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Does Low Carb Diet Cause Constipation

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Remedies For Keto Diet Constipation

Do low carb diets cause constipation?

By Annie Price, CHHC

If youve been following a ketogenic diet then youre already familiar with this eating plans possible benefits including losing weight, lowering blood pressure and better blood sugar control. There are also some potential keto diet side effects to be aware of and once you know them, you can also easily make an effort to avoid them! One of these undesirable side effects is keto diet constipation.

In general, constipation is a huge problem for many people today. Its estimated that in the U.S. alone, chronic constipation results in 2.5 million doctor visits each year and medication costs that reach in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Experiencing constipation is not enjoyable by any means and can include other unwanted symptoms from headaches to bloating to an irritable disposition. If youve been experiencing constipation on keto, its time to fix this problem with truly effective natural remedies or prevent it in the first place.

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.

Eat Beans And Nuts Too

While following a low-carb diet will generally mean limiting your bean intake, you shouldn’t cut them out of your meal plan entirely. A significant amount of the carb content of beans actually comes from fiber, which makes them great for preventing constipation. A cup of black beans, for example, has 41 grams of total carbohydrates, but 15 of those grams come from dietary fiber. Chickpeas offer 35 grams of carbs per cup, which includes 10 grams of fiber.

You can also up your constipation-fighting fiber intake by eating nuts, which are naturally low in carbs. An ounce of almonds, for instance, has just 6 grams of total carbs, with 4 of those coming from fiber. And walnuts are virtually carb-free an ounce has less than 3 grams, with 2 grams accounted for by dietary fiber. Or, snack on pistachios, which have 8 grams of total carbs including 3 grams of fiber.

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Low Carb Diets And Constipation

This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. All opinions remain our own.

Do you follow a low carb or ketogenic diet? If you do, you certainly know the positive effects of weight loss.

When you shift to a high protein and high-fat diet, it can support your fat loss and fitness goals.

Although, depending on what you eat, it may not be adequate for keeping you regular.

If you are following an Atkins or ketogenic diet, or similar, then a possible side-effect may include constipation.

A keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet used to manage neurological disorders.

Originally it was used to treat epilepsy in the early 1920s but has since become noted for its many health benefits.

Since carbs dont enter into your body when you are on a low-carb or keto diet, the problem of constipation can be quite severe.

For this reason, feeling bunged up is a common side effect when eating a ketogenic diet.

Thus, we will discuss how to deal with constipation on the keto diet and combat constipation, especially if you dont eat enough vegetables while in ketosis.

Not Consuming Enough Fiber

Do low carb diets cause constipation?

When transitioning from a typical American diet to a keto diet, making healthy food choices should be a top priority. According to Dr. Josh Axe, keto-expert and New York Times best-selling Author, Constipation is possible, especially in the transitional period when you make the change from your previous dietary habits to your new keto lifestyle. This is why its so important to follow a keto diet in the healthiest manner possible.

Its convenient to drink butter coffee every morning and eat prepackaged keto convenience foods. But you also want to make sure youre getting adequate dietary fiber through high-fiber foods. Fiber helps to bulk up and move our bowels, so they can pass waste easier.

The American Heart Association suggests the daily value for fiber is 25 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet for adults. Even though a good amount of your diet is healthy fats when youre trying to maintain ketosis, its important to get the majority of your carbohydrates from non-starchy vegetables, which also contain fiber. For example, leafy greens contain , asparagus and broccoli . If you feel like youre not getting enough fiber and youre reaching your maximum carbs, there are some keto fiber supplements you can take as well.

Constipation is possible, especially in the transitional period when you make the change from your previous dietary habits to your new keto lifestyle. This is why its so important to follow a keto diet in the healthiest manner possible.

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Avoid Constipation While On Low Carb High Protein Diet

Constipation is a common problem while you are on a low carb, high protein diet. The main reason for that is your diet is lacking fiber, which is essential for normal bowel movements.

Low carb diets are basically designed to lose weight. They contain fewer calories and a large proportion of protein. The easy way of designing this type weight loss diet is avoiding starchy foods and adding animal based high-protein foods such as meat and eggs.

Related: Can eggs cause constipation?

Only plant-based foods contain dietary fiber. Meat, fish, or eggs dont have it. Consequently, most of the weight loss diets contain negligible amounts of fiber. So, constipation is very common when you are on a weight loss diet.

However, you can avoid this by making some modifications to your diet. The basic idea is replacing the animal protein with a plant based high protein low carb food.

The following are some high protein foods that contain plenty of fiber.

Not Getting Enough Movement

Most of us are aware of the benefits of regular physical activity. But one benefit you may not be aware of is that movement throughout the day increases gut motility. This means that by moving your body, you are also stimulating your bowels to move. Additionally, exercise reduces transit time in the intestines . So be sure to get up and move throughout the day. Even a short walk can help significantly with constipation.

