Keto Diarrhea: How Keto Can Upset Your Stomach | Healthystripe
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Keto Diarrhea: How Keto Can Upset Your Stomach

Written By: Lakshmi Jaisimha
11 September 2023

The keto diet is quite simple in definition: it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet wherein you take moderate amounts of protein. 

A ketogenic diet helps your body reach the state of ketosis. What’s that, you ask?
Well, during ketosis, the body starts burning fat cells for energy because of the scarcity of glucose stores it usually depends on. Why? Because of the lack of carbs (responsible for creating glucose) in the diet.

As your body starts burning fat for energy, you get to lose that stubborn extra weight, improve your immunity, and also your heart and brain health.

However, Ketosis can bring with it many terrible side effects, especially for your stomach to bear. 

We will talk about one of the most annoying of these conditions – keto diarrhea – in this article today. 

Stay tuned till the end, as we will also share a splendid list of home remedies that will help you find relief in no time.

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Understanding Keto Diarrhea

There exists a relationship between keto and diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common side effect of the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that puts the body into a state of ketosis, in which it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Lack of fibre in the ketogenic diet is the prominent reason for diarrhea keto. Another factor that contributes to keto diarrhea is the sudden change in diet. Switching from a diet high in carbohydrates to one high in fat can cause digestive problems. Additionally, the high-fat content in the ketogenic diet stimulate the production of bile, which acts as a laxative and can lead to diarrhea.

To prevent keto diarrhea, it is recommended to gradually transition to the ketogenic diet, incorporate high-fiber foods, stay hydrated, consume moderate amounts of fat, and take probiotics to support gut health.

Can A Ketogenic diet Cause Diarrhea?

Yes, following a keto diet plan can cause diarrhea. But, you should know, it’s not just the diet but the process of Ketosis that causes the real trouble. 

So, even drinking ketones can make you poop, whether or not you follow the diet as ketone drinks can also help your body attain ketosis.

Difference between Keto Diarrhea and Regular Diarrhea?

Keto diarrhea and regular diarrhea are two different types of diarrhea that have distinct causes and symptoms. While keto diarrhea is a side effect of following a ketogenic diet is a type of diarrhea caused by several factors, including a lack of fibre in the diet, changes in the gut microbiome, rapid changes in diet, increased fat intake, and dehydration. regular diarrhea is viral or bacterial infections, food intolerances or allergies, and medications.

Though the symptoms of keto diarrhea are milder in comparison to regular diarrhea however it includes loose stools, abdominal discomfort, bloating, and gas and it typically resolves within a few days as the body adapts to the new diet.

The symptoms of regular diarrhea are similar to keto diarrhea, however, regular diarrhea can be more severe and long-lasting, and it may require medical treatment to resolve.

Although diarrhea keto or regular, both having similar symptoms differ in their severity, duration, and underlying causes.

Why Does Keto Diet Cause Diarrhea?

When asked for his views on Diarrhea on Keto, Dr. Eric Berg, a specialist in Keto, said that there are primarily two reasons for this to happen:

  • Your body isn’t used to digesting a large amount of fat.

Some people are simply not used to metabolizing the amount of fat included in the ketogenic diet due to the amount of work required by the body to metabolize it. Unlike easy carbs, fats can take time and energy.

That’s why, sometimes the body isn’t capable of completing the breakdown. That’s when undigested fat can enter your small intestines and colon. When this happens, additional water is drawn in to aid its passage through stool, resulting in watery diarrhea. 

Watery diarrhea can lead to water loss and cause an electrolyte imbalance. And that can further increase your chances of diarrhea.

Also, saturated fat increases bile production in the body, which acts as a lubricant in the colon. Thus, inducing more frequent bowel movements.

  • Your body isn’t used to digesting the vegetables in the ketogenic diet plan.

Our gut microbiome plays an integral role in all aspects of our health, a major one of which is digestion. 

You see, the gut microbiome is a collection of microorganisms in your digestive tract. And as we make our body get used to the diet we consume, the microbiome also gets developed.

However, when suddenly the diet is changed – as when you start the keto diet – the gut reacts, and one way of doing that is keto diarrhea.

A keto diet excludes most vegetables that have extensive amounts of carbs in them. The alternatives may have certain compounds that can overwhelm the microbes in your small intestine. Thus, causing problems with digestion. 

Therefore, some of the vegetables you should avoid, at least, when you are trying Keto for the very first time, include onion, beetroot, garlic, cabbage, artichoke, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, mushroom, and fennel.

Keto Constipation/Diarrhea Symptoms

You can consider keto flu symptoms as signs of diarrhea caused by keto diet because they usually happen together.

So, some symptoms you should look out for are:

Does Keto Diarrhea Go Away? How Long Does It Last?

Yes, it does go away. 

