The Keto diet is a very popular diet throughout the globe. This healthy diet adds low carbs and high fat organic foods to your dish.
However, the nutrient dense keto diet is it may create some health problems for some people. The most common one is constipation.
But why does the keto diet cause constipation? Let’s check how does keto causes constipation and how to get rid of it.
How Does Keto Cause Constipation
Before going to the detailed analysis of the keto diet and constipation, let’s check some basic facts about the keto diet.
A standard keto diet asks to limit the daily carb intake to 30 grams per day. However, this is flexible and you can go up to 50 grams per day and no more than that.
As dietary fiber is not digested by our body majority of keto diet plans use net carbs formula. Net carbs are the carbs figure after deduction of dietary fiber from total carbs.
Nutrient imbalance especially reduced intake of dietary fiber is the major cause of keto constipation. Also, there are multiple other reasons behind this gastrointestinal issue.
The main reasons for nutrient imbalance on keto and other constipation factors are given below:
Surplus Intake of High Fat Keto Diet
To reach a quick ketosis state people tend to consume a lot of high fat keto foods. Excess intake of high fat foods is the major reason behind constipation on keto.
Furthermore, widely used keto foods like coconut bread, peanut butter are high in saturated fats. More than 30 gram intake of saturated fats boost constipation problems (2). Because of this, you may get affected by either coconut flour constipation or peanut butter constipation.
Less Fiber Intake
A little amount of dietary fiber intake on keto also causes constipation problems. The short chain fatty acid proceeded by fiber is essential for absorption (3).
Also, fiber increases the bulk of the stool and softens it which maintains a smooth bowel movement. Insufficient intake of fiber rich foods prevents these useful functions which halt smooth bowel movement and causes constipation.
Insufficient Protein Consumption
Protein has a beneficial effect on normal gut function. It helps to aid in improved gut microbiota function (4).
Because of this insufficient consumption of protein may cause gastrointestinal problems especially keto constipation and bloating.
Less Water Intake
Consumption of high fiber foods without adequate water or fluid intake causes bowel problems. Which causes constipation in long term.
It is a very common problem for keto lovers. They often ignore maintaining a proper water intake level which is another reason behind constipation with a low carb diet.
Other Causes Not Directly Related to Keto Diet
There are some other causes that promote constipation. However, these are not directly related to the keto diet.
High Fiber Intake(Applicable for Chronic Constipation Patients): High fiber intake is not always beneficial to fight constipation. If you are suffering from chronic constipation, a high fiber diet may worsen your condition because of gas production (5).
Less Physical Activity: Minimal weekly exercises are a constipation-promoting fact, especially for women. According to studies women with physical activity less than once weekly are more prone to constipation (6).
Some other constipation causes indirectly related to the keto diet are (7):
- Anxiety & depression
- Pregnancy(especially in the last months)
- Age(more often seen in elderly women)
- Some medications
How to Treat(Keto Constipation Remedy)
To get rid of constipation on ketosis diet you should follow some tips. These will help you to achieve keto constipation relief within a short time.
Water: Excess consumption of water is the best keto constipation remedy. Dehydration during intake of a high fiber keto diet is a regular reason for constipation. By drinking surplus water this issue can be undone.
Maintaining Nutrient Balance: Regular keto constipation normally occurs due to nutrient imbalance. The three major causes of nutrient imbalance are excessive intake of high fat foods especially saturated fat rich foods, less protein, and fiber consumption.
To get rid of nutrient imbalance related constipation on keto you should follow the below-mentioned steps:
- Reduce intake of saturated fat rich ketogenic foods like coconut products and peanut butter
- Add more high fiber and protein foods like keto nuts and seeds, and the best vegetables for keto
Additional Steps to Follow: You can follow some additional steps to get rid of low carb constipation problems. These are:
Walking and doing free hand exercises
- Learn bowel training
- Use laxatives
How Long Does Keto Constipation Last?
Constipation on keto is not very serious. The most common type of keto constipation which occurs due to excess intake of high fat foods lasts for 5-6 days.
However, if keto constipation occurs due to nutrient imbalance or insufficient water consumption, then the bowel passing problem can be cured within 3-4 days.
What Helps Constipation on Keto Diet?
Reduction of high fat foods especially saturated at rich foods consumption helps to relieve constipation on the keto diet. Moreover, maintaining nutrient balance and a lot of water consumption may help to fight constipation.
The best way to deal with constipation is the intake of a diet rich in fiber (25–30 g/day) with more than two liters of water per day (8).
Keto Smoothie for Constipation
The best keto smoothie for constipation is the chia avocado smoothie. This low carb smoothie contains only 3 ingredients i.e. 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 piece sliced avocado, 3 pieces of blueberries.
To make this keto friendly constipation smoothie blend all three ingredients for 2-3 minutes until it becomes liquid. You should consume this smoothie half hour before going to poop for the best effect.
Magnesium for Keto Constipation
Moreover, magnesium sulfate-rich natural mineral waters can improve stool consistency and the number of bowel movements. It is a great laxative to conquer functional constipation.
Furthermore, daily consumption of magnesium supplements can reduce depression levels (11). As depression is another cause of constipation, magnesium supplements can indirectly aid in depression relief.
However, before using any of these supplements for keto constipation cure you should consult with a physician.