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Does Keto Diet Cause Constipation

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Eating In A Stressed State/not Chewing Thoroughly

Does Keto Actually Cause Constipation + OTHER Poop Myths | Keto Dietitian Talk

The key to good digestion is to eat in a parasympathetic state. Most of us are eating in a sympathetic state. We are often rushed and we arent fully chewing our food or eating in a mindful way. The gut and the brain are connected and interact with each other through our microbes. When we are anxious, it impacts our ability to properly digest food through our digestive system.

Digestion starts in the mouth. Chewing and eating in a relaxed wayalso known as mindful eating ensures we are fully digesting and getting the nutrients we need from our food. Plus, there are enzymes in our saliva that help break down and pre-digest our food before it enters the stomach. According to researchers, During mastication, the food mixes with saliva to form a bolus, a smooth mass of mechanically broken down food particles. The water in saliva moistens the ingested food, whereas the salivary mucins bind masticated food into a coherent and slippery bolus that can easily slide through the esophagus.

If our food is not fully digested or properly moistened before entering the digestive tract, this can contribute to constipation. Eating mindfully helps to relax the entire body so our digestion can function optimally. It all starts with relaxing and fully chewing our food.

Increase The Consumption Of Fiber

As the diet is greatly low in carbs, it seriously limits the servings of fruits and vegetables you eat. You also excluded grains and other foods containing fiber.

Increasing fats and protein can put you at risk for constipation due to the lack of fiber-rich fruits and veggies.

Fiber allows you to stay on your target of low carb diet, without the problem of constipation.

Freely eat as green leafy vegs such as spinach, kale, and lettuce. The calories are super low while it gives a massive boost to your gut.

Check our low carb diet food list for a better understanding of what to eat.

Keto Diet Constipation Is A Legit Issueheres How To Deal

Hereâs how to fight the poop problems many endure while adjusting to keto.

Unless youâve been living under a rock the last six months, youâre well aware that the ketogenic diet is all the rage right now. While people are game to talk about the benefits of the trendy eating plan, its risks, and whether itâs a smart option for vegans, thereâs one topic that still feels taboo: poo.

Before I tried the keto diet myself, I read everything I could about different keto food options, how to work out on keto, even common mistakes people make. I thought I was going into my month-long journey of ketosis with eyes wide open. But after the first few daysand while battling a mild case of the keto fluI realized something pretty major: I had yet to experience a bowel movement.

For more on digestive conditions, check out our Digestive Health Condition Center

As someone whoâs pretty, uh, regular in that department, I was concerned. I mean, nobody wants to experience any serious GI discomfort. So, like any millennial would, I did a quick Google search to see if keto constipation is a thing. Turns out it totally is.

If this über-trendy diet is supposed to be so good for you, then why does it back you up? Is there any way to avoid it, or are all keto-goers doomed to be constipated?

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A Change In Fiber Intake

At the root of keto constipation, fiber intake is often to blame. Its not that youre eating too much fiber, or too little, but that youve made a sudden change in your fiber intake.

The Standard American Diet gets a large portion of its fiber from grains, and the keto diet is low-carb. See the problem? Your body takes a while to adjust to the fiber amount you are feeding it, so its not as easy as just adding more fiber into your diet and your poop problems will be solved. It is best to slowly change the amount of fiber in your diet rather than making dramatic changes.

You can try soluble fiber supplements if constipation remains an issue, or try adding in high-fiber vegetables and foods to create a diet you can sustain for the long haul.

Keto And Ibs: 7 Reasons To Give The Ketogenic Diet A Shot

Strategies to Overcome Constipation on Keto

IBS is a painful digestive system disorder that involves diarrhea, constipation, or both.

Its the most common GI condition, but the causes arent entirely clear. However, plenty of people report relief after trying the keto diet.

Read on to learn what probably causes IBS, what you can do about it, and how the ketogenic diet may help.

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How To Prevent Or Treat Constipation On A Keto Diet

Here are our top six tips for how to manage constipation on a low-carb or keto diet:

  • Keep hydrated: Since dehydration is a potential reason for constipation, it makes sense that adequate hydration can help prevent or treat constipation. This has not been tested in a well-controlled clinical trials, and certainly not with a low-carb diet.6

    However, many experts believe that avoiding dehydration is an essential step for preventing constipation. How do you know if you are well hydrated? If you are urinating at least four times per day and your urine is clear, not yellow, then you are likely well hydrated. Also remember, not all fluids are the same. Greater amounts of caffeinated fluids, like coffee and tea, may lead to sodium loss and dehydration.7

  • Get adequate salt: Just like with hydration, this hasnt been studied in clinical trials, but the idea is that increasing salt intake can help with fluid retention and preventing dehydration. What is adequate salt? This may vary for each individual, but a good starting point is between four and six grams of sodium per day . To learn more you can read our evidence-based guide on salt.
  • Be physically active: Some research suggests that regular physical activity may improve constipation.13 Given the many other benefits of physical activity, it is an easy one to recommend!
  • Someone experiencing constipation would rarely need medical evaluation, but that is an important option if the other interventions dont succeed.

