Sudden Change In Diet
The human body is an amazing thing that is able to adapt to all sorts of different living conditions. With change, it requires time for your body to adapt.
If youve suddenly gone from a diet consisting primarily of carbs, or suddenly increased your protein and fat intake, it can disrupt your digestive system.
Its common for people who have just switched to a keto diet to experience some form of constipation or diarrhea within the first few days to weeks.
Think about it, if your body will tend to regulate itself given your usual routine. When you go travelling and drastically change up your diet to the local food of your destination, youll experience toilet issues just from the change, even if youre not drastically cutting out a macro nutrient.
Low Healthy Gut Bacteria/lack Of Prebiotic Fiber
You may not be getting enough prebiotics and probiotics in your diet. Prebiotics are soluble fiber that we dont digest. Prebiotics feed our probiotics and help keep our microbiome healthy. Prebiotics often come from starchy vegetables like potatoes and rice, which are avoided on a ketogenic diet. But some vegetables are high in prebiotics, such as garlic, leeks, artichokes, dandelion greens, tomatoes, asparagus, and berries. Probiotics can be obtained through fermented foods like kimchi , sauerkraut, and fermented pickles. The combination of both prebiotics and probiotics has been shown to help with constipation. If youre not a fan of fermented foods, you can take a prebiotic and probiotic supplement. Also, try to eat mostly Whole Foods.
Too Little Dietary Fiber
For someone following a high-carbohydrate diet, cutting back on carbs can reduce their fiber intake.
Thats because fiber is commonly found in carb sources such as whole grains, rice, pasta, potatoes, apples, and bananas .
Dietary fiber adds bulk to and softens your stool, making it easier to pass. A meta-analysis showed that fiber increases stool frequency, which makes it a common treatment for constipation .
That said, you might want to check which high-carb plant foods youve been cutting from your diet recently.
Also, keep in mind that a low-carb diet doesnt have to lack in fiber. Its important to make sure that youre finding other .
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Reasons For Constipation On The Keto Diet
You’re not getting enough dietary fiber. Fiber aids digestion, and without it, you could be setting yourself up for a hard time. Current guidelines recommend 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, with special emphasis on soluble fiber.
Dehydration. When your body shifts into a fat-burning metabolism, you retain less water and minerals. This means that you can become dehydrated if you are not making sure to hydrate extra well, contributing to constipation on keto.
Imbalanced gut flora. A healthy gut is a home to billions of microorganisms. Friendly gut bacteria feed mainly on soluble fiber. If your diet is low in this type of fiber, the bacteria will starve, leading to something called dysbiosis, aka a microbial imbalance. Dysbiosis leads to a range of digestive symptoms, and constipation is the most common one.
. The keto diet is known for its appetite-suppressing effect, which makes you eat less. And while this can be a good thing when your goal is weight loss, it can also leave you constipated.
Digestive issues. If you are eating plenty of healthy fats and fiber and still having inconsistent bowel movements, it may be a digestion issue. Some people will feel like they have a brick sitting in their stomach after consuming a high-fat meal. When this is the case, it is usually either an issue with low stomach acid or a sluggish gallbladder.
When To Seek Professional Help For Constipation On Keto
Constipation that persists can lead to abdominal pain, bloating, and complications like hemorrhoids, fecal impaction, and rectal prolapse, especially if it lasts for weeks . Make sure to see your doctor. A health professional may recommend a fiber supplement or a laxative that doesnt contain carbohydrates.
Your doctor might also explore other causes of constipation not related to the keto diet, such as medications youre currently taking or a health condition .
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Is Keto Dangerous For Your Health
No, The experts and other studies outline that a keto diet is not harmful to the dieters. It helps to lose weight to obese people.
However, it comes with complications, health risks, and other side effects.
You should, therefore, balance all the components needed on a diet to avoid the complications. You should as well confirm with the doctors to find out if it will work for you or not.
Are You Constipated Or Just Pooping Less
Many people confuse keto diet constipation with simply pooping less.
