What kind of reaction happens when you cheat on paleo

by (78) Updated November 12, 2013 at 6:53 PM Created March 25, 2012 at 8:03 PM

For example you were totally strict on paleo for a year but later you cheated and ate like whole jar of hazelnut cream and ate lots of grains and would do this for a few days and then go back to paleo.

Anyone knows how long does it take to get taste buds sensitive again.

The question is how much would these bad fats, carbs and sugars affect the body (would it auto store it as fat in our bodies or would you need to eat junk food again after a while to see some changes) or should it be no concern if you go straight back to paleo lifestyle.

Well i'm actually asking this because of candida and what happens when you cheat for few days but still kinda curious how our bodies react when this happens.


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16 Replies

1159 · March 25, 2012 at 10:43 PM

I've been following the Paleo Diet for 8 weeks with the last 4 very strictly except for a few small test cases. Wine and Beer: not an option anymore. I lose the entire next day to a hangover from a glass of wine or a beer. Birthday Cake (on my birthday)...heartburn, nausea, headache, general crappiness. A month after the cake fiasco I tried sweet potato...nausea, hunger, and feeling jittery. I can't binge, but my test cases have all added up to keeping it strictly meat, veggies, berries, and fat. If I go off of it even a little, I feel it.

6629 · March 26, 2012 at 1:32 AM

I don't consider it cheating but I eat 'safe starches' and even sometimes unsafe ones (like oats/sugar) after hard workouts and feel better for doing so.

2945 · March 25, 2012 at 8:48 PM

When I go completely off the rails, it sucks for the next few days, but then I'm completely back to normal. Usually I'll become somewhat dehydrated (especially first thing in the morning). I gain a fair amount of water weight, which is just stored glycogen, but it disappears without any special effort. As long as I get right back to eating paleo, nothing bad happens other than a couple days of feeling sluggish and a little bigger than usual.

10 · August 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM

I've only been doing Paleo for a week and had 2 s'mores last night. I was so nauseated that I had to go to bed. I also made a Paleo truffle recipe (coconut butter, oil, peanut butter and cocoa) that was really high fat. I'm not sure which food was the culprit, but Im pretty sure I'll be avoiding both.

10 · October 14, 2012 at 10:19 AM

I've been pretty strict paleo for at least a month now due to surgery related stuff (wanted to improve recovery by going strict, except for chocolate). This weekend I binged on crap, ate a cheeseburger meal and had candy. The results: thirst, stomach pain and other problems and also nausea after eating the candy stuff, which has never happened. I used to never get sick by eating sweets, so I think it's got a lot to do with me being strict.

As for the recovery, I'm going back to Paleo fully tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes. I don't think it'll take all that long to feel the way I used to, esp. as my "slip" was so small.

15 · August 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM

my husband and I have been pretty strict paleo for the past 4 months. We completely went off the rails this past Saturday and had a pizza for lunch and one for dinner. We also had a 6 pack of Landshark, Frozen yogurt with lots of treats on top (candy) then he had 3 chipwiches! Needless to say the next 2 days have felt like were back in the low carb flu that we experienced when we first went paleo and our bodies were converting to the ketosis state. Yesterday and today, we felt extreme fatigue, stomach issues, I felt nauseous today and my workout at crossfit sucked big hairy balls.
I highly recommend NOT having a binge of such epic proportions because you will pay dearly over the next couple of days. If your going to cheat, do it in small doses and save yourself the hassle of recovery.

375 · March 26, 2012 at 1:21 AM

I find the longer i've been primal/paleo, the worse the reactions to my cheats become. When I was only a few weeks in, I had slip ups with bread/sugar once or twice with little to no reaction other than craving more.

More recently as I approach the 1 year mark, my body has harsh reactions to sugar including very large cystic acne breakouts (never had them before) whenever I consume processed/refined sugars (especially HFCS). I haven't touched bread in months and I don't think I will take that risk.

I get dehydrated and can't sleep whenever I binge on carbs (paleo or not), including nuts/dark chocolate/dried fruit.

