Keto can give you the runs and give you what is called keto diarrhea.
We'll go over what makes that happen, the side effects, and how to make choices to keep it to a minimum.
In this report, I want to explain how diarrhea happens when you start the keto diet, and ways you can get back to normal bathroom habits.
If you look at that diagram above, it sort of explains it all. When you start a keto diet, you increase your fat and protein intake (that's why it is one of the best “diets” to follow, since you never get hungry). Diarrhea is one of the many keto questions new keto'ers ask us.
Keto Bowel Movements, Ketones and Carbs
Another thing that will definitely cause the diarrhea runs is when you have converted to ketones in your digestion and then you ingest a large carb meal. It is almost like putting diesel in your gasoline engine – it runs for a while, but then all hell breaks loose.
You can use this as another mental fact check to help keeping yourself from another binge on sugary treats after reaching ketosis, since you know it will lead to a rough slide in the bathroom.
Sugar Alcohols and Diarrhea
One common path to take with keto is to try to eat what you normally eat, and substitute all sugars with artificial sweeteners, those sugar alcohol distilled alternatives with sweetness but no calories.
Overdoing the intake of sugar alcohols may also lead to diarrhea. These sugar alcohol molecules must be digested, and sometimes the body will decide to flush the pre-processed liquids right out, since there's nothing more it needs from them (no nutrients, no energy, time to go bye bye).
A solution to this is to keep your sugar alcohols down to a bare minimum, with just enough to make your keto lifestyle enjoyable and non-stressful. By doing this, you also keep your chances of getting the keto flu down to a minimum.
Too Much Protein and Diarrhea
Another approach some keto seekers start out with is a form of carnivore diet. Carnivore is popular among the autoimmune disease community, which suffers from celiac disease, many allergies, and such a host of problems that a carnivore diet is the least problematic approach to eating.
For regular folks, going all in on meat means a very high protein intake, and since the body can only use so much, it will dump out the excess rather than put undo stress on the system.
The solution for this form of diarrhea is to include more leafy greens in your diet – broccoli, asparagus and green beans, to help your gi tract. You may also benefit from introducing a fiber supplement to your diet.
Saturated Fats And Diarrhea
Most people add more saturated fats to their diet – butter, animal fats and so on, and that can increase the bile more than normal since it is harder to digest fats. They forget to add leafy greens to the diet.
Keto Stomach Notes from Ketochow
Poop Talk: It's a Keto Thing, Right?
“A friend came to me recently and said, “I've heard people on the keto diet have all kinds of problems pooping.” It's true, it is commonly known that the high-fat, low carb ketogenic diet can lead to constipation and diarrhea. But we can all agree, we do not talk openly about this with our non-keto friends. It's the surprise part of your weight loss journey. Read more about this topic today on the ketowiz blog, you might be RELIEVED (literally). “
Side Effects of the Keto Diet
Well, the body has a process to deal with saturated fats – it creates “bile” to handle it, inducing slippery and wet feces.
Bile is a slippery substance that helps move things down the digestive system, and with more saturated fats, you get an influx in more bile being produced in your gi system.
The net result of this, is a much more liquid release when you have liquid movement in the small intestines. Diarrhea on keto, in other words. A high fiber diet goes hand in hand with the low carb keto diet.
How To Minimize Diarrhea When You Start Keto
So, how do you minimize diarrhea when you start keto? Well, try to keep the saturated fats to a minimum. Use coconut oil and mct oil where possible, and stay hydrated as often as you can remember.
Electrolytic Imbalances Can Cause Diarrhea
The other item to look at is your electrolytes (sodium, potassium and magnesium) and in particular your magnesium levels. If your electrolyte balance changes, you can get a flushing event we call diarrhea. The digestive enzymes are changing when you move to keto, so there is a form of bacterial death that happens with each change in eating patter.
As you burn fat on keto, you need electrolytes. Sodium, potassium, magnesium.
Probably sodium is the most important. You have to add salt to everything. I add some to my drink, my coffee, any pre-workout beverage. In your coffee, use the sugar alcohol discoveries like erythritol to get some health benefits, but try to keep that to a minimum.
Too Much Protein Can Cause Diarrhea
Like we mentioned before, if you are eating lots of protein and getting diarrhea, and your electrolytes are balanced, then cutting down on your protein intake might solve the diarrhea issue.
Net Carb Secrets of Diarrhea
One secret of the net carb counts of keto is dietary fiber. You will find many keto foods are high in dietary fiber, and as you know, dietary fiber is good for regulating digestion and avoiding diarrhea. So look for these keto foods that have carbs and dietary fiber to create a lower net carb count, and increase your fiber intake if needed.
Bad Fats Can Cause Diarrhea
Another dietary issue that can cause diarrhea is the fat types you consume. Trans fats and saturated fats in general will be harder on your digestion than polyunsaturated and plain saturated fats. Change up your fat intake if you are having bowel disruptions.
There is also a 90 second video that discusses the diarrhea issue, which you may find some value in.
Stop This Diarrhea On Keto Dilemma
You can stop/avoid diarrhea on keto by following the electrolyte advice and check for too much protein. You may also want to check out our keto calculator, one of our top secrets.
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