Thats because a well-formulated keto diet is based on fatty keto meats, fatty fish, and healthy fats that provide your body all the nutrients it needs in highly bioavailable formats. This means much less unusable waste that your body needs to expel.
On the other hand, non keto foods like corn, beans, and many other fiber-laden plant foods, are often visible on the other end, which says a lot about how useful they are for you body.
Excess dietary fiber can cause so much mechanical stress that it ferments and heats up our intestines. This excess heat can then go on to damage-heat sensitive organs, notably reproductive organs. Fibers fermentation process also produces noxious gasses and other chemical byproducts.
A strong case cannot be made for a protective effect of dietary fiber against colorectal polyp or cancer. Neither has fiber been found to be useful in chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, the 2012 study mentioned earlier goes on to explain. We often choose to believe a lie, as a lie repeated often enough by enough people becomes accepted as the truth. We urge clinicians to keep an open mind.
So now that weve put the fiber myth to bed, lets take a truly critical look at keto diet constipation relief.
Potassium The Ketogenic Diet
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How To Stay Regular
- Eat Fiber Some people are so strict with eating fat, that they purposely ignore carbs with a lot of fiber. Not me. I eat vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, psyllium husk. This equals around 20-30 grams of fiber per day.
- Drink Water Staying hydrated flushes a lot of bad shit out of your body, literally and figuratively. Your body requires water for digestion, so its especially important after you eat. My answer to almost every ailment these days is drinking more water. I usually feel noticeably better within hours.
- Exercise/Walk Staying in motion increases your metabolism, and keeps your body functioning properly. Take a few small steps everyday towards living an active lifestyle.
- Drink Coffee Almost without question, if I didnt have a good poo upon waking, I need to go 15-60 minutes after having my morning cup of coffee! Whatever compound is causing this, I cant say. But it works for me.
So there you have it. Dont be alarmed if you arent pooping as much, especially at the beginning.
Do your best to eat some fiber, drink zero calorie beverages, and be active.
If you manage these important areas, you will keep constipation at bay and achieve better gut health on the keto diet.
P.S. Give organic psyllium husk a shot to seriously end your constipation!
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Drink A Cup Of Hot Coffee Or Tea On An Empty Stomach
If you have been constipated for a couple of days and are starting to experience unpleasant side effects, such as bloating, then drinking something mildly diuretic, such as coffee or tea on an empty stomach, can help a lot.
Moreover, drinking a hot liquid induces mild contractions in your intestines, so if youre not a fan of coffee or tea, you can just drink some hot water.
This will also aid with digestion, can decrease your stress levels, and will help you stay well hydrated, so theres no reason not to try it out.
Gut Bacteria And Constipation
When cutting carbs on keto, carb-loving bacteria will likely die off, and when they do, theyll need to be replaced with fat-loving bacteria before normal digestive function can resume.
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What Is Causing Constipation
Instead of being considered a disease by itself, constipation is usually viewed as a symptom of various health problems. They might include eating disorders, stress, not being active, overeating dairy, lack of probiotics and others.
Keto constipation is slightly different. If hard bowel movements havent been an issue before changing your diet, and now they are, a reason might be the transition to a keto lifestyle.
Here are several reasons why keto constipation could happen.
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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How To Prevent Keto Constipation
Applying the strategies discussed previously, such as adding low-carb fiber sources, hydration, adding dietary fat, and exercising can prevent constipation from happening.
Another approach is to do the keto diet gradually. Some people drastically lower their carbohydrates to enter ketosis, but you can take the slow route. While this wont result in immediate ketosis, it will give your digestive system more time to adapt to your new diet.
Remedies For Keto Constipation
- Eat more low starchy fibrous vegetables each day.
- Eat small amounts of fermented foods with your meals.
- Consider taking quality prebiotic and probiotics.
- Consider a magnesium supplement, such as magnesium citrate, which can help to move the bowels.
- Try including chia seeds or flax seeds in your diet.
- Drink coffee or tea, which can stimulate bowels.
- Try removing nuts from your diet, as these can be binding for some people.
