IBS and Other Digestion Problems
Many people today suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), gas, bloating, lactose intolerance, and other problems of digestion, but following the paleo diet is a great way to rid yourself of these painful and frustrating symptoms.
IBS is a disorder that can cause changes in bowel movements, cramping and pain in the abdomen, and other digestive and abdominal problems. Other common digestive problems that occur with our modern diet and lifestyles include constipation, Chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and diarrhea. The idea behind the paleo diet and lifestyle is that many of these problems did not afflict our paleolithic ancestors, so following a diet full of paleo-friendly foods is a great way to see a reduction in these symptoms that plague so many people today.
The carbohydrates that are found in grains, legumes, and dairy products often lead to gas and the feeling of being bloated. This is also a key reason why so many people, in addition to the previously mentioned disorders, suffer from lactose intolerance. Our bodies simply aren’t genetically adapted to eat the foods we are eating today.
People who follow the paleo diet as a means to help IBS or other digestive problems are following the theory that people with IBS are unable to properly digest carbohydrates in their small intestines, and when the carbohydrates are not broken down in the correct way in the small intestine, once they travel to the colon they are attacked by bacteria. The introduction of the bacteria in the process can lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Research has shown that in addition to difficulty digesting carbohydrates, nearly 15% of Americans lack the enzyme that allows for the proper digestion of lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, which is the cause of lactose intolerance. In addition to the sugar lactose, there are three other sugars that have been shown to lead to problems in digestion. These sugars are fructans, which are found in wheat and rye, galactans, which are found in legumes, and polyols, which are found in fake sweeteners and some fruits. Lactose, along with these three sugars are all found in foods that are prohibited by the paleo diet.
By eliminating grains, dairy and sugar from our diet, and going back to the foods we are genetically adapted to eat, it’s likely that there will be a reduction in disorders of the digestive system. The foods we eat in our typical diets today are leading to overall feelings of discomfort and sickness, whereas the foods eaten on the paleo diet can reverse these symptoms and ailments.