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.
Keto Constipation Relief: The Takeaway
Constipation is a common setback that many new keto-dieters run into. Thankfully, its easy to avoid or overcome.
Staying hydrated, consuming moderate amounts of caffeinated beverages, increasing salt, while supplementing with electrolytes and bile are all winning strategies for fixing constipation on keto.
Why Does Constipation Happen On A Keto Diet
While there is no one science-backed reason, there are several theories as to why someone on a keto diet may suffer from constipation.
The first is an acute decrease in fiber. While it is debatable if you need fiber for healthy bowel movements, many believe that your body needs time to adjust to a sudden decrease in fiber content. Therefore, if someone was getting a lot of fiber from whole grains, fruit, and beans and suddenly stopped eating those foods that may temporarily result in constipation.3 Of course, some people may actually increase their fiber intake on a low-carb diet if they replace processed sugars and starches with vegetables.
Keep in mind that low-carb diets dont have to be low in fiber. Above-ground veggies and seeds can still provide plenty of fiber for most people. Read more in our guide about the best low-carb high-fiber foods.
Another potential cause for constipation is dehydration. It is well known that the transition to a very low-carb diet can cause an increase in urination with fluid and sodium loss.4 This can result in mild dehydration, which is potentially associated with constipation.
Along these same lines, some believe a change in body electrolytes can alter stool frequency.
Last, low-carb diets often result in a natural caloric decrease.5
You May Like: Will Stool Softener Help Constipation
Drink More Water For Constipation
She also stresses the importance of adequate hydration. Water is essential to helping fiber work its magic.
The large intestine draws water out of the stool before its passed out of the body. So if you are dehydrated due to exercise, hot weather, a medical condition or just not drinking enough water, you can end up with hard, dried-out stool that is more difficult to pass.
As you increase your dietary fiber, its important to increase your hydration at the same time, she advises.
Make Sure Youre Getting Enough Sodium And Potassium
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.
Your sodium should be of at least 2000 to 4000 mg per day, and if youre particularly active and/or sweating a lot, you might need more.
The recommended potassium amount you should be getting daily is of 4700 mg. However, its best if you get it from real potassium rich foods, such as avocado, broccoli, salmon, chicken breast and the like, as potassium supplementation can be dangerous.
For more details on electrolytes, make sure to check our Electrolytes and Supplements Guide for Keto.
If youre constipated, making sure that youre well-hydrated and that your electrolytes are in check should be the first step in trying to resolve the problem.
Read Also: What To Eat With Diarrhea
Here’s How To Fight The Poop Problems Many Endure While Adjusting To Keto
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last six months, you’re 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 it’s a smart option for vegans, there’s one topic that still feels taboo: poo.
Before I tried the keto diet myself, I read everything I could aboutdifferent 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 who’s 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?
Ways To Get More Fiber On The Keto Diet
The reason that people on the keto diet become deficient in fiber is that many fiber-rich foods are also rich in carbohydrates. By trying to avoid carbohydrates, people on the keto diet often inadvertently avoid fiber. If youâre considering starting the diet, consider how youâll get fiber on the keto diet, since fiber is essential to digestive health.
Luckily, some foods are low in carbs but high in fiber. Incorporating these foods can help ensure that you get enough fiber while youâre on the keto diet. Keep reading for 10 keto-friendly foods that are also high in fiber.
Read Also: What Foods To Eat If You Have Diarrhea
How Prevalent Is Constipation On A Keto Diet
The prevalence of constipation on a low-carb or keto diet can be as high as 50% according to some studies.1 Clinicians familiar with low-carb diets, however, feel it is closer to 25%.2 The good news is that clinicians also agree that constipation is usually mild and self-resolves over time, or it is easily treated with home and over-the-counter remedies.
Keto Diet & Constipation
Your body takes time to transition to burning fat and new foods. Youve likely trained it to process high carb foods, and to some degree, healthy foods may seem foreign.
A byproduct of this is you shouldnt expect to feel like a new person 5 days into your low-carb experience.
It could take weeks for your body to adapt to its new diet.
I clearly remember days of feeling constipated and bloated at the beginning. During this time, it was difficult to eat a normal amount of calories.
Sometimes 600 calories would fill me for the day.
Eventually, this passed and I settled into an eating routine.
However, I didnt begin feeling a major uptick in my energy level until 6-8 weeks after starting keto.
If you havent reached that point, I strongly recommend sticking it out despite any short-term negative symptoms.
Recommended Reading: What Can Help A Constipated Baby
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.
Secret Ingredient To Avoid Constipation
You may know of it as brand-name Metamucil, but you can buy this 100% fiber dietary supplement under the plant-name, Organic Psyllium Husk on Amazon.
I throw this into keto recipes regularly, such as low-carb bread or cauliflower pizza crust to prevent constipation.
It comes in powdered form which is better if youd rather drink it down vs. use as a baking ingredient where it provides texture.
Viva Naturals also offers capsules for the easiest solution.
The addition does WONDERS to remedy the quality and consistency of your bowel movements.
When its added to liquid, it begins to thicken and almost forms a gel. This is part of what works so well as it passes through your body.
Combining psyllium husk with adequate water consumption is the best natural laxative that Ive ever experienced.
I dont want to get graphic, yet I cant help it
Dont be surprised if your turds dont leave any poo residue on your bum.
Psyllium husk shits are one of lifes simple pleasures.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Belly Bloat
What Can You Eat On Atkins Diet Phase 1
The Atkins Diet Is Divided Into Four Phases Phase 1 consists of eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrates each day for two weeks. Consume high-fat, high-protein foods, as well as low-carb veggies such as leafy greens. This jump-starts the weight-loss process. Phase 2 consists of the following steps: Increase the number of
Does The Keto Diet Cause Constipation
Constipation can be defined as having difficulty emptying the bowels and is usually associated with hardened feces. When youre constipated, food waste moves slower through the digestive tract.
