food and had no issues at all, other than water weight gain from the carbs.

I have been fairly strict Paleo since 10/10.

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on July 27, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Lucky. I've had some fairly bad GI distress after either pizza or beer - not sure which. Haven't fully been able to reproduce it with wheat product, haven't even bothered to try beer again :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 28, 2011
at 12:27 PM

Weirdly, sometimes I wish I had issues, it would probably keep me from being quite so bad. And when I'm bad, I'M BAD.

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