Paleo diet and beer

Discussion in 'Beer & Food' started by BuckeyeOne, Aug 17, 2012.

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  1. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    My wife and I just started the Paleo diet (and I haven't had a beer since August 1). For those that are unaware, which I imagine is most of you, this is a diet without grains, legumes, processed sugars, and limited dairy. This is an oversimplification of this diet, though.

    For those that are aware of the details of this diet and the corresponding science behind it plus have strong knowledge of the science of brewing beer, is beer OK on this diet? I can't seem to find a good answer to this question on Paleo-related sites.

    I have done only a little homebrewing but certainly know that the actual grains don't go into the beer. I would think that the mashing process would eliminate the "bad stuff" that the Paleo geeks would find "harmful."


    P.S. I have no intention of eliminating beer entirely from my diet.
  2. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    Well from what I understand the diet is made to avoid carbs which beer definitely has.
    BalancingBrooms likes this.
  3. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    From what I understand, it's not about avoiding carbs --- it's about the elimination of harmful effects of grains, which cause inflammation in certain, if not the majority of people. I've not really about carbs per se.
  4. LeeryLeprechaun

    LeeryLeprechaun Zealot (512) Jan 30, 2011 Colorado

    Beer has been around forever, but is certainly not as old as the paleolithic era. For that reason I would think it would be out, maybe you could go with mead?

    I personally would just make an exception to the rule. There is a lot of scientific evidence that suggests having a small amount of alcohol every day has health benefits. So if you are doing this to be healthy you should make sure you consume some alcohol, aka beer, every day! :wink:
  5. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    Sorry, I'm afraid beer is a newfangled mesolithic development. :wink:

    I don't know enough about the rationale behind this particular diet to know how beer might fit in. What happens in mashing is that starches within the grain are converted to sugars, which in turn are (mostly) metabolized by yeast into alcohol and CO2. Finished beer also contains residual materials from the cell walls of the grain, which is why it is a source of soluable fiber, so it's not quite accurate to say "actual grains don't go into the beer." I guess it would depend on exactly which substances you're trying to eliminate.

    My two cents: beer is one of the oldest prepared foods, dating back to the dawn of civilization. There is ample evidence that when it is consumed in moderation, it is not only not harmful, but actually beneficial. There is no reason I am aware of that you couldn't safely consume 1-2 pints per day. Whether that fits in with your specialized dietary goals is another matter.
  6. nathanjohnson

    nathanjohnson Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2007 Vermont

    I've been eating Paleo for 1.5 years now. I still have 1-2 beers a day as it does not bother me at all (weight/inflammation/digestion issues, etc). Are you doing a whole30?

    Gluten is relatively insoluble in water, so there isn't a lot in beer, but will bother celiacs who are super sensitive to gluten.
    PintMug568 likes this.
  7. Danny124

    Danny124 Initiate (121) Mar 21, 2009 Texas

    For the most part, I think that fermented foods are generally looked upon as being ok on a paleo diet. Beer definitely comes from grains, and paleo people don't like grains, but the yeast have eaten most of sugars that cause problems. Beer still contains some leftover grain-derived sugars, so no, it isn't completely paleo.

    I read this awhile back, and though it doesn't really provide any of the answers you're looking for, it at least seems hopeful.
  8. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Yes, we're in the midst of Whole30. BTW, I'm not allergic to gluten. Doing this for health reasons.
  9. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Disciple (331) Sep 14, 2011 Missouri

    Well what do you think people paired with their wooly mammoth steaks? It certainly wasn't wine.
  10. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    In two words, not compatible. In many ways, beer is concentrated grain. Just remember that the average human lifespan more than doubled when agriculture (i.e. grain) was introduced. Devaney seems to conveniently ignore the 17 year or so average lifespan that existed back in the good old days. Obviously the short lives were not all, or even primarily, due to diet but it likely was a factor. Maybe they would have lived longer if they'd had beer in the cave:slight_smile:

    Spontaneously fermented wine from wild fruit or mead should be acceptable.
    GeezLynn likes this.
  11. meatballj626j

    meatballj626j Initiate (0) May 7, 2009 Georgia

    This was actually a pretty good read. Dunno how I feel about the diet still but definately made me make a consideration at looking into it further.
    PintMug568 likes this.
  12. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    I'm not sure about the diet myself; but now that I'm 45 and there's a history of heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high (bad) cholesterol in my family --- my grandap and my dad had/have all of them, I think this diet is a great idea for me.

