While the keto diet has gained rapid popularity over the past few years, some naysayers waver on one common issue: constipation. The keto diet, which promotes increased fat intake over carbohydrates, transitions your body into a ketogenic state where fat is used for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Essentially, that means you need to consume less than 50 grams of net carbs per day. By making this shift, many of us unintentionally eliminate some of the essential fiber in our diet which, in turn, leads to constipation.
You can combat constipation
While many of us are likely to throw in the towel at the first sign of discomfort, there are ways to fight constipation and stay keto. Bethany Doerfler, a registered dietician and clinical research specialist in the fields of weight and digestion says, “When you cut out carbs, it’s hard to consume 25 grams of fiber a day – the amount you need for healthy bowel functioning.”1 Hard…but not impossible. First, remember that the carbs you count on keto are net carbs, not total carbs–this means you subtract carbs from fiber and only include the sugary ones in your carb limits. Increasing your fiber intake won’t negatively impact your ability to get and stay in keto.
We often miss out on this vital element because we zealously eliminate fiber-rich grains and many fruits and vegetables. That’s not to say we don’t have options though. To avoid constipation and up your fiber intake on keto, make sure you eat a lot of fresh produce. This includes keto-approved options like broccoli, spinach, avocado, and cauliflower, among others.
Drink more & don’t forget the oils
Nope–sadly, we’re not talking about contraband here. One of the simplest ways to aid in digestion and ward off constipation on the keto diet is to up your water intake. Don’t just blindly follow the age-old “8 glasses a day” rule. A more updated and accurate guideline is to take your body weight, divide it in half, and consume that number of ounces per day. Your urine should be clear with a very slight yellow tinge; any darker, and you’re likely not getting enough water.
You’ll also want to watch the types of oils you consume on the keto diet. You’ve probably heard of medium-chain triglyceride oils, or MCTs, in conjunction with the keto. These oils are more easily absorbed and metabolized, giving you a leg up on beating those constipation blues. Do be aware, however, that MCTs have a natural laxative effect. You’ll want to watch your intake and start slowly if you want to avoid swinging from one side of the bowel movement spectrum to the other.
Need additional help?
Luckily, there are additional options if constipation is still causing you trouble. As a last home resort, magnesium can aid in relaxing your bowels, drawing water into your intestines. If you just need a push in the right direction (pun intended), this could be it.
Still nothing? Don’t be afraid to consult with a medical professional if your constipation is ongoing. Nutritionists, as well as doctors, can advise and assess your intake and point you in the right direction. Constipation is rarely an issue with a balanced keto diet, but it can occur if we get off-track.
The content on this website should not be taken as medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. We provide nutritional data for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. We use Total Keto Diet app software to calculate the nutrition and we remove fiber and sugar alcohols, like erythritol, from the total carbohydrate count to get to the net carb count, as they do not affect your blood glucose levels. You should independently calculate nutritional information on your own and not rely on our data. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. This website shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on the Website or actions you take as a result. Any action you take is strictly at your own risk.