A study asking participants to report their keto flu symptoms found that the number of symptom reports was high in the first week. But it decreased dramatically after four weeks.

[penci_blockquote style=”style-3″ align=”none” author=””]That’s right! Keto diarrhea does not lasts more than 4 weeks to cure.[/penci_blockquote]

That’s because the body eventually adapts to the high fat, low carb diet as it maintains itself at Ketosis.

But you don’t need to wait that long to find relief. Read on to know how you can help the body adapt to the keto diet, and prevent keto diarrhea with home remedies within a couple of days.

Can Keto Diarrhea lead to Dehydration?

Yes, keto diarrhea can lead to dehydration if not managed properly. It causes excessive fluid loss and water level imbalance, leading to dehydration. The ketogenic diet can increase the risk of dehydration because it decreases water retention in the body. Additionally, the lack of fiber in the diet can make it difficult for the body to absorb water, leading to more fluid loss during diarrhea.

4 Keto Diarrhea Remedies 

A diarrhea caused by keto can be treated in less than a week if you commit to the following remedies:

  • Cut back on saturated fat, especially in liquid form, like MCT oils, coconut oil, etc. Once the diarrhea is gone, you can slowly add fats to the diet and increase as you go when your gut can handle it.
  • Avoid veggies that may not get easily digested by your body.
  • You can consume safe vegetables like bean sprouts, bell peppers, zucchini, tomato, lettuce, and cucumber.
  • Consume electrolyte drinks or foods that won’t get your body out of Ketosis. Consuming electrolytes on a keto diet is essential because, with water lost thanks to diarrhea or other keto flu symptoms, your body may experience fluid and electrolyte imbalance.

Prevention Strategies for Keto Diarrhea

There are several strategies individuals can follow to prevent keto diarrhea, or manage it if it occurs:

  1. Gradual Transition: Gradually transitioning to a ketogenic diet can help prevent keto diarrhea. Start by reducing carbohydrate intake over several days or weeks to allow the body to adjust to the new diet.
  2. Adequate Fiber Intake: Incorporating high-fiber foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, and low-carbohydrate fruits can help regulate bowel movements and prevent keto diarrhea. 
  3. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal tea, and broths, can help prevent dehydration and promote digestive health.
  4. Monitor Electrolyte Balance: Diarrhea on ketogenic diet can affect electrolyte balance. Consuming electrolyte-rich foods can help maintain electrolyte balance in the body.

Treatment Options

Here are some treatment options for keto diarrhea:

  1. Increase Fluid Intake: Drinking plenty of fluids such as water, herbal tea, and broths can help prevent dehydration caused by keto diarrhea.
  2. Monitor and Intake electrolytic food: Consuming electrolyte-rich foods or supplements can help restore electrolyte balance in the body.
  3. Probiotics: Taking probiotics can help support gut health and reduce the risk of keto diarrhea. 
  4. Fiber Supplementation: If the lack of fiber in the diet is causing keto diarrhea, supplementing with fiber such as psyllium husk or acacia fiber can help regulate bowel movements.

The Final Word

Ketosis can cause diarrhea, but it’s not something that will trouble you for long. All you need to do is make sure you follow the right keto diet plan that suits your gut. 

Follow the remedies we have shared and maintain proper hydration. Make sure to ease into ketosis, instead of overloading your body with the food it doesn’t know how to digest, suddenly all at once. Doing this will help you prevent and treat keto diarrhea pronto!

Keto Diarrhea Related FAQs

How can I manage diarrhea on the keto diet?

Managing diarrhea on the keto diet involves a gradual transition to the diet, adequate fiber intake, staying hydrated, moderate fat intake, probiotics, and monitoring electrolyte balance. It’s important to consult a healthcare provider if diarrhea persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.

Is it normal to have diarrhea when starting the keto diet?

It is common to experience diarrhea when starting the keto diet. This is because the body is adjusting to a new way of eating, with a lower intake of carbohydrates and a higher intake of fat. The diarrhea usually resolves on its own within a few days to a week.

What should I do if I experience digestive issues on the keto diet?

If you experience digestive issues on the keto diet, such as diarrhea, it is recommended to start by gradually transitioning to the diet, increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, and monitoring electrolyte balance.

Should I change my diet if I experience keto diarrhea?

If you experience keto diarrhea, it may be helpful to adjust your diet by increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, and monitoring electrolyte balance. It is not necessary to change your diet completely, but rather to make adjustments that support digestive health while following the ketogenic diet.

What are the risks of the keto diet?

The risks of the keto diet may include nutrient deficiencies, kidney stones, liver problems, and electrolyte imbalances. Additionally, some people may experience side effects such as fatigue, constipation, and diarrhea. It is important to consult a healthcare provider before starting the diet to evaluate the potential risks and benefits for your individual health.

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