- Diarrhea Causes
- Constipation Causes
Even though keto diet gives you some great benefits, such as weight loss, mental clarity and higher energy levels, it also has some downsides. When you go on the ketogenic diet, the sudden changes to your diet can affect your gastrointestinal (GI) system. Some people say they get constipation on keto while others claim that they have keto diarrhea.
It seems like the same diet has two completely different side effects on your poop. In this article I will explain how keto diet affects your GI system and what leads to keto diarrhea and constipation. You will also find some scientifically proven tips on how to make yourself poop normally when you’re on Keto.
Diarrhea on Keto – Why it Happens?
Diarrhea on keto is not uncommon and it happens to many people. If you’re one of them, most likely you are making one of the three most common errors that lead to keto diarrhea:
Eating too much protein
If you turned your diet into low carb AND low fat, most likely you’re eating a lot more protein than the ketogenic diet suggests. If you highly increase your protein intake without increasing your fat intake it could lead to diarrhea on keto.
As you probably know, keto is all about the high-fat. So, you should keep you protein intake moderate. Protein should cover 20 percent of your daily foods and fat should be around 75 percent. Not the other way around.
Wrong source of dietary fats
While most vegetable oils are good for our diets, consuming too much of some could lead to diarrhea on keto. In general our bodies have limited tolerance for seed and vegetable oils that are high omega-6 / polyunsaturated fats. That’s why most people who get keto diarrhea, often lead a diet rich in sunflower oil, corn, soybeans. These products are rich in omega-6 fats and that can be the cause of diarrhea.
That’s why it is better to choose foods that are rich in saturated and monounsaturated fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter and cream.
Too much sugar alcohols
If you’re a person that has a sweet-tooth, probably when you started keto, you had to switch from all sugar to sugar free. Many artificial sweeteners, also known as sugar alcohols can be the reason behind the keto diarrhea. Such sweeteners include xylitol, mannitol, maltitol and similar.
Consuming products with too many sugar alcohols can lead to diarrhea on keto. So, you should lower down your sweeteners intake and better focus on substituting your sweet tooth needs with keto friendly berries and fruit.
Keto Diarrhea – How to Deal with it?
If you suffer from keto diarrhea, in order to get rid of it, you should eliminate the cause behind it. But first things first – you need to keep yourself hydrated. If you have diarrhea on keto you have to drink plenty of fluids such as water to keep you hydrated and avoid drinks like coffee as it causes liquids to leave your body.
If your diarrhea on keto is caused by not eating enough fats and feasting on protein, you should adjust your diet. Keep in mind that keto is all about high fat and low carb. Not low carb, low fat and high protein. So, be sure that 70-80 percent of your calories come from consuming fat and only 10-20 are form protein.
If your keto diarrhea is caused by eating the wrong kind of fats, you should switch to another source of fat. The most common reason, as mentioned before is consuming a lo of fat that is rich in omega-6 oils, such as sunflower oil. Instead you should focus on eating more avocados, broccoli, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter and palm oil.
If you have a sweet tooth and your keto diarrhea is caused by switching from sweets to treats full of artificial sweeteners – you should reduce the amounts you eat. The best choice is to substitute for keto friendly berries and fruit to regulate your cravings. However, be sure to calculate your carbs as berries and fruit have them.
How Long Does Keto Diarrhea Last?
In general, keto diarrhea should last as long as there is a cause for that. So if you want to get rid of your diarrhea on keto, you should eliminate the cause.
In general, when you get rid of the reason behind your keto diarrhea, your digestive system should go back to normal within a couple of days. If it doesn’t help and your digestive system doesn’t go back to normal, you should consult with a physician in order to avoid any possible side effects that can be caused by the diarrhea.
Keto and Diarrhea – TL; DR
Diarrhea on keto diet is not that uncommon. However in most cases there are three main reasons that lead to it. It’s either too little fat in your diet with too much protein, consuming too many sugar alcohols or using too many omega-6 oils in your diet.
In general, once you get rid of the reasons behind your keto diarrhea, yor digestive syste should go back to normal within a couple of days. If you want to prevent keto diarrhea form happening – be sure to follow a balanced diet.
Keto Diarrhea and Constipation
As you can see there are various reasons that lead to keto diarrhea. However, there is another side effect of the keto diet – it’s constipation on keto. Keto constipation is caused by different reasons than diarrhea, so let’s see why it happens and how to deal with it.
Why Does Keto Constipation Happen?
