Something in Paleo is causing diarrhea

by 25 · July 10, 2013 at 08:35 AM

I've been 97% paleo for the past 60 days. After the first 20 days my bathroom routine changed and my stools became very loose, to the point that a few times a week I need to RUN to the bathroom.

How do I figure out what is causing the problem? I've been searching the internet for common causes in the paleo diet and haven't found anything.

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20 Replies

50 · March 10, 2012 at 04:31 PM

Hi Amy. I had the same issue! I felt like I had a bloaty build up then hit the bathroom then fine for a couple days and then the cycle replays. I got my blood tested first off, because I was worried I was not getting the nutrition from my food (expensive grass fed beef, etc).I had to wait for 10 days for the results during that time I researched more and really it looked like leaky gut-ish thing so I cut out nuts completely, tried daily kefir (no dairy for me) and then sauerkraut daily (perfect). Also upped my seaweed for iodine (I have eczema that started a month into paleo another sign of belly issues). I felt better but still I was not regular and so concerned about what I ate it was playing tricks with my mind. I reread the whole30 (that is how I got here) and tripled my veggies and doubled up on my fats (I still can't do straight oils but avacados work). I started feeling better within a day. Finally, we get to the end of the story, I got my blood work results I was below the chart on Vit D. It has been 3 weeks on a vit D3 supplement (and everything I added above) and I feel fantastic. Regular, great energy and I have actually started shedding weight again. I realized for me to eat nuts they need to be more processed prior, chopped/baked/blended, or it causes problems. I have not tried dehydrating them but think that would be the ticket. Seeds on the other hand are fine. Paleo eating is a very custom. I know this is just my experience (and I will continue adjusting). I hope some part of it can help you feel better. Good luck.

30 · December 29, 2012 at 06:11 AM

I have got to chime in on this one...I found this while doing a search about diarrhea and nuts...and IRONICALLY...I am a cave girl! So I have been recently eating more nuts as I got super lean and stayed away from nuts in the past wanted to get some healthy fats. Well I have had embarassing urgent bathroom trips that I have never been able to feel "clean" from unless ive just showered. Now ive cut out the nuts for a trial of 2 days and Ive had nice, normal stools. I love nuts but aparently, they don't love me!

20 · February 01, 2013 at 02:48 AM

I am still looking for more answers, but my stools are vastly improved when I consistently take a probiotic. I tried it after other research suggested it and it made sense and definitely helps. My problem is that I think I'm fixed... and I stop taking it and the problem returns. I am going to try other diet variations... no nuts, etc as suggested above and see how I go.

2851 · March 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM

I have found that if I don't eat enough vegetables, my stomach goes nuts and the bathroom isn't a very pleasant experience. Try increasing veggie intake (particularly broccoli)?

77342 · March 10, 2012 at 03:25 PM

Amy, you might want to try an elimination diet? Cut out eggs and vegetables for a week and don't add anything new to your diet. Gradually reintroduce the foods you had previously cut out but leave a few days before adding back each food.
Several vegetables seem to be a problem for me.

3623 · March 10, 2012 at 01:17 PM

Sorry to hear that, but it's not a characteristic of Paleo diet itself.

I lived with running in a panic for 5 years with colitis, I hope it's not that. It can be a lot of things, like IBS (a catch all for I don't know).

I would be seriously re-assessing what food changes were made to isolate the cause, but it's not "Paleo" in general. Maybe something on your Paleo list doesn't agree with you. It happens.

Don't let it go too long if it makes you tired, see a doc, stay hydrated, get enough b complex, D3 and water. If you post more details maybe someone will have a better answer.

20 · July 10, 2013 at 01:27 AM

I've been paleo for 2 months now, and I've only had this problem when I down too big a spoonful of coconut oil or when I cook with full fat coconut milk. I really do think it's from having too much fat in one quick serving. For me, coconut oil seems to be the main trigger. Supposedly your stomach will adapt if you slowly increase the amount of fat over time. Oh yah, a really greasy lettuce wrapped burger from Five Guys also caused the problem. I don't eat a lot of nuts, so it was easy for me to determine the cause was coconut oil and certain greasy foods. Lots of grass fed butter with eggs and bacon never gives me a problem though, so I stick to that, sautéed veggies in butter or olive oil, and meat.