    I'm not looking for medical advice, i.e., I don't want the Bros to shut this thread down. I'm just looking for some thoughts on mashing, fermenting, etc. effects on the grains in beer so that I can make informed decisions about the inclusion of beer in my diet.
  13. nolabrew

    nolabrew Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2010 Louisiana

    I believe that the major problem with grains in the paleo diet is the gluten. You can certainly brew a tasty gluten free beer.
  14. meatballj626j

    meatballj626j Initiate (0) May 7, 2009 Georgia

    I had a link to site that gave facts about beer and diets (its on the internet so its got to be true), but the website doesnt like my computer. Ill try later tonight maybe.
  15. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Two points: (1) The issue with grains for paleo has only a little to do with gluten --- it's mostly about the antinutrients and lectin in grains that make digesting proteins, etc. difficult and the inflammation caused by lectins. (2) I seriously doubt that a "tasty" gluten-free beer can be brewed by anyone. :wink:
    PintMug568 and lordofthewiens like this.
  16. nolabrew

    nolabrew Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2010 Louisiana

    Tasty = anything better than BMC.
  17. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    I know, right? My rather unscientific take on the matter is that most of us descend from genetic stock that has had many, many generations to adjust to the foods that came to dominate human diets with the invention of agriculture. I figure my ancestors have been eating grains for, oh, 8,000 years or so, and drinking beer for just about as long. It generally seems to have worked out. People got a lot bigger, started living longer, and life got nicer once you had bread and beer. True, they were eating whole grains, and I think that's a wise dietary choice for people today. And some people have to avoid grains for various digestive problems etc, but that's a special case.
    jtmartino and GeezLynn like this.
  18. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Very well said. There is a lot of room for individual variation, but agricultural advances have benefited most of us. Beer in particular because it was much safer to drink than raw water for most of human history. I am a little concerned about GMO, drugs fed to cows, etc. Most Americans get the overwhelming majority of their calories from stuff that did not exist 25 years ago. This is somewhere between 'interesting' and 'terrifying', depending on personal philosophy.
    tommyguz, GeezLynn and franklinn like this.
  19. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    While the last few posts may be interesting to read, I'm not really looking for commentary on whether Paleo or any other diet is worthwhile. I've already decided to do it. I'm looking for thoughts on whether the brewing process might, in fact, eliminate or significantly reduce the harmful aspects of grain. Thanks to those who offered their thoughts, technical or otherwise, on my question.
  20. notjustgc

    notjustgc Initiate (154) Nov 15, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    The only elements of the grain that make it to the glass are the not-so-desirable ones, especially in filtered beer. This is, of course, with the exception of a few particular styles - think super thick wheat beers or doppelbocks.
  21. phiberoptik

    phiberoptik Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Illinois

    Ironically my wife found out she has Hashimotos Disease today, so I have been looking into the Paleo diet recently and we have been working to cut all gluten out of our diet (except my beer).

    I can assure you that what the Paleo diet discourages about grains will NOT be removed during the process of brewing beer. The belief behind the Paleo diet is that our systems were not designed to handle the intake of grains that we do today. Gluten, lectins, and phylates are the three "poisons" in grains that can cause health issues. None of these are processed out of the grains during the brewing process.

    Your closest bet is to start looking into gluten-free options. Millet, sorghum, rice, corn, and buckwheat are common grains to use. Meads made with honey are a good alternative. Apple and pear ciders as well.

    I dont know what level you are in your brewing hobby, but Northern Brewer has Sorghum syrup you can experiment with.

    Good Luck!
  22. notjustgc

    notjustgc Initiate (154) Nov 15, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Seek out the newer GF beers using yams in the mash! So much better than sorghum IMO.

    Edit: Or, better, brew your own!
  23. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    This is the answer that I'm looking for --- well, not looking for really since I want the answer to be the opposite. I don't plan on eliminating beer from my diet entirely and I have zero interest in gluten-free beer. I will see after my Whole30 is complete whether or not I can drink beer without problems, as I will likely introduce beer back into my diet before dairy, potatoes, and/or sprouted grains.
    PintMug568 likes this.
  24. phiberoptik

    phiberoptik Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Illinois

    Have you tried a gluten free beer yet? Dont knock until you try. There are some really good ones out there and you can definitely brew decent ones.

