Does Low Carb Diet Cause Constipation – Changing your diet can affect your stool. If you start a ketogenic diet, one of its possible side effects is constipation, as well as weight loss and keto flu (*).
Here’s everything you should know about keto constipation – why it happens when you’re on a low-carb diet, treatments, prevention tips, and when to seek professional help.
Does Low Carb Diet Cause Constipation
Constipation usually occurs in the first few days of keto and can last for weeks depending on how well your body adapts to this diet and your diet. Here are some reasons why you may experience constipation.
Common Low Carb Diet Mistakes To Avoid
That’s because fiber is found in starchy sources like whole grains, rice, pasta, potatoes, apples and bananas (*).
Dietary fiber adds bulk and softens your stool, making it easier to pass. A meta-analysis showed that fiber increases the frequency of stools, which makes it a common treatment for constipation (*).
That said, you might want to look at what top plant foods you’ve been cutting out of your diet lately.
Also remember that a low carb diet should not lack fiber. It’s important to make sure you get other sources of fiber that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Can A Low Carb Diet Cause Fibre Deficiency?
You may find that you lose a lot of water on keto at first, which can lead to dehydration (*).
Glycogen is a storage form of glucose, and every gram of glycogen is stored with at least 3 grams of water. Along with the rapid loss of water weight that occurs when you start this new diet, you will experience frequent urination (*).
Proper hydration is essential to ensure your body is hydrated enough to maintain normal bowel function (*).
This is especially important for those who are more susceptible to water loss such as athletes and people with active lifestyles (as a result of sweating), and older adults (* , *).
Strategies To Overcome Constipation On Keto
Research shows that maintaining physical activity – whether it’s exercise or not (such as yard work, standing, walking) – can promote bowel movements (*).
However, some people have low energy levels when they start keto due to the rapid depletion of carbohydrates. Keto flu symptoms such as headaches, nausea and irritability may also make you feel more tired than usual.
Especially when combined with factors such as low fiber intake and dehydration, lack of exercise can be a reason not to go keto.
If constipation persists for several weeks, you may want to consider other causes. In that case, you should see a doctor for further evaluation and medical advice.
Keto And Menopause: Can A Low Carb Diet Help?
While you wait for your digestive system to adjust to your new diet (which it eventually will), try these strategies for keto constipation at home.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot break down during digestion. It is good not only for making you full with fewer calories, but also for gut health.
As a keto-constipation remedy, dietary fiber adds bulk to your stool, softens it, and bulks up your stool (*).
In addition to relieving constipation, prebiotics (a type of fiber) serve as food for your good gut bacteria. Cultivating beneficial bacteria can boost your immune system and also help you lose weight (*).
Foods To Avoid (or Limit) On A Low Carb Diet
Examples of low-carb vegetables with prebiotics include asparagus, mushrooms, cabbage, snow peas, onions and garlic. There are many keto recipes to try these options.
You can also sauté your meat or vegetables with garlic, onion or both to get natural fiber, in addition to adding flavor to your meals.
Tip: Stick to low-carb vegetables when you start the keto diet. Plant-based options generally help with constipation, but starchy vegetables can spike your blood sugar levels, pulling you out of ketosis.
Sugar alcohols, also called polyols, are often used to flavor keto foods and drinks. You’ll also find them in many keto-friendly products like protein bars, chocolate, and cookies.
Effects Of Rice Based And Wheat Based Diets On Bowel Movements In Young Korean Women With Functional Constipation
Examples of polyols are sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol and xylitol (*). Although these are low in calories and unlikely to cause a spike in blood glucose (making them an excellent choice for weight loss and blood sugar control) – they can cause diarrhea when consumed in large quantities (* , *).
Due to the laxative effect, sugar alcohols can be used as a solution to constipation. In that case, you can benefit from eating keto desserts laced with sugar and sugar alcohol.
However, if you have a FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) intolerance, it is better to avoid sugar alcohols, except for erythritol. This is to avoid aggravation of digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation and flatulence (*).
Drinking more water can reduce symptoms of ketosis such as headaches, nausea, fatigue and constipation caused by dehydration (* , *, *).
Fiber And Colon Health On A Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet: New Insights Question Its Role As An Unconditional Requirement
A clinical trial conducted on 117 patients showed that increasing water intake to 1.5-2.0 liters per day along with eating high fiber foods, increases bowel movements in those with chronic constipation (*).
