Starting your ketogenic diet journey can cause your digestive tract to do some pretty weird things. As your body adjusts to this new way of eating, prepare to deal with some changes to your digestion – including stomach upset, diarrhea, and constipation.
Digestive Changes on Keto
Sure, it’s not fun to talk about, but it’s also important to know that digestive issues are common when starting a keto diet. Most importantly, they do not persist for extended periods of time. Typically starting as soon as you enter ketosis, digestive upset isn’t pleasant to deal with but can be lessened or avoided altogether.
Gross, right? While not a pretty subject, diarrhea in the first few days of ketosis is a really common problem. There are several theories for why diarrhea kicks off a low-carb, high-fat diet – including a die-off of candida yeast, electrolyte imbalance, and the body’s natural response to the presence of ketones.
Regardless why you’re suddenly running to the bathroom more often than normal, it’s possible to reduce your symptoms or make this time a little less uncomfortable. Implementing the following changes can help to get you back on track quickly.
- Increase your electrolyte consumption
- Add fermented foods to your diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Increase your fiber intake
- If you’re taking MCT Oil, stop for a while
- Cut out artificial sweeteners
Stomach Pain / Gas
If you’re experiencing stomach pain, excess gas, or cramping, the likely culprit is dehydration. The very process of being in ketosis requires the body to use more water than normal in order to convert fat into energy. Dehydration is a common concern on a keto diet, which is why drinking plenty of water is a rule we hear over and over again. Additionally, some of the foods used in a ketogenic diet can cause stomach upset and discomfort.
Similar to the recommendations listed above for easing diarrhea, removing artificial sweeteners, drinking plenty of water, and adding fermented foods to your diet can help stomach upset and gas. You can also try taking a keto-approved probiotic supplement and, possibly, adding more fats to your diet.
You’ve given up most carbohydrates and, with them, a good bit of the fiber you used to consume. With that said, it’s clear to see why you might be having trouble going to the bathroom. Fiber moves through the digestive tract and keeps all the waste moving along with it. If you’re having trouble with constipation, you’ll want to add more high fiber foods to your diet – like spinach, kale, high fiber berries, and nuts – and drink plenty of water.
With these helpful tips, your digestive tract might find it easier to navigate the first few days of ketosis. Most importantly, take it easy and don’t stress too much. This strange period of adjustment will pass and your body will get used to functioning in ketosis soon.
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.
- Scottish Government: ‘Obesity Will Be One Of The Great Public Health Challenges Of Our Time’ - September 5, 2018
- Virta Health’s Use of Telemedicine to Treat Diabetics with Keto - September 3, 2018
- New MyProtein Nutrition Bar Disrupts Nutrition Standards - May 24, 2018
Know that stomach pain may not only be electrolyte or dehydration related. It could be any number of conditions and medical intervention is highly recommended to diagnosIs and treat the specific condition. Possibilities are referred pain from another organ. Obstruction or adhesion. Diverticulitis /diverticilosis. Foods high in FODMAP; short chain carbohydrates that, if poorly digested, ferment in the bowel to cause severe digestive stress.Essentially causing an Irritable Bowel Syndrome that takes time and medical care to overcome. May foods low in FODMAPS are also keto friendly.
Oh man. Been trying to figure out why I’ve been having stomach pains. Followed your advice, drank a bottle of water, ate a bowl of broccoli, and now I feel better. Thanks!
Ha! Great to hear 🙂
Thanks for sharing the tips for reducing digestive issues for keto diet!