- Be sure to chew your food thoroughly and eat in a relaxed state.
- Drink lemon water mixed with apple cider vinegar. When you first wake up, make a cup of hot lemon water mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Get some exercise, move your body throughout the day.
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Preventing Constipation With Soluble And Insoluble Fiber On A Ketogenic Diet
There are two types of dietary fiber soluble fiber, which is absorbed into the water and kind of pulls water back into the gut, and insoluble fiber, which actually acts more as a bulking agent.
Both types of dietary fiber are important for proper gut health and function. So sure youre getting at least a good mix of soluble fiber, vegetables, and fruit in your diet that dont increase your glucose and insulin levels and knock you out of ketosis.
There are a variety of high fiber prebiotic foods that you can eat on a ketogenic diet that have that soluble fiber in there.
Psyllium husks have a good combination of mostly soluble fiber with some insoluble fiber. If you have ever taken Metamucil, then youve taken psyllium husks
Typically just a scoop of psyllium husks in a glass of water in the morning should give you enough soluble fiber to help prevent developing constipation on a ketogenic diet
Other high fiber foods that you can eat on a low-carb ketogenic diet include:
Health Benefits Of The Keto Diet
According to the authors of a 2018 review article, keto diets may have health benefits beyond weight loss. These include:
- Improved blood sugar control
- Reduced triglyceride levels
- Lowered total cholesterol levels
Also, clinical evidence suggests that keto diets may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Scientists also found evidence to support the use of keto diets for treating various neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions, such as:
- Alzheimers disease
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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.
What Helps Constipation On Keto
Now that you know what causes keto constipation, lets look at a five few steps you can take to treat it.
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Too Much Protein Can Cause Constipation
Eating too much protein is one of the most common causes of keto diet constipation.
If youre youve gone from eating meat a few times a week to a carnivore or lion diet where youre eating over a pound of meat every day, dont be surprised if your digestion takes a few weeks to catch up with the change.
Thankfully theres a simple solution for this problem. Eat more fat. Remember, the keto diet calls for 70-80% of all calories as fat.
Select fatty cuts of meat. Opting for cuts with a high fat:protein ratio may help you avoid the metabolic inefficiency that comes with converting protein to carbs.
How To Treat Constipation
If youre new to the keto diet, you may find that your constipation only lasts a few days to a few weeks. As your body adjusts to digesting more fats and fewer carbs, your constipation may get better.
If your constipation continues to be an issue, try one of these home remedies:
- Drink more water.
- bowel training , a method where you pass stools at the same time every day.
If your constipation is not better after 3 weeks, be sure to make an appointment with a doctor. They can work with you to find the best treatment.
While over-the-counter stimulants may help, its best to talk with a doctor before taking any fiber supplements or laxatives. Some of these products are high in carbs, which can derail your efforts on the keto diet.
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Ways To Avoid Keto Constipation
Stay hydrated. Getting dehydrated can have a direct effect on your bowel movements and make them difficult and painful. The keto diet is diuretic, youll notice that you pee more than usual, so you need to make sure youre drinking sufficient amounts of fluids to keep you hydrated.
Balance fiber intake. Eating the right amount of fiber and drinking enough fluids can make a huge difference in your digestive health. On a keto diet, you can get plenty of soluble fiber from coconut flour, avocado, broccoli, almonds, celery stalks, peanut butter, flaxseed, and other keto diet foods.
Take a probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast found in fermented food but also sold as supplements. Good sources include cultured yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso. Combining fermented food with fiber-rich sources boosts probiotic survival in the gut.
Balance electrolytes. Electrolyte supplementation is extremely important on keto, and if youre just starting out, you might not yet be familiar with that. Sodium and potassium, in particular, function in a tight correlation in our bodies, and because of ketos diuretic effect, your kidneys are excreting them at a higher rate than usual. This means that you need to make sure youre replenishing them, as insufficient sodium and/or potassium might result in weakness, dizziness, headaches, elevated blood pressure, and constipation.