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. Can a low carb diet cause constipation? Its 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.
Many people are used to getting their fiber from processed high fiber cereals before they go keto. Then they switch to a keto diet and dont realize there are still many healthy sources that are very low in carbs yet have plenty of constipation-preventing fiber.
However, its helpful to know that keto constipation and diarrhea can both occur. It all depends on how your body reacts to your new diet. You may not experience either digestive symptom or you might experience diarrhea rather than constipation. So does keto diet make you poop? For some people, it may increase bowel movements, but thats not always the case.
According to John Riopelle, DO, a gastroenterologist for Kaiser Permanente, Any time you make a big change to your diet, theres the chance it will affect your gastrointestinal health. Whats more, everyones colon is unique, which is why some people may be stricken with constipation, others with diarrhea, and still, some may not notice a change at all.
You May Like: Is Corn Good For Constipation
Not Eating Enough Fiber
. This amount is much lower than the recommended daily value of 300 g of carbohydrates per day.
Although people can benefit from limiting their intake of simple carbohydrates and processed foods, keto diets restrict all types of carbohydrate, including those present in high fiber fruits, vegetables, and grains.
The digestive system cannot break down fiber, so it stays in the GI tract and adds bulk to stools by drawing water into the intestines. This added bulk and water helps keep stools soft and bowel movements regular. Without fiber, constipation may be more likely.
Supplement With Organ Meats
Organ meats are a true superfood. They contain many of the vitamins and cofactors your body needs to get acclimated to the metabolic shifts of ketosis.
If youre not into taking the DIY approach to organ meats, Dr. Kiltzs grass-fed organ meat supplements provide high-powered nutrition sourced from grass-fed New Zealand beef.
Recommended Reading: What Does A Bloated Stomach Feel Like
Constipation With Low Carb Diet
The diet should not be a source of constant constipation with low carb diet. The ketogenic diet should be easy on the body and reduce the risk of dehydration. If your body is deprived of carbohydrates, it can suffer from constipation. This condition is common on many people and requires an appropriate solution. If you suffer from constipation, you should start by drinking enough water and avoiding processed foods.
Another way to deal with constipation is to avoid nuts. They contain fiber and omega-6 fatty acids, but they are rich in fats. Eggs are high in protein and can be an option if youre avoiding nuts. You can also add prepackaged keto convenience foods and butter coffee to your diet, which can help prevent constipation. These foods are high in fiber, and they can help bulk up your bowels so that you can pass waste more easily.
A lack of fibre is another reason for constipation on the keto diet. The ketogenic diet only requires about 50g of carbohydrates a day, which is too little for most people. Without these foods, constipation can be a major problem. Although most people will tolerate the low-carb Keto diet without any problems, some individuals may experience chronic constipation on this diet.
Q & A: Diet And Constipation
Q. If someone is constipated, does it matter when they eat?
A. There is not much research around this. But, we know the process of eating stimulates the digestive system end to end, so at least theoretically, keeping a regular daily meal schedule could support regular bowel movements.
Q. Are there particular diets that cause constipation?
A. The keto diet, with its high levels of fat, can definitely cause constipation. If you are on a ketogenic diet for health reasons and become constipated, work with a dietitian or doctor to balance your dietary needs with some low-carb fiber sources, such as leafy greens.
The BRAT diet bananas, rice, applesauce and toast is one we recommend for a range of digestive issues, and it can help with both constipation and diarrhea.
Intermittent fasting can have variable effects on bowel movement regularity since there are so many different schedules to choose from.
If you have questions about constipation and diet or any other aspect of nutrition and how it might affect your health, consult a clinical dietitian or a doctor.
Also Check: What Should A Person With Ibs Eat
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.
What Helps Constipation On Keto
Simple home remedies like eating low-carb high-fiber foods, ensuring proper hydration, moving more, holding off intermittent fasting, increasing your fat intake, and consuming keto treats with sugar alcohols will relieve constipation. If you havent started keto yet, consider doing it gradually to allow your digestive system to adjust and avoid constipation.
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if youre still not able to poop and feeling unusual symptoms youre not sure about.
You May Like: Can Plan B Give You Diarrhea
Balancing Your Fiber Intake
Eating the right amount of fiber and drinking enough fluids can make a huge difference on your digestive health. Current guidelines recommend 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, with special emphasis on soluble fiber.
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 food. You can also take fiber supplements like psyllium husk and methylcellulose.
Bile Function And Constipation
Bile acid is another vital digestive fluid. While stomach acid breaks down proteins, bile acid breaks down fats.
The keto diet, of course, contains lots of healthy fats. Bile is made in your liver and released by your gallbladder the complexity of its supply chain means it can take a while for supply to catch up to the increased demand.
Read Also: Does Black Tea Cause Constipation
Most Common Causes Of Keto Constipation
Keto diet constipation is likely caused by one or more of the following factors:
- Your gut bacteria are taking time to adapt to a fattier, lower-fiber diet
- Your stomach acidity hasnt yet acclimated to higher fat intake
- Your bile production is lagging behind increased bile demand
- Your body is having a hard time processing the extra protein
- Youve unwittingly begun eating an inflammatory food
- Youre chronically dehydrated
Treating The Keto Flu
The keto flu is a common cause of short-term constipation on a keto diet. But even if its short-lived, keto constipation can be very uncomfortable. Thats why you need to treat it, and the best way to treat it is by drinking enough fluids, taking electrolytes supplements, and getting plenty of rest.
You May Like: Have Had Heartburn For A Week