Is Paleo Diet Gluten

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Is Paleo Diet Gluten-free and Dairy-free?

Gluten-free diet:

Today the human digestive system has become more sensitive. Diet we eat has serious effects on our bodies. So the modern world has devised a modern solution to this problem. Paleo diet is a whole food diet. Paleo-friendly foods include nuts, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, seeds along with fats and healthy oils. Grains are not allowed in a paleo diet because these include gluten, whereas gluten-free grains are allowed.

Wheat, barley, and rye are foods rich in protein known as gluten. So in a gluten-free diet, we have to strictly avoid foods containing gluten. More likely, a gluten-free diet is concerned with people having celiac disease. But, there are people with another condition termed as gluten sensitivity that also causes problems with gluten consumption. If someone is intolerant to gluten, they have to avoid it completely. Else, they have to experience adverse health effects and severe discomfort.[1]

Gluten has a low biological and nutritional value. Therefore grains containing gluten are not essential for human health. Paleo diet is gluten-free. Gluten is a sticky protein responsible for keeping molecules of food intact. Paleo rejects gluten because it triggers an autoimmune response in people leading to inflammation and destruction of the gut. Gluten attacks the lining of the small intestine, affecting its absorptive properties. The body cannot absorb nutrients into the bloodstream leading to delayed growth, weight loss, and anemia while some grains like rice, oats, and corn are allowed in a paleo diet. White wheat starch contains gluten and is allowed in a paleo diet, but it is compulsory that the final product made with white wheat starch does not exceed 20 ppm gluten. White wheat starch is allowed due to its specific property to remove gluten from the body.

Several studies suggest that this diet can cause significant weight loss and major improvements in health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.[2]

Dairy-free diet:

A dairy-free diet is an eating pattern that helps to restrict lactose a type of sugar in milk. Lactose is mainly found in dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter. It is also found in many prepared foods, such as cakes and cream-based sauces. Paleo diet does not contain any of these food items.

Adverse effects like diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain are caused by consuming lactose-containing foods in people with lactose intolerance. Some may adopt a lactose-free diet for religious, personal, environmental, and ethical concerns. Others restrain from consuming lactose-containing diet due to milk and dairy products allergy. [3]

Dairy Products to Avoid:

For lactose intolerance or dairy allergy due to casein present milk, one should completely avoid following dairy products:

  • Cheese — especially soft cheeses, cottage cheese, ricotta and mozzarella
  • Milk — all types of cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and buffalo milk
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt
  • Butter
  • Whipped cream
  • Sour cream
  • Buttermilk

Prepared Foods to be Avoided in Paleo Diet:

Other than dairy products, lactose is present in food products prepared from dairy milk. Few of these dairy products that are essential to be avoided in order to prevent milk allergy or intolerance symptoms are as follows:

  • Convenience meals
  • Instant coffee
  • Instant potato mixes
  • Bread
  • Tortillas
  • Crackers
  • Biscuits
  • Cream-based or cheesy sauces
  • Salad dressings
  • Creamed vegetables
  • Candies, including chocolates
  • Baked goods and desserts
  • Waffle, pancake, muffin, and cake mixes
  • Breakfast cereals [4]

Health Benefits of a Paleo Diet:

Help relieve digestive symptoms:

Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, fatigue, and gas are symptoms of digestive disorders caused by eating foods rich in gluten and lactose. Hence a gluten-free diet can help relieve symptoms caused by celiac and non-celiac gluten intolerance.

Reduce chronic inflammation caused by celiac disease:

Inflammation is a natural process that helps treat infections. But sometimes inflammation gets chronic and causes more damage than the infection. Studies show that a gluten-free diet can help reduce antibody levels. This helps to prevent gut damage by inhibiting inflammation caused by celiac disease. [5]

Paleo diet has several other health benefits that start to add up day by day. After a 30 day plan, a person can feel the evident difference in one's health and mood. Following are some more health benefits of a paleo diet:

  • Balances Blood Glucose Levels
  • Promote a leaner physique and increase muscle growth
  • Helps secrete serotonin level responsible for better sleep
  • Help prevent heart diseases
  • Well, a balanced meal provides more energy for the day
  • Paleo diet lessens hunger and provides a feeling of fullness
  • Effective in lowering blood glucose level
  • Helps in fast recovery from symptoms of glucose intolerance
  • Provides a detoxifying effect on the body.
  • Effortless weight loss [6]


[1] Jones A. L. (2017). The Gluten-Free Diet: Fad or Necessity?. Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association30(2), 118–123. 

[2] Diez-Sampedro, A., Olenick, M., Maltseva, T., & Flowers, M. (2019). A Gluten-Free Diet, Not an Appropriate Choice without a Medical Diagnosis. Journal of nutrition and metabolism2019, 2438934. 

[3] Thorning, T. K., Raben, A., Tholstrup, T., Soedamah-Muthu, S. S., Givens, I., & Astrup, A. (2016). Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence. Food & nutrition research60, 32527. 

[4] Rozenberg, S., Body, J. J., Bruyère, O., Bergmann, P., Brandi, M. L., Cooper, C., Devogelaer, J. P., Gielen, E., Goemaere, S., Kaufman, J. M., Rizzoli, R., & Reginster, J. Y. (2016). Effects of Dairy Products Consumption on Health: Benefits and Beliefs--A Commentary from the Belgian Bone Club and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. Calcified tissue international98(1), 1–17. 

[5] Klonoff D. C. (2009). The beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Journal of diabetes science and technology3(6), 1229–1232. 

[6] Niland, B., & Cash, B. D. (2018). Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non-Celiac Disease Patients. Gastroenterology & hepatology14(2), 82–91.

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