Paleo Diet Challenges & Solutions II from Chris Kresser

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If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can find it here.

Digestive distress is the most common problem I see in people switching to a Paleo diet. This can range from mild gas and bloating, to changes in stool frequency and consistency (i.e. constipation, diarrhea or alternating between the two), to severe heartburn or abdominal pain. There are three primary reasons people experience these symptoms when they transition to a Paleo diet:

  1. Low stomach acid.
  2. Decreased enzyme production.
  3. Intestinal inflammation.

I’ll cover each of these in more detail below. Before I do that, it’s worth pointing out that in the vast majority of cases, people who have digestive issues on Paleo also had them before. They may have consciously or unconsciously compensated for them by limiting animal proteins (if they have low stomach acid), eating more simple carbohydrates (decreased enzyme production) or limiting intake of fibrous vegetables and fruits (intestinal inflammation). This doesn’t mean the diet they were on before was necessarily more gut-friendly; the symptoms were being managed, but the underlying problems weren’t addressed.

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