    When To Worry If Youre Having Tummy Trouble On The Keto Diet

    If youre new to the keto diet, its not abnormal that an intense dietary swing would change your bowel habits, so you may need to give your GI system time to adjust, says Amar Naik, MD, a gastroenterologist at Loyola Medicine in Chicago. You can do that safely, as long as you dont have any red flags, like blood in your stool.

    Also watch out for severe or constant abdominal pain, or diarrhea thats more than six times a day or waking you up at night, says Riopelle. If symptoms persist more than two or three weeks, see your doctor to make sure that things are okay.

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    One Problem: Not Enough Fiber

    You can get enough fiber in your low-carb diet without whole grains and legumes. Balance your low-carb diet with low-carb sources of fiber, especially nonstarchy vegetables. A generous serving of 1 to 2 cups per meal will help you get enough fiber in your diet to help things move smoothly in your gastrointestinal tract. For example, you can serve your scrambled eggs with red bell peppers and kale, your lunch can be based on a salad of fresh leafy greens, with tomatoes and avocado, and your dinner could be accompanied with Brussels sprouts and onions. You can also add flaxseeds, psyllium and wheat bran to your diet if you feel like you need extra fiber to prevent constipation.

    Adjustment To Fewer Carbs And More Fat


    Our bodies are designed to digest three macronutrients: carbs, fats, and protein. While eating too many carbs typically isnt recommended if youre trying to lose weight, cutting back on your carb intake too quickly can put your GI tract into a stressed state.

    When you switch to a keto diet, your body has to adjust from digesting a heavy load of carbs to digesting a lot of fat. It can take a while for your gut to get used to breaking down more fat than its been used to.

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    Allergens In Your Diet

    Following the keto diet means making big changes to the foods you eat. Instead of staples like bread, rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes, youll eat more protein and fats, increasing your intake of things like eggs, nuts, full-fat dairy, and other foods you may not have eaten so much of before. Eating new and unusual foods, especially in increased quantities, may trigger allergic reactions and lead to keto bloating.

    Allergic reactions produce inflammation and swelling. Thats bad enough when it affects your skin but can be even more unpleasant when it affects your intestines and stomach.

    Common sources of food sensitivities include:

    • Dairy
    • Nuts
    • Yeast

    The fix: The solution to this problem is simple, but it also involves some trial and error. Eliminate any suspected allergens and monitor how you feel. Reintroduce the foods you think are upsetting your stomach and make a note of your response. Alternatively, see your doctor for a more comprehensive allergy test.

    What Are Carbohydrates Anyway

    When people say carbohydrates, they often think about grain-based foods, such as bread, rice, and pasta.

    The term carbohydrate refers to a group of molecules that cells can break down into a simple sugar called glucose.

    The main types of carbohydrates in food are sugar, starch, and fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. They release glucose into the bloodstream.

    Glucose acts as the bodys primary source of energy because cells can easily convert it into adenosine triphosphate through a process called glycolysis.

    Although it is true that eating too many refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, which can negatively affect the digestive system, carbohydrates exist in healthful foods as well.

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    Okay Then How Can I Get Regular Again

    Heres the thing: A ketogenic diet might work for some people , but its just not going to work for everyone.

    If your tummy distress is only moderate and youre really committed to sticking with keto for the time being, youve do have some options for getting things moving again.

    Eat all the veggies you canor at least as many as are allowed on the diet, like leafy greens, asparagus, and mushroomsfor roughage, recommends Boules. Staying really well hydrated and getting enough exercise also helps, and you can try adding a psyllium husk supplement of one or twotablespoons into a glass of water every day.

    Ideally, as you adjust to the higher percentages of protein and fat on keto, your stomach will settle down and get back to normal. If it doesnt, consider switching to a diet thats gentler on your tummy, because honestly, when your bowel movements start affecting your daily life, even the promise of weight loss isn’t worth it.

    Add Natural Laxative Foods

    What to do for Keto Constipation Relief

    Many foods have a natural laxative effect. Foods that are full of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids promote regular healthy bowel function.

