One of the most common diet trends in North Vancouver is still the ketogenic, or keto diet. This is primarily because some clinical research suggests that it might aid in weight loss and health improvement.

A high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein eating pattern characterizes the keto diet. This diet causes a condition known as ketosis.

When you're in ketosis, your body uses fat as fuel rather than glucose, which is typically derived from carbohydrates. The keto diet may help in weight loss but also has potential drawbacks. The gastrointestinal tract's reaction to the lack of carbohydrates is the cause of many of these side effects.

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Constipation is one of these negative effects. This indicates that you experience no more than three bowel movements every week. Your stools may also be hard, lumpy, and challenging to pass if you have constipation.

What causes this to occur? Please continue reading to learn what contributes to keto diet constipation and how to avoid it.

Why does the keto diet cause constipation?

Why does your gastrointestinal tract react to this high-fat, low-carb diet if the keto diet is supposed to improve your health? The following are some of the primary causes of constipation when on the keto diet:

1. Adjusting to more fat and fewer carbs

Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are the three macronutrients that our bodies are built to digest. All three are critical to health. However, when you follow the ketogenic diet, you consume far fewer carbohydrates.

Transitioning to this low-carb way of eating can result in digestive problems like constipation because fruits and whole grains are some of the most popular sources of fiber in the diet. Additionally, some people can find it hard to adjust to the diet's extremely high-fat content, which can also lead to gastrointestinal upset.

2. Inadequate fiber

On the keto diet, you usually consume 20 to 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates daily. This is far less than the 225 to 325 g of carbohydrates per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet that the Dietary Guidelines advise.

Getting adequate fiber in the diet might be difficult because higher-carb, fiber-rich foods like fruits, whole grains, and starchy vegetables are off-limits or severely restricted for those following a ketogenic diet.

Fiber is necessary for maintaining healthy bowel movements. If a person following a keto diet is not consuming enough fiber from keto-friendly foods like nonstarchy vegetables, they may experience digestive issues like constipation.

3. Not consuming enough low-carbohydrate, high-fiber foods

The goal is to make sure you're consuming the appropriate kind of carbs, even though just 5 to 10% of the food you eat on the keto diet contains them.
It’s best to aim for nutritious, high-fiber, keto-friendly foods like:

  • nonstarchy vegetables
  • nuts
  • flax or chia seeds
  • limited amounts of berries

How to treat constipation

Constipation over the long term might result in issues such anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and abdominal pain. That’s why you do not want it to go unchecked for too long.

Your constipation may only last a few days to a few weeks if you're new to the keto diet. Your constipation may improve when your body gets used to digesting more fats and fewer carbohydrates.

Try one of these home treatments if constipation is still a problem for you:

  • Drink more water.
  • Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and broccoli.
  • After meals, go for a quick walk.
  • Try bowel training, a method where you pass stools at the same time every day.

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If you need help with your diet or health and weight loss goals, call us at 604-360-1922 or set up an appointment with our Registered Dietitian for personalized nutrition advice.

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