Diarrhea on Paleo?

by 65 · December 29, 2011 at 06:27 PM

I've been semi-paleo (about 80%) for about 10 months. I started a really clean, strict 30 day challenge 10 days ago. I have celiacs disease and over the last 10 months I have been cheating here and there eating glutenous foods and occasionally eating gluten free but non-paleo foods. I also have food cravings, acne and a very irregular period. I'm over weight and have not been regularly active. I'm a high energy, happy person, but I wanted to go strict paleo in order to try to 1. gain health, 2. lose weight, 3. remedy the irregular menstrual cycle and acne. So far, after 10 strict days I haven't lost any weight, and I've had constant diarrhea. Has anyone else had this problem? My food cravings are not as bad as I thought they would be (I crave sweets) and my energy is pretty good, but I still haven't had my skin clear up or lost weight. The main questions are: why am I having diarrhea? (my fat intake seems moderate compared to most paleos). How long has it taken other overweight people to lose weight on the paleo diet? Is 10 days a reasonable amount of time to start to see weight changes? Thank you!

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12 Replies

55322 · October 29, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Have you read about my anti-diarrhea diet? I'd follow that protocol until the diarrhea goes away and then add in some meat, eggs, and fish. Monotonous, but it really does work.

20222 · October 28, 2010 at 05:52 PM

What are you eating? Saying that it is "strict" paleo is almost meaningless. Could be low/moderate/high carb and still be strict. Nuts? Fruit? Dairy? Do tell.

If you are going VLC from not VLC, one possible cause of diarrhea is bacterial die-off. This should be fairly temporary - 10 days seems too long. Did you not have diarrhea prior to being "strict"? Are you eating any "new" foods that might be causing an allergic reaction? Are you eating your veggies?

Do you take any Pro/Pre-biotics? What other supps? Meds?

On the weight loss aspect, paleo can be used to drop poundage, but that is not the primary function - health is the primary function. Tweaking carbs, IF, and (gasp) checking in on your calories can help. Did you lose any weight for the 10 months of 80% paleo?

Also, check this thread... http://paleohacks.com/questions/5795/paleo-found-a-solution-to-diarrhea-queasy-stomach-may-help-you#axzz13gFUTkyZ

65 · October 28, 2010 at 07:44 PM

Thanks for all your help guys! By "strict" I mean, no dairy, no sugar (other than occasional fruit or fruit juice) no grains whatsoever. Meat that only comes from happy, healthy animals and lots of veggies. I have been eating almonds now and then.

The upset stomach hasn't been consistent for 10 days straight, more off and on.

For supplements I'm taking a probiotic, iodine (because I was told it can help regulate your cycle), Omega 3s, Vitamin D and Thymex. I'm on no meds whatsoever.

I drink lots of water and I get adjusted regularly by a chiropractor. I haven't been working out, that's the only thing I can think of that I'm doing wrong!

Because I am celiac I am super careful about spices and condiments. This doesn't feel like a normal gluten reaction.

Bacterial die off or a sort of "detox" could be a viable answer...

I'm definitely doing paleo because I want to be healthier in general and keep myself healthy and disease free for a long time, I just assumed I'd lose weight along the way! Losing weight, clearing up my skin and being regular again would be a big plus! I realize though that I'm only 10 days in, maybe I just need to give myself more time!

Thank you for any and all input and help!

11071 · May 18, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Have you ever looked into the GAPS(gut and psychology syndrome diet) by Natasha Campbell-McBride? If not, I would highly recommend it to you...compatible with a Paleo diet...

5916 · October 29, 2010 at 12:57 AM

Too much fish oil? It can give you the runs.

2218 · October 28, 2010 at 11:03 PM

I think it is also really important to remember the role that hormones (and not just the digestive ones) play in digestion and gut regulation and that food intake is only a piece (although a very important one) of a well-functioning system. If your system is way out of whack, which I am assuming it is since you are having trouble with menstrual stuff and weight loss, that is going to take a long time to repair itself and will affect your bowel function along the way.

