Keto is a healthy diet plan that contains low carb and high fat foods. Moreover, all of these keto foods are organic and nutrient dense.
These nutrients have multiple health benefits over hypertension, type 2 diabetes, healthy heart function, etc. However, there are some side effects that arise from the keto diet.
The most common one is an upset stomach on keto. Several disorders like gas, bloating, constipation, stomach pain, and diarrhea occur from this keto upset stomach issue.
Reasons & Solutions For Upset Stomach on Keto Diet
There are several reasons behind keto stomach issues. These are sudden diet habit change, excessive high fat consumption, fructan, and fructose intolerance, high FODMAP, fiber, and protein imbalance.
Excessive High Fat Consumption
A standard keto diet contains 60 to 80 percent of high fat foods. Excessive intake of high fat foods may unfavorable effects on the gut microbiota and are associated with an unhealthy metabolic state (1).
The gut microbiota plays an important role in nutrient metabolism, drug metabolism, maintenance of structural integrity of the gut mucosal barrier, immunomodulation, and protection against pathogens.
The imbalance of the normal gut microbiota may cause gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (2). Common symptoms of these stomach disorders are
- Stomach pain
Moreover, high fat keto foods rich in saturated fatty acids are directly related to constipation. According to studies more than daily 30 grams of saturated fat intake promotes constipation (3).
Reduction of excessive high fat foods especially foods rich in saturated fat may reduce the risk of stomach problems on a low carb diet.
Fructan, And Fructose Intolerance
Fructans are polysaccharides that contain short chains of fructose units and a terminal glucose molecule.
On the other hand, fructose is a carbon monosaccharide molecule that is naturally present in a variety of foods like foods and vegetables.
Both fructose and fructan intolerance may cause stomach problems (4).
The human body can only absorb 5 to 15 percent of fructan. Stomach problems like bloating and diarrhea are the most common side effect that arises from fructan intolerance.
Keto friendly vegetables like onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli are good sources of fructan. Excess intake of these foods may cause bloating and diarrhea because of fructan intolerance.
Moreover, humans have a limited absorptive capacity for fructose. Malabsorption of fructose increases water influx into the lumen which promotes abdominal pain, excessive gas and bloating.
Keto approved fruits like cherry, grape, tomato, and kiwifruit are high in fructose. Also, a high amount of fructans is found in some low carb vegetables i.e asparagus, broccoli, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, red pepper.
High consumption of these low carb foods may cause stomach disorders on keto. By controlling the intake of high fructan and fructose foods may help to get rid of keto stomach issues.
High FODMAP Keto Foods
Surplus intake of high FODMAP foods can cause stomach problems on a low carb lifestyle. Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols or FODMAP is a diet that our body absorbs slowly.
The common source of high FODMAP foods that are also keto are onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.
Gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation are the common stomach disorders arising from a high FODMAP diet.
However, a low FODMAP diet may significantly improve abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhoea especially in Irritable bowel syndrome patients(5).
Fiber & Protein Imbalance
Fiber and protein are essential macronutrients to maintain healthy gut function. Malnutrition of these two promotes stomach problems.
According to studies surplus consumption of high fiber foods increases bloating rate (6). Another study has shown that a high fiber diet may worsen the condition of patients suffering from chronic constipation by gas production (7).
Keto foods like seafood, egg, beef, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are high sources of protein. Furthermore, keto friendly organic foods like broccoli, berries, and avocadoes are a rich source of fiber.
Limited consumption of these foods can help to fight stomach problems on keto.