If you’re not sure if you need to drink more water, check the color of your urine. It should not be colored with lemon (or light leaves) for color if you have a lot of water. However, if it is dark yellow, then it is a good idea to drink up to (*).
Like a high fat diet, you should eat more fat on keto. Dietary fat will serve as your energy source, and healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids reduce your risk of disease (* , *).
However, you may not be eating enough fat, especially if you’re just starting the keto diet. Eating more fat can reduce constipation because fat stimulates the release of bile to aid digestion, and bile is a natural laxative (*).
Good Foods To Relieve Constipation
Choose healthy fats such as coconut oil, butter, animal fats (bacon, lard, tallow), lard, olive oil and avocado oil.
You may also have heard of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which are often used as a fuel or supplement to reduce keto symptoms, increase ketosis and reduce weight (* , *). Consider mixing MCT oil, butter and brewed coffee to make Bulletproof coffee.
Intermittent fasting (IF) involves cycling between eating and fasting. For example, fasting for 16 hours and eating your meals in the remaining 8 hour window.
Fasting is done to achieve physical and mental benefits, including weight loss, improved memory and heart health (*). Check out this guide to learn more about intermittent fasting for beginners.
What Causes Constipation?
Although a popular exercise in the keto diet community (because it increases ketosis and results), the downside is that it can cause constipation (*). Possible causes include lack of fiber intake during the eating window and not getting enough water during the day.
If you are already doing IF and are constipated, you may want to stop fasting until your bowels start again.
Research suggests that reducing sedentary behavior can help reduce constipation (*). In other words, simply moving more allows food to pass through your digestive system more efficiently.
There are many exercises you can do while on the keto diet, such as light cardio (cycling, swimming, hiking), resistance training and flexibility (yoga or pilates).
Ways Low Carb Diets Like Keto Can Change Your Poop (and When To Worry)
One helpful tip would be to take a short walk after each meal. In addition to improving digestion, walking after eating suppresses hyperglycemia to control blood sugar and promote weight loss (*).
Using the strategies discussed earlier, such as increasing sources of low-carb fiber, staying hydrated, increasing dietary fat, and exercise can prevent constipation.
Another way is to do a keto diet step by step. Some people cut carbs too much to get into ketosis, but you can take the slower route. While this won’t cause immediate ketosis, it will give your digestive system more time to adjust to your new diet.
Chronic constipation can cause abdominal pain, bloating and complications such as hemorrhoids, stool and rectal dilatation, especially if it lasts for weeks (*). Be sure to see your doctor. A health professional may recommend a fiber supplement or a laxative that does not contain carbohydrates.
Keto Diet And Heart Health: Facts, Risks, Foods To Avoid
Your doctor may also investigate other causes of constipation unrelated to the keto diet, such as medications you are currently taking (if any) or medical conditions (*).
Yes, switching to a keto diet can cause constipation, especially if most of your fiber sources are high in carbohydrates, such as whole grains and starchy vegetables. Keto is a very low carb way of eating. That’s why you should look for alternative sources of fiber that won’t knock you out of ketosis.
Keto-constipation can also be caused by dehydration (due to glycogen depletion and water retention) and lack of physical activity.
Constipation is one of the things that can happen when you are in ketosis as a result of your dietary changes. However, constipation should not be your basis for monitoring ketosis. The best way is to test for elevated ketone levels in urine, breath or blood.
Keto And Digestion: Everything You Need To Know
Simple home remedies such as eating a low-carb diet, ensuring adequate hydration, moving more, avoiding intermittent fasting, increasing your fat intake, and eating keto and sugar alcohols will relieve constipation. If you haven’t started keto yet, consider doing it gradually to allow your digestive system to adjust and avoid constipation.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you still cannot pass stools and feel unusual symptoms that you are not sure about.
As a general rule, a normal stool comes out once a day to
Can low carb diet cause constipation, low fat diet cause constipation, does keto diet cause constipation, does a low carb diet cause constipation, does low carb cause constipation, low carb diet constipation cure, does a low fat diet cause constipation, low carb diet and constipation, does diet soda cause constipation, can a low carb diet cause constipation, low carb diet constipation, low carb diet constipation weight gain