    Some of the most popular options include:

    • Aloe vera
    • Sour figs
    • Spices and herbs such as cayenne pepper, turmeric, and ginger

    If you’re on a low-carb diet you’ll want to avoid high-sugar fruit. Instead, opt for low-sugar fruit like berries and citrus fruit, which can be a great source of fiber.

    With lots of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, in a tiny package, nuts and seeds are a quick, easy, way to combat constipation.

    Flax and chia are among the most versatile and nutritious options. With more soluble fiber than other varieties, flax and chia seeds are popular natural dietary remedies for constipation.

    You can easily add many of these foods to your morning yogurt or use them as ingredients for a fiber-fueled smoothie.

    Many great sources of fiber are acceptable on a low-carb diet, but that doesn’t mean you want to overdo it. Overeatingeven healthy foods, and particularly those that have lots of fibercan lead to digestive discomfort.

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    What Foods To Avoid Keto Diet

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    Not Enough Dietary Fiber

    Dietary fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. Why indigestible? Because fiber is plant material that isnt broken down by digestive enzymes. It doesnt go through normal digestive routes.

    But indigestible doesnt mean nothing digests it. Gut microbes do. And when you shift the fiber supply to these microbes, you shift your digestive health. Ill cover this more in the next section.

    Fiber also adds bulk to stool and promotes bowel motility. In other words, eating fiber helps keep things moving down there. I would be remiss, however, not to mention that there are a subset of people for whom fiber does not improve motility and can actually have a converse response of causing constipation. Its almost as if the modern study of gut health is relatively new and quite complicated!

    On keto, fiber intake can plummet. When you eliminate grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables, youre eliminating rich sources of dietary fiber. The result is often constipation.

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    How To Treat Keto Constipation

    Summing up and adding few more minor tips, these measures might be taken to avoid or relieve the keto bowel movement issue:

  • Drink enough water. Water balance is essential for your body to function correctly.
  • Eat sufficient minerals. Sodium is crucial to keep hydrated, and lack of potassium may cause colon cramping and thus evoke constipation.
  • Eat enough fiber. Never ignore vegetables, but dont take ravenous bites of crucifers every thirty minutes. Stay within a recommended daily value.
  • Dont overwhelm your gut. Healthy bacteria, living inside of your digestive tract, need to grow their number and adapt to a larger amount of certain foods.
  • Alter the nuts you eat. Sometimes eating too many wrong nuts may decrease enzyme activity and contribute to constipation. Cut them out for a few days or germinate them.
  • Beware of dairy. Some people have lactose intolerance, which worsens dairy protein digestion and may promote backing up.
  • Approach gradually. Minor changes require less adaptation than major ones and allow you to progress without being overstressed.
  • Avoid stress.A variety of problems might be caused or worsened by stress, including constipation. Easier said than done, taking care of stress might be a great solution to them.
  • Avoid Inflammatory And Allergenic Foods

    Generally speaking, the keto diet is anti-inflammatory. A keto food list cuts out most processed junk food and industrial vegetable oils, while reducing plant foods high in toxins and antinutrients.

    But even certain keto-friendly foods can be inflammatory for some. Dairy allergens are fairly common, and can flare up when people eat large amounts of keto cheeses.

    Nuts on keto are another popular food that can cause constipation. Though high in fat and protein, theyre also high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids along with lots of fiber.

    Eggs are another nutritious food that has the potential to be allergenic.

    You might be able to circumvent these potential issues by switching to raw and A2 dairy. But when in doubt, cut them out.

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    Can Too Much Fiber Cause Keto Constipation

    While consuming too little fiber is a leading cause of keto constipation, too much fiber can be a culprit also. A lot of people subscribe to the more is better approach to fiber consumption but eating more than your body can handle may have unwanted effects.

    As you know, fiber adds bulk to your poo. Some extra bulk is a good thing and makes moving waste material through your digestive system much easier. But, an excess of fiber could mean that your poo is all-but wedged in your gastrointestinal tract. This can cause a buildup of gas, leading to bloating and discomfort as well as constipation.

    A lot of keto dieters quite rightly eat more non-starchy vegetables when they start their keto diet. However, that sudden increase in fiber could be too much too soon for your digestive system. After all, those starchy carbs you were eating up until recently contained some fiber, but probably not as much as all the vegetables you are now eating in abundance. Foods like white bread, white rice, and breakfast cereals are nowhere near as high in fiber as aptly-named fibrous veggies.

    Rather than overload your digestive system with too much fiber too soon, increase your veggie intake gradually over several days, and preferably before you start your keto diet. That way, youll be well on your way to becoming accustomed to an increased fiber intake, and it wont cause the very problem you are trying to avoid!

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