0 · November 10, 2013 at 3:51 AM


Hi! Lets take a step back for a second and i'll try and explain my side. Since I was a toddler, I've had stomach problems. And I'm not just talking about a little pain here and there, i'm saying that the toilet was literally my throne ;). After numerous tests over the years nothing was concluded except that I just had poor digestion and that maybe it was all stress or maybe xyz medications were my only options (boohoo!). So what did I do? I did my own research over a couple of my worst years and through everything I tried, I would up with the Paleo dietary plan. Cured? ......You freaken bet. And ironically (or not) it was the only one that actually made any sense to me...

So IMO this "normal" diet that you refer to might actually be the culprit for not just myself but for others. I can only assume that my "general digestive issues" (along with psoriasis, insulin spikes, acne, etc) are representative of SO MANY OTHERS who just feel like shit and know they can fix it the natural way. So instead, I am applauding my body's ability to heal and further recognize, adapt and -->defend<-- itself from those substances that are not beneficial to my health. Please read up more about the diet and the reasons WHY particular foods/ingredients/etc can do more harm than good, particularly to your digestive and immune system. I think this will help you to further understand :)

Oh and PS! I do NOT shy away from carbs! No way!

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0 · November 10, 2013 at 3:42 AM


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15 · November 09, 2013 at 1:57 AM

This is a frightening list of reports that shows how the standard Paleo diet regularly makes people weak and less capable of coping with normal (i.e. carbohydrate-containing) foods. I'm astonished how none of the posters realized that their reaction to these foods is actually a sign that their diet is not helping them. If at all, a diet should make you more resistant to foods, anything else will just end up in orthorexia and over-restriction cycles.

0 · November 09, 2013 at 1:45 AM

Today I had a Krispy Kreme donut ( filled with pumpkin cheese cake filling) and a glass of coke..... Awful nausea ... Gut wrenching vomiting. . First time I have had such a bad reaction to a cheat.... About 4 weeks into the Paleo lifestyle... Totally not worth it.

Medium avatar
10077 · August 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Food avoidance certainly causes loss of adaptations. The tricky proteins casein and gluten seem to be the easiest to lose, as well as ability to digest milk sugar. I'd posit that the necessary digestive enzymes disappear along with the gut biota that produce them if they're not fed.

I've been thinking about how ancestors adapted to highly varied diets. Grok eating clams on the coast moves inland for the seasonal fruit ripening. But what if things were so rich there that he stayed for a few hundred years, eating monkeys and rabbits instead of clams. When the descendents of Grok moved back to the coast 1000 years later due to a drought or eating all the monkeys, could they easily readapt to clam eating?

I picked mollusks because they're ancient religious "forbidden" foods. Probably because a lot of Groks died off eating them. Yet there is little doubt (based on the shell middens) that they were very much a paleo food. I'm starting to see paleo as a continuous adapatation - readaptation process. If you didn't readapt you died.

865 · March 25, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Extreme brain fog, fatigue, and dehydration. Sometimes it's debilitating. I've literally had to cancel plans after non-paleo binges because I had no energy. Not my proudest moments.

Granted, this is when I REALLY cheat. When I have a small portion of non-paleo food here and there, it's usually not a huge issue - just some bloating, GI upset, and dehydration.

4620 · March 25, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I get belly sick and LEARN an important lesson that wanes my desire for that junk in the future. These cheats have a valuable payback.

1116 · March 25, 2012 at 9:05 PM

I think it varies from person to person depending on how your body handled non-paleo foods before making the transition and the magnitude of how far from paleo you strayed. For me, ever since going to a strictly dairy-free paleo, whenever I fall off the wagon, my body reacts violently to non-paleo binges. Particularly to the dairy, grains and crap veg. oils. I'm talking super bloated, nausea, upset stomach... Basically I become a walking Pepto-bismo commercial. Once the binge is over, I feel weak and generally disgusting for a couple days afterwards. It takes every ounce of willpower to force myself to workout because thats typically the first step in getting back on track. The longer I have been paleo, the worse these reactions have become. The taste bud sensitivity usually takes anywhere from two days to a week - again, dependent on how far off the rails I went.

2930 · March 25, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I've gone completely gluten free and strict paleo for 4-month stretches twice, and broke it with gluten rich foods and otherwise bad stuff twice, most recently today (full king-size Burger King meal and their ice cream). No notable ill effects, except digestion is a bit off for a day or two last time, don't feel anything yet from earlier today.

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