Paleo Diet and Severe Stomach Aches & Cramping

by 10 · August 23, 2013 at 01:37 AM

I started the Paleo diet 15 days ago. (Eating fish but no meat). My overall energy and body feels very good on this diet. I don't find myself having any sort of side effects except from the diet with the exception of severe stomach aches.

Generally the stomach pain happens 1-3 hours after breakfast (eggs + broccoli + kale or chard). The pain is so intense that I've felt like taking a trip to the ER. It typically lasts anywhere from 1-3 hours. I've had the pain at night before too and one time thought that I had food poisoning. That time the stomach aches/cramping included severe diarrhea.

I notice feeling very flushed and hot before the stomach pain begins and then when the pain is full blown, I get very chilled and cold and then hot again and cold again. As if I am dealing with the flu.

These symptoms have been going on for the past 12 days. Two days ago I didn't eat eggs and broccoli for breakfast and I didn't experience a stomach ache.

Has anyone else had similar symptoms? Everything I've read discusses feeling much better on this diet. I am wanting to stick with it but finding that this reaction in my body is taking over my life. Could this be a symptom of sugar withdrawal? I appreciate any comments, advice or stories.

Cheers, heather

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16 Replies

11363 · ABOUT 13 HOURS AGO

Excellent points in previous posts about salmonella and egg allergies. I'll just point out that broccoli and kale are part of the cabbage family. Foods from the cabbage family are prone to causing problems with cramping and gas. If it's not the eggs, then it could be the cabbage foods. You could either eliminate broccoli and kale from your diet, or try the over the counter product "beano", which claims to work for broccoli and cabbage.

55322 · ABOUT 13 HOURS AGO

Wow, your symptoms sound like they could be chronic salmonella or something else nasty. I had chronic salmonella once and the symptoms were similar. I would get a stool test for food poisoning and parasites at your doctor.

The problem could also be eggs. Eggs can cause stomach problems for some " We further recommend avoiding eggs, at least until LG symptoms subside. Egg white is a source of some membranolytic proteins, such as lysozyme16, that break cell membranes and may contribute to LG." From the Paleo Diet newsletter. LG= Leaky Gut.

I know a paleo diet without eggs might seem horrible and expensive, but I had to do it and now that my gut is healed I now eat just the yolks without a problem.

My personal failsafe diet for stomach problems is making bone stock (there is good info on the Paleohacks using bones question about that) and mixing it with a can of pumpkin or a cup of homemade pureed pumpkin. That usually stops the loose stools.


You took the eggs and broccolli out and you did not have the stomach ache. Is it possible that you are allergic to eggs? You don't mention not being allergic to either item but took them out and the problem did not present. Any problem with eggs in the past?


My bet is it's the broccoli. I actually searched for a post like this just now because I am having terrible stomach pain, and I wanted to find out if others have had similar issues... Lo and behold, I ate cauliflower at dinner last night... I'll be avoiding Brassica from now on.

0 · August 23, 2013 at 01:37 AM

Im currently having this same issue! It even wakes me up at night..im gonna try taking out eggs. And just eating more veggies. But damn it really hurts! :(

0 · July 07, 2013 at 02:06 AM

So, I'm assuming if you've had your gallbladder removed, you may have more trouble digesting the fats vs one who has a regularly functioning gallbladder?

0 · June 11, 2013 at 01:42 AM

dropping this here for future internet readers: consider gallbladder issues as well. eggs or fatty meals that cause stomach pain could be gallbladder. Paleo diets aren't shy about fat, and the gallbladder squeezes into action after a fatty meal.

0 · October 27, 2012 at 11:22 PM

i've been having them for a while too...

I've tried eliminating eggs, and other things, but i cannot successfully identify a culprit.

I've always had a really strong gut, and this is very new to me ever since going Paleo...

The pain hasn't been crippling, but i'm lucky if i can go 2 or 3 days a week without having aches during digestion, and like everyone else, they seem to ramp up throughout the day.

I'm also wondering if its just cause i'm not consuming enough calories in general or something. I don't know, I suppose I'll go see a Dr. soon but their are none in my area that are qualified nutritionists, so I don't expect to get good information from them either.

445 · October 16, 2012 at 09:29 PM

Wow, I experienced the same symptoms. Turns out I had a pretty intense h.pylori infection. I opted for a non-traditional protocol via my DC. It took about three weeks to clear up. I'm much better now. YMMV

0 · October 16, 2012 at 08:06 PM

I am experiencing this same thing RIGHT NOW.. I had what basically amounts to a kale smoothie for breakfast on an empty stomach and now have very bad stomach pains and bloating. Thought I was going to have to go to ER myself but it finally stopped getting worse... I have never experienced anything remotely close to this in my life. I am never touching kale again that's for sure.

235 · February 24, 2012 at 02:57 PM

I hate to hijack this thread, but I was wondering if any of the responders had some follow-up anecdotes. What has helped you recover from your stomach cramps? Did you discover the root of the problem?

I've been eating very paleo for about a year and a half, and very recently been getting intermittent severe stomach/intestinal cramps. It seems to occur several hours after eating a full meal and before I pass a stool. These cramps are not accompanied by any vomiting or diarrhea (maybe slight nausea), but I do think there is some bloating/gas involved.

I suspect it may have been a bad batch of meat (i.e. salmonella responses), since this is not something I've experienced over the last 18 months on the same diet. Could a bout of salmonella or other harmful bacteria disrupt the composition of gut flora, inducing a bout of IBS?


3180 · August 26, 2011 at 11:04 PM

I had the same thing a couple times. Triggers for me were raw onion, raw brocolli, and raw garlic. Worst pain ever! I think as your gut flora changes from eating crap to eating good food, it changes the way you can handle certain foods.

115 · August 26, 2011 at 09:02 PM

I'm going through something very similar as well but my diet only contains homemade/clean broths & some beef.

I'm getting upper abdominal pains similar to cramps (lasts for 2 hours) and this started after I started my elimination to heal my possible leaky gut.

I'm guessing my condition could be the 'die off' effects of yeast/bacteria no longer getting their sugars & starch?

0 · March 18, 2011 at 01:19 PM

Yes! I am 2.5 weeks in on Paleo and have ben experiencing the same thing. Its mostly at night and the pain makes it hard to even stand sometimes. Not sure which food in casung mine though. Going to start keeping better track.

0 · February 01, 2011 at 01:18 AM

Yes ihave had the exact same issues especially with eggs the cramping was so bad I put some grains back in my diet and i'am doing fine now but your symptoms are exactly the same


I too have the same issues!! I am 3 weeks in and have been getting serious stomach pains and cramping everyday at 3pm sometimes lasting until I go to bed. I write down everything I eat and my guess was eggs and nuts. So today I didn't eat either and guess what, no stomach pains!!! I have always eaten eggs previously but not everyday and since we started the Paleo I have had two eggs every morning and sometimes 2 eggs with lunch. This morning I had a bowl of gluten free oatmeal and my day was great. Not sure what to do for breakfast now.

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