I, like many women, am hypothyroid, have adrenal fatigue and am estrogen dominant. This dysfunctional hormonal milieu took 30-plus years to shape (starting with genetics, my mom's dietary choices when i was in uetero, having been fed soy formula as an infant, crappy dietary choices my whole life, years on hormonal birth control, antidepressants, ADHD meds, etc.) and I know it will take a really long time to get to a place where I feel somewhat healthy and functional again. Paleo has been a great step in the right direction and I already am feeling WAY better in the day-to-day.

But I also have bouts of diarrhea from time to time that sometimes aren't clearly connected to any dietary choice (or misstep) and it is really discouraging. But it totally makes sense given my hormonal imbalances. Cortisol and thyroid hormone has an affect on bowel regulation. So does estrogen, hence part of the reason that way more women suffer from things like IBS (we all have estrogen receptors in our small intestine and stomachs that respond to fluctuations in the hormone--when i found this out suddenly "period poops" finally made sense instead of just seeming like a cruel joke.) I posted my menstrual history in another thread (here) and one thing I could have added is that the more regular my periods become, the more noticeable it is to me how my digestion is affected around the times of ovulation and menstruation. Hopefully the same will happen for you and things will calm down and start to get a bit more regulated.

0 · December 29, 2011 at 06:27 PM

The only thing that ever helped my acne was a 100% clean diet for at least 3 months. Sounds daunting, but it will work. Also, acne.com makes a benzoyl peroxide treatment that is cheap and effective during this cleaning out period. That way no resistance will develop in the bacteria. Additionally, if you are taking kelp pills for your Iodine, those will cause diarrhea in some.

4888 · March 10, 2011 at 07:54 AM

There was a wonderful programme on BBC radio yesterday


about gut bacteria etc. It is available for 1 week on listen again. Worth trying to listen to it on your PC / Mac ? whatever.

This diarrhea thing has plagued me too since years before I went paleo but has worsened since - for over 15 months now. This programme has got me convinced it is gut bacteria and that loads of probiotics are a good way to go, with yogurt and sauerkraut with each or most meals.

Does fasting help? It strikes me that a good long fast would give the gut time to get rid of a lot of the existing bacteria.

One doctor on the radio programme gives his patients antibiotics to kill off the bad gut bacteria and then introduce good bacteria carrying food - sauerkraut, probiotics, prebiotic foods etc - so that a good bacterial build up is jump started.

Sounds good to me?

0 · March 10, 2011 at 01:22 AM

I've tried everything from otc facial creams to accutane and the only thing that decreased my acne was spirinolactone aka aldactone to decrease testosterone levels. If you have acne problems and they won't go away, you could try that or another oral medication for acne. Pretty much the only way to treat acne is with oral medication. It's chemistry mostly, not much to do with hygiene like a lot of people think.

75 · October 29, 2010 at 12:02 AM

Hi, I am a celiac too. I started out dairy and gluten (wheat, barley and rye) free, I then went the rest of the way paleo - no grains and no processed foods of any kind. BTW, I feel much better after giving up the rest of the grains. When I eat a lot of nuts I tend to have diarrhea too. Also, remember you are consuming fruit, vegetables, meat, etc which are going to have a higher moisture and fiber content than what you were consuming. Your body needs to transition and adjust. Plus, your body does not have to work as hard to digest food on the paleo diet so "things" will be softer than before... or at least that was my experience. Things will stabilize if you stay with the paleo diet 100 percent. Going back and forth makes it worse.

158 · October 28, 2010 at 06:54 PM

The very best thing you can do is up raw leafy greens, especially romaine lettuce and spinach. These are known to make people regular because they're high in soluble fiber. I would also try balancing meat and veggies at every meal, focusing on cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, celery). No dairy, and go easy on the fruit. Best of luck!

3591 · October 28, 2010 at 06:37 PM

I am going to guess that having Celiac, you know not to get into certain condiments and things.

Perhaps you are eating too many raw veggies? I know that my poor celiac stomach needs its veggies cooked.

Also if paleo involves trying new foods, you may have introduced more spicey stuff?

10 days of sick stomach tho seems like you may be glutenning yourself, better double check you spice rack and just cut down to meat and veggies you prepare yourself.

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