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Is Keto Dangerous For Digestive Health

Everyone knows that constipation is uncomfortable for sure, but can it harm your health? Aside from the risk of hemorrhoids due to constipation, the issue is that constipation is simply a sign that somethings off in your body, says Albenberg.

Then theres the potential issue that changing your diet may affect your gut microbiome, the vast network of microorganisms in your digestive tract, which has been linked to immune and metabolic function, and may play a role in disease prevention or progression, according to a review published in January 2016 in the journal Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. Research in animals, and some human data, shows that high fat diets lead to fairly rapid and significant changes in the microbiome. Yet we dont necessarily know what that means for long-term health, says Albenberg. There is also an indication that these changes may be associated with increased inflammation, but it hasnt been found to directly cause inflammation, she adds.

Adding to the complexity is that, in the context of epilepsy, its because of these alterations in the microbiome that keto may help reduce the frequency of seizures, notes a preliminary study published in May 2018 in the journal Cell that observed these effects on mice. Meaning in certain contexts and when medically appropriate, these changes can actually be helpful, says Albenberg. But many people today who are trying keto arent doing it as part of a seizure disorder treatment.

How To Fix Keto Constipation

Does a LOW Fibre Diet Cause Constipation?

All of this is good to know if you’re trying to avoid keto constipation, but what if you’re already suffering? Dr. Palma suggests trying the following tactics to get your digestive system back to normal.

Add more fiber. This one’s a given. Other than eating more fibrous foods, Dr. Palma suggests sprinkling ground flaxseed into your meals or adding chia seeds or acacia fiber to a morning smoothie to help increase your daily count.

Drink lemon water + apple cider vinegar. When you first wake up, make a cup of hot lemon water mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Dr. Palma says it’ll help boost digestive function and help with hydration. Remember: You want to stay hydrated on keto otherwise, you could experience a decrease in digestive and brain function along with lower energy levels.

Stretch first thing. “Taking time to stretch and connect with your body before a busy day helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is where digestion thrives,” says Dr. Palma.

Embrace mindful eating. That means taking two deep, conscious breaths before each meal, sitting down without distractions, and chewing well. “The secretion of enzymes to break down protein, fat, and carbohydrates occurs when we begin to think of and smell food,” says Dr. Palma. “In order to optimize digestion, we must slow down to chew our food properly.” She suggests setting small goals that help you eat more mindfully, like putting your fork down at least five times before your meal is done.

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You Will Likely Be Constipated On Keto

“Most people right away will get pretty constipated,” says Liz Weinandy, R.D. at The Ohio State University.

This is especially true for people who are used to eating plenty of fiber from whole grains and fruits, which are limited on the keto diet. Carbohydrates are typically capped at 30 grams per day, making it hard to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal or an apple.

You May See Blood From Hemorrhoids

Again, this is anecdotal, but some of Weinandy’s patients develop hemorrhoids from being severely constipated.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal that become inflamed from straining or sitting on the toilet for extended periods of time, Men’s Healthpreviously reported. That’s because sitting all that sitting puts strain on the connective tissue that holds the veins in place. People with hemorrhoids may notice some blood when wiping.

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Lack Of Electrolytes And Mineral

To maintain the optimal GI function, a certain level of electrolytes is necessary for your body. For the same reason, the balance in potassium, sodium, and magnesium level needs to be maintained in your body. Low carb intake results in decreasing the insulin level and causes an imbalance in the electrolyte level.

A Word About Bowel Movements On Keto

Pin on Keto Diet Tips

The most probable cause of diarrhea when eating low carbs is either lactose intolerance or a very high fat intake. Many low-carb diet programs recommend eating significant amounts of cheese and if you didn’t use to eat dairy on a regular basis, your increased lactose intake could trigger diarrhea. Cut on the dairy if you suspect this is the problem. Alternatively, your diarrhea could be due to changing from a high-carb, low-fat diet to a low-carb, high-fat diet. If your body is not used to have a lot of fat, you may not be able to digest it properly. Cut down on your fat intake and increase your fat gradually to allow your body time to adjust and prevent problems with your bowel movements.

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Bad Breath The Smelly Side Effect Of Ketosis

When you achieve your goal of burning fat for fuel, your body will produce acetone the main cause of bad breath on a low-carbohydrate diet.

Acetone is a by-product of ketosis, and it can leak out of your breath and sweat when you first get into ketosis. How bad you smell, however, depends on how your body handles the by-products of fat burning.

Some of us may never get bad breath from being in ketosis, while others will take weeks to adjust. For those who have bad breath, it is best to mask it with herbal mint sprays and gum , adequate fluid and salt intake, and good oral hygiene.