    There are some seasoned GF brewers over on the to learn from if you ever change your mind.

    But if you are not doing it because you have to, then youll be ok allowing yourself beer. Unfortunately some people, like my wife, have serious repercussions to ingesting gluten.
  25. dranoelsy

    dranoelsy Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2011 California

  26. JohnGalt1

    JohnGalt1 Poo-Bah (4,678) Aug 10, 2005 Idaho
    Beer Trader

    It is cool that you are considering Paleo so soon after finding your wife has Hashimotos.

    My wife was diagnosed with thyroid problems more than ten years ago... It screws up her system royally. She was finally diagnosed with Hashimotos last year after being fed up and not finding anything that made her feel better. She started Paleo about 5 months ago. And she feels a TON better.... She is not going to be going back to the Endocrinologist for another 7 months.... At that point, I am willing to bet the Doc says her different hormone levels are much more stable and within normal levels. BTW.... her doctor never mentioned anything about gluten-free, my wife found it online when her doc accused her of not eating any meat and eating only carbs (which we were NOT doing).

    As for me, I have basically given up all gluten (except beer), though I never thought I had a sensitivity. I am doing it more to be supportive. That said, I feel a lot healthier... Clearer head... Lost a fair amount of weight... Down about 3 belt notches... And I wore a shirt today that I could not fit into when I received it back in 2001. And I drink a bunch of beer. But I consume virtually no carbs anywhere else that aren't veggies or fruit. I am not strict "paleo", just more modified low carb while still drinking beer. I have just found the "diet" to be pretty damn easy to do... Who is gonna complain about a big-ass steak and as many veggies as you can eat?

    If your wife would like to chat with mine, please message me and I will send you her email addy. My wife can explain things much more easily.

    Cheers, Toby.
  27. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    If you know the specific compounds you're seeking to avoid, you can look for them in articles like this, or pay big bucks to have a lab look for them. I suspect they'll be there, but in much smaller amounts than in whole grains.
  28. kristalynn

    kristalynn Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2012 California

    this is an interesting newcomer.
    gluten removed by enzymes vs. sorghum or other alternate grains.
    can't speak to the presence of lectins or phylates, though.
  29. oldp0rt

    oldp0rt Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2011 Quebec (Canada)

    Around here, we have a brewer caller BSG (brasseurs sans gluten). Although I do not need to drink them, I still tried them and they are all great. If I had to cut beer and go to gluten free then I'd choose them for sure. I'm sure they have gluten free brewers where you're from?
  30. CasanovaCummins

    CasanovaCummins Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    My wife and I also adhere to the Paleo diet. And since we've eliminated most forms of gluten in all other aspects of our diet, have found that beer just doesn't produce the same problems it once did. We brew our own as well as drink a fair share of differing styles and brewers. I think that by eliminating the main culprits of gluten, a small amount of beer doesn't put us over the top. I suggest you experiment with the method of allowing a small percentage of glutens in your diet until you get to the tipping point. Whether this is 10% or any other level, your body with give indications as to when you hit the point where it isn't beneficial to you. Remember, Paleo man was an opportunistic eater and ate seasonally as well. I think you could adjust you're eating in a broader sense than having to eliminate small amounts of glutens.
  31. UMNbeerhunter

    UMNbeerhunter Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2010 Minnesota

    Moderation brother, moderation. In general though to your answer no, hell no. Beer would not be on your diet.
  32. HarleyGirl66

    HarleyGirl66 Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2007 New York

    I'm Paleo for 2 1/2 months. I LOVE IPA!!! I stopped drinking it because it isn't part of the lifestyle. Twice, since starting Paleo, I've had some IPA's. Both times I ended up in terrible gut pain :-( I guess my body just isn't used to it anymore. I know there are some grain free beers out there. Green's makes one and someone else, I can't remember who now. One of them is made using Honey........ IPA isn't sweet and I don't like sweet.... but I'm willing to try. If anyone else joins this thread who has some experience with a nice Grain free beer, please let me hear from you! Thanks so much.
  33. lopaka8

    lopaka8 Initiate (0) May 27, 2014

    I'm on my third batch of paleo friendly beer.

