Keto Constipation And Ways To Avoid It
Keto Constipation And Ways To Avoid It
The ketogenic diet can help you lose weight, improve your mental clarity, and boost your energy levels. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. The keto diet can also sometimes lead to uncomfortable side effects, and keto constipation seems to be a fairly common one.
When you start a new way of eating, it’s quite common to experience some irregularity in terms of bowel movement, after all, your body was used to different types of food, and now needs time to adapt. The path to overcoming constipation on keto is usually a matter of changing a few small things you do on a daily basis.
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.
Decreased food intake. 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.
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, you’ll notice that you pee more than usual, so you need to make sure you’re 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 you’re 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 keto’s diuretic effect, your kidneys are excreting them at a higher rate than usual. This means that you need to make sure you’re replenishing them, as insufficient sodium and/or potassium might result in weakness, dizziness, headaches, elevated blood pressure, and constipation.
Stay active. One of the most common causes of chronic constipation in adults is inactivity. Inactivity reduces blood flow to your GI tract slowing down digestion. Physical activity, on the other hand, stimulates the digestive tract.
Keto constipation can be a common problem for keto dieters. Luckily, it's easy to avoid and treat once you get to the root cause. From eating too little fiber to lack of physical activity and dehydration, there are many causes of keto constipation. Finding out which one is the culprit in your particular case will help you address keto constipation successfully.
If you've tried everything and nothing seems to help, you may need to ask your doctor for help. Constipation lasting longer than a week likely won't resolve on its own. Besides that, it puts you at risk of complications.
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