How To Stop & Avoid Keto Constipation

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The keto diet is known for its countless health benefits like sustained energy, less cravings, and weight loss, but keto constipation is a common drawback for some beginners. This article will tell you everything you need to know about keto constipation, what causes it, how you can treat it, and even how you can prevent it.

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What Are The Digestive Complications For Low Carbs

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A low-carb diet can help you lose weight or manage a health condition, but it isn’t without risks. When you restrict carbohydrates, you eat fewer refined sugars and flours — which is a good thing. It can often mean you’re eating fewer fiber-rich foods, too, such as whole grains and fibrous veggies and fruits. This lack of fiber can lead to digestive complications.

Keto Maintains Gut Integrity

Low carb constipation (ATKINS , KETO , PALEO)

Sugar is also bad for your gut lining. Sugar damages your intestinal barrier by weakening little seams called tight junctions. Tight junctions prevent food particles, bacteria, and other contents of your gut from leaking into your bloodstream. When your tight junctions weaken, you can end up with gut inflammation and an unnecessary immune response, which causes digestive issues and intestinal damage.

On a keto diet, you arent eating sugar or other refined carbs, so you dont have to worry about sugar intake damaging your gut lining.

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What Is Keto Flu

Many people experience headaches, fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps, insomnia and digestive issues in the early stages of keto dieting. Collectively, these symptoms are called keto flu.

Keto flu symptoms mimic flu symptoms, as their name suggests. Its not like youre running a fever or bed-ridden, but you might feel tired and weak.

At the core, keto flu is the human body adapting to dietary change. The biggest change? A sharp reduction in carbohydrates.

On a ketogenic diet, you normally consume less than 10% of your calories from carbohydrates. Keeping carbs low keeps the hormone insulin low, which in turn increases the reliance upon the release and breakdown of stored body fat for energy. This shift toward greater fat-burning is the central process driving the benefits of the keto diet.

But insulin suppression isnt the only consequence of carb restriction. There are also consequences to the gut.

Is Eating No Carbs Healthy

A no-carb diet eliminates almost all carbs and encourages high intakes of fat and protein. It may boost weight loss, heart health, and blood sugar control. Yet, its unnecessary to cut all carbs to experience these benefits. Plus, this diet may reduce energy levels and increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies.

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You Could Experience Diarrhea On Keto

Alternatively, some people may have the opposite problem.

Barbie Boules, R.D.N., founder of Nyoutrition, previously told Men’s Health this occurs when people don’t digest all the fat they’re consuming. Plus, many keto-friendly foods contain non-nutritive sweeteners or sugar alcohols, which may cause digestive problems in some people. “Sorbitol in particular is notorious for causing GI upset,” she says.

Take Probiotic Foods And Supplements

Constipation and Low Carbohydrate Diet

Probiotic fiber feeds the probiotic or beneficial gut bacterias which help in maintaining a healthy digestive system. In the absence of prebiotic fiber in the keto diet, your body may also lack the presence of probiotics. Eat more fermented foods such as pickles, yogurt, kefir, or kimchi which are known to be probiotic foods. You may also consider probiotic supplements if you donât want to include these foods in your diet.

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Glycogen Ketones And Water Loss

Humans can handle food shortages with some assistance from liver and muscle glycogen the storage form of sugar in the body. Once we start a low-carbohydrate diet, our body tends to rely on glycogen for energy.

For each gram of glycogen used as energy, twice this mass is lost in the water. This is because glycogen retain and attract water.

Once the body enters ketosis, the body is finally able to spare glycogen, but the water loss does not stop. The ketones that are created by the process of fat burning will also lead to more water excretion.

When you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, you will have lower insulin and glycogen levels and higher ketone levels.

This will cause your body to retain much less water and fewer minerals than it did before. This is why it is imperative to maintain adequate fluid and mineral intake, especially in the beginning of a low-carbohydrate diet.

Too Much Or Not Enough Fiber

Increasing fiber intake is the first-line treatment for constipation no matter what diet youre on.

Studies show that most adults following a typical Western diet are not meeting their daily needs for fiber 2. The recommended daily intake is around 25-30g a day, while the current average is below 20g a day.

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that gives stool bulk, which makes it easier to pass. It also stimulates bowel movements and feeds friendly gut bacteria all things important for normal bowel functioning.

But too much of it can also make you constipated according to some studies 3. So, if youve increased your fiber intake but are still constipated on your keto diet, make sure you are keeping fiber intake within the recommended daily limits.

Another important thing that many people fail to mention when talking about fiber is the importance of hydration. Soluble fiber absorbs water, forming a gel-like substance that helps with bowel movements. Without enough water, this type of fiber will not do much for your bowel health.

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