    Ingredients for 5 gal batch

    Roasted buckwheat (is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains)
    2 lbs of coconut palm sugar (takes a lot longer to ferment)
    4 lbs organic non-gmo beet sugar
    small bottle of molasses
    1 pack extra dark candi syrup (made with dates)

    Yeast - london ale (why - that's what I had in the fridge [​IMG]

    Hops of choice

    First batch I steeped 2 lbs large flake roasted coconut for flavor. Came out pretty good.
  34. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (618) May 11, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Paleo schmaleo. Another fad diet
  35. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (514) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Thanks for lending your ignorance to this thread. It's much appreciated. Now you can go back to trying to figure out how to break your ignition interlock.
    JohnGalt1 and paulys55 like this.
  36. GeezLynn

    GeezLynn Champion (856) May 10, 2009 Colorado

    Agreed. Most evolutionary biologists will tell you the main premise of the Paleo diet is deeply flawed. A great deal of evolution does not occur at a continuous rate, and is frequently due to a series of acute events (short bursts). The generic idea that human genetics have not changed rapidly enough from prehistoric times to adapt to modern diets is unfounded. Human genetic makeups are so highly diverse globally (with varying abilities), without even considering (or fully understanding) the environmental triggers that can trigger/silence them within an individual. Your ethnicity, or even childhood may just as easily explain your dietary limitations as what the cave men were eating.

    Also to be brief, there are glaring problems with the "anti-nutrients" theories cited by the Paleo. The most likely explanation for benefits from this and similar diets are reduction in processed foods and more fruits/vegs. Check out some work by Dr. Marlene Zuk (UW-M) if you're interested in the evolutionary aspects.

    Back onto beer, it seems like many people have a dose-dependent response to gluten. How much beer does it take to give you issues? Seems like it would be a tough to compare between regular and g-f if the g-f beers are so bland that no one ever wants to have more than one at a time. :wink:
  37. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    To attempt to get back to the OP's questions, phytates mostly precipitate out and and are barely, if at all, present in the finished beer. Lectins, I'm not so sure though they are supposed to have an 'affinity' for fungi, like yeast and also bond to many plant oligosaccharides (like you might find in hops). Most nuts are also very high in phytates, probably higher than whole grains, but strangely seem to be mostly 'paleo approved', at least upon casual reading.

    Remember too that cavemen had a forbidden treat now and then (like honey). In their near constant foraging for starchy roots and grubs they almost certainly happened upon some wild grain occasionally (The meat thing is exaggerated; those wooly mammoth steaks would have been a once or twice in a lifetime treat. Most protein would have come from grubs and insects, and fish for a lucky few.).
  38. machalel

    machalel Aspirant (281) Jan 19, 2012 Australia

    I'm not going to touch the theory of paleo, but I have some good news regarding beer intake and your family history. You previously stated:

    From various studies around the world, it appears that moderate alcohol consumption (no more than 1-2 std drinks per day, 4 days a week) may help protect against heart disease for some people. Beer is thought to help prevent heart disease by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as "good cholesterol." and also can help lower homocysteine levels (a heart disease risk factor). Other heart-related benefits that seem to be associated with beer consumption are lower blood pressure and help in preventing LDL, or "bad " cholesterol, from damaging arteries.

    Also, there are some Harvard studies (can't find reference atm) that found beer not only reduced the stroke risk, but also may lower the risk of diabetes.

    That being said, the above isnt exactly proven, but rather there seems to be some correlation that has yet to be understood.

    Some links:
  39. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (618) May 11, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Yea I'll get right on that since I've had so many DUIs and you know me. Sorry but as someone who has made a point of healthy eating and working out for many years my opinion is based mainly on those of friends in the health and fitness world, plus some of my own observations. Every few years a new diet (Atkins, gluten free, mediterranean, paleo, whatever) or eating style (no msg, saturated fats, trans fats) comes up and many people jump on the bandwagon. The keys to a healthy diet and lifestyle are simple: excercise and moderation
    tommyguz and Justdoit1234 like this.
  40. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (618) May 11, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    And for what its worth, I can see some potential health benefits in the paleo diet. Perhaps my frustration stems from friends of mine who have taken up the paleo diet and want to make sure everyone knows it, pretty much losing the ability to talk about any other topic. Plus constantly whining about how not enough restaurants cater to their lifestyle
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