Even though keto has many health benefits it also has some downsides. Just like keto diarrhea, constipation on keto is temporary, so it mostly causes discomfort. Here are some of the main reasons why keto constipation happens:
Your Body is Adjusting
Let’s be honest, us, Americans enjoy eating foods that are rich in carbohydrates. That’s why going on keto for most means drastic changes in the daily food menu.
Your body is capable to digest three macronutrients: carbs, fat and protein. If you quickly cut back on anyone of those, it causes your body stress. So, if you were used to a diet that’s rich in carbohydrates, going one keto may have caused a lot of stress for your body.
If you are just starting keto and experience keto constipation, it most likely means that your body is still adjusting to the new diet. Or to put it in other words, it’s getting used to digesting more fat than carbs.
You Need More Fiber
Even though now your diet consists of only 5% carbohydrates, you should still be mindful about which ones you choose.
In order for your GI tract to function normally, it requires fiber. That is why, if you choose the carbs that are low in fiber (bread, sweets, etc.) most likely your body lacks fiber. Lacking fiber can lead to constipation on keto.
To be sure that your body has enough fiber, you should choose high-fiber carbs. Such can be found in various fruit and whole grains.
How to Deal With Constipation on Keto?
Even though the biggest downside to keto constipation is the lack of comfort, you shouldn’t let it continue for too long. Since there are various reasons that lead to constipation on keto, it’s important to understand the cause and eliminate it. Here are some tips that should help you deal with keto constipation:
Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods
Eating more fiber-rich foods can have a huge positive impact on your digestive system. Overall, it is recommended to get a least 25-30 grams of fiber on a daily basis.
To get your daily fiber recommendations, you should focus on eating foods like broccoli, avocado, celery, flax-seed and almonds. If you prefer to get your fiber by taking supplements, you can try psyllium husk.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
As you probably know, you should drink at least 1,5 – 2 liters of water per day. Not drinking enough fluids could lead to constipation on keto.
You can also get a lot of healthy liquids from foods, such as soup, smoothies and vegetables. Keep in mind that vegetables are also a great source of fiber. If you feel that hydration might be the problem for you, you should keep yourself away from coffee and alcohol. These liquids lead to dehydration.
Inactivity can lead to reduced blood flow to your GI. That is one f the reasons why many adults constantly suffer from constipation. Especially those, who work a sedentary job.
In order to avoid keto constipation from inactivity – you should become more physically active. The easiest way to do that is incorporating as much walking in your daily routine as possible. Let’s say taking the stairs instead of an elevator, walking to the bus stop instead of getting a taxi and similar.
If you made big changes to your diet menu and incorporated new products – you should review them. Since keto diet usually means big changes – it most likely means new products.
There are many potential allergens out there that could be affecting you. Let’s take cow milk as an example. Since many people have low tolerance for lactose, drinking cow milk can lead to inflammation and constipation.
That’s why it is important to review the products that you’ve newly added to your diet list as they might be the reason that causes you constipation on keto. Similar reasons can also lead to keto diarrhea.
How Long Does Keto Constipation Last?
In general, you shouldn’t worry as keto constipation lasts around a couple of days for most. However, there are people who suffer from it for a round a couple of weeks and that causes major discomfort.
If you find yourself in a lot of discomfort and worried about your syptoms, you should consult with a physician as severe and long constipation can lead to various complications including abdominal pain and hemorrhoids.
How to Prevent Constipation?
Since keto constipation became a frequent side effect, people started searching for various ways to prevent it from happening. In order to avoid constipation on keto you can try the following:
- Lower your carbohydrate intake step by step. This way your body won’t feel the unnecessary stress and it may help you avoid constipation. So, at the very beginning you can keep your carbohydrate intake around 50g per day and lower it down step by step. Even though this way you may avoid keto constipation, it could result in reaching ketosis at a lower pace.
- Keep yourself hydrated and eat whole foods. As mentioned before, dehydration of your body affects your GI system and can lead to constipation. Also, eating whole foods that are rich in nutrients and fiber help keep your digestive system healthy. Eating many processed foods can have a negative impact on your GI system. In most cases they have very little nutritional value.
Keto and Constipation – TL; DR
Constipation on keto is not an uncommon side effect and actually happens to many just like keto diarrhea. Overall, it should pass in a couple of days as it’s mostly your body responding to the dietary changes. However, some people suffer from it for up to couple of weeks.
In order to treat and prevent the keto constipation, you should eat fiber-rich foods, drink plenty of water, keep yourself active and make sure that there are no allergens in your food that can lead to keto constipation.