124 · November 05, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Are you paying attention to what you are eating before you have these incidents? or the night before? what time of day? I will say if you have a major sweet-tooth and are using sugar-alcohols (such as xylitol) to sweeten stuff, these can cause major diarrhea and digestive upset. Coconut water is also a diarrhetic. In fact, I drink 8 oz. every morning just so I will poop within the hour- I'm pregnant and if this doesn't happen... I get very uncomfortable for the day. I wouldn't worry about taking out the fats, but you also shouldn't eat more than a handful at a time. Good luck!

20 · November 05, 2012 at 06:16 PM

I had diarrhea for a month or two eating low carb paleo. I added sweet potatoes or another starchy tuber for dinner. My bowels have been smoother since the addition. My system doesn't do too well and too low carbs.

11476 · March 10, 2012 at 02:01 PM

If you are using coconut milk a fair amount, check the label to make sure that it is JUST coconut milk! I accidentally bought a few cans that had guar gum in them, and because I was just kind of using coconut as a liquid component in a lot of meals, both my boyfriend and I were racing each other the the bathroom. Nice, easy fix, something to check!

287 · March 10, 2012 at 01:11 PM

something that has caused me to have "softer" stools in the past is relying on way too many nuts... also if you are not used to eating a lot of fat, it just seems to "pass through" you.... so it could be the fat also. Its a good idea to work up slowly the amount of fat you are eating so that your gallbladders bile production can adjust

edit: though I wouldn't say I was desperately running to the bathroom, that did happen earlier on when I ate a hell of a lot of fat and my body wasn't used to it yet

182 · July 10, 2013 at 08:35 AM

During my paleo time I've found the following foods give me diarrhoea

A lot of onion (eg. eating a whole onion mixed with eggs)

Macademia nuts (perhaps other nuts also qualify as they contain irritants)

More than an ounce of dark chocolate

Mixing fruits such as strawberries with fatty foods (eating fruits soon after a fatty meal)

I don't drink milk anymore but more then a glass or two of cow's milk (pasteurised, a1 or a2) will give me the same problem.

0 · June 26, 2013 at 06:22 PM

Thanks for this great thread. Have been Paleo for a few weeks now and apart from a few peanut butter moments have been strict. Bought some Macadamia Nuts from a local well-known UK health food store, along with my first purchase of coconut oil which I used in a stir-fry. Last night I was confined to the bathroom with the most embarrassing diarrhea and when I finally got to bed was accompanied by a wonderful intestine orchestra. Examining the nuts this morning - they are roasted!!!! And have a slight rancid smell. They will be binned. The nuts are definitley the culprit, but I think there is a problem with storage and shelf-life that a lot of the UK suppliers need to address. Seeds seem fine.

Hope that I can use the coconut oil as it added a lovely flavour to the stir-fry.

Will have to introduce fats more slowly as my gallbladder needs to adjust.

0 · June 18, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Been Paleo for 2 weeks and have been having the same problem. This thread was VERY helpful. Thank you all! (I eat lots'o'nuts. Gotta change that.)

0 · October 04, 2012 at 02:49 AM

I have been paleo for about 3 months now. It's going great and I've been very dedicated. I have no idea what the problem could be... I never had diarrhea before I started paleo. I've been eating exceptionally and never cheat, I eat only whole foods: a lot of steamed veggies, eggs for breakfast, stirfys, etc. I do eat a few pieces of fruit a day as well, usually a good bit with before breakfast. But ya, every time it's diarrhea...

There's not pain and I don't even have as much gas as before-paleo... I feel super healthy and I love eating this way

I cook with coconut oil when frying and use a bit of olive oil in my salads.. I eat fermented foods as well to help with gut-health...

Any ideas anybody??

0 · October 04, 2012 at 02:45 AM

I am having the same problem..

5 · September 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM

I find that if I eat too much oil, specifically olive oil on salads, I get the runs. Are you eating a lot of oil?

77342 · March 10, 2012 at 08:02 PM

It depends I'd say. Are you experiencing gas? Then look towards Fodmaps. Is it mucus-ey looking? In which I'd think infection. Does your bum feel moisturized afterwards or is it pale or greenish? If so I'd guess fat malabsorption.

Perfecthealthdiet.com has a lot of good information about gut health.

25 · March 10, 2012 at 04:19 PM

Thanks so much for the fast responses. Keep em coming! I crave information and knowing that I'm not alone.

100 · March 10, 2012 at 02:11 PM

I had that problem with certain eggs. I'm okay with just regular cage-free eggs (from Trader Joe's), but when I tried the more organic ones, I had a problem almost every time I ate them. I haven't tried more organic eggs from other sources yet to see if they would have the same effect.

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