You already know about some keto side effects. You learned about the keto flu, for instance. You learned about how you might feel greater mental clarity and energy.
You learned about the fat loss that happens, and why carb refeeds are necessary if you care to maintain the lifestyle on a long-term basis.
But what about…going #2?
Yes, the act of defecating can and will be different when you are following keto. But how? What can you expect about keto poop while following the low-carb lifestyle?
Let’s talk about it in this article!
Keto Diet Can Lead to Issues Pooping
Us keto folks love what we get to eat because it’s tasty and delicious, I mean who doesn’t love ribeye steaks and cheese?
But eating lots of these foods so rich in fat could lead to GI trouble. It is even more pronounced if you’re going from a diet low in fat to high fat.
And believe me, this can happen with just about any diet, but we’ve found it to be more severe on the ketogenic diet, with people talking about everything from constipation on keto to diarrhea.
Normal Keto Poop
So let’s get two things straight about pooping on keto.
It’s common to have issues pooping, or experience constipation.
It’s common to have diarrhea while on keto.
This is mostly what keto dieters talk about when they complain about issues going #2.
Regarding Constipation and Ketogenic Living
If you don’t poop every day, don’t stress. This doesn’t mean, “I’m constipated.” You might poop once every two days or you might poop twice a day. That’s normal.
But it’s when it becomes hard to poop (you have dry, hard poop) and you experience a sudden alteration in your poop habits that become a point of concern for constipation.
Why do we get constipated? Here are some reasons:
Fiber Intake Is Lower
When we start out on keto, we cut out a lot of foods high in fiber. This means high carb veg, whole grains, beans, and legumes are all pushed to the side. This may lead to fiber deficiency. Without fiber, we lack stool bulk and thus we aren’t as regular.
Without enough of it, we end up constipated.
The fix is to consume more veggies. Make sure you get your broccoli, fennel, collards, kale, and cauliflower.
Also, eat your raspberries and strawberries, those are packed with fiber and low-sugar, too.
Keep a bottle of water handy at all times and sip as the day goes on. You will lose a few lbs the first week or two of keto, which is likely all water weight.
Losing that water and failing to replenish it could leave you constipated. So, to avoid dry, hard stools, make sure you double up on water intake.
Electrolytes Aren’t Balanced
When you nix the carbs, the insulin levels of your body stay steady and low. This is good for you but kidneys will push out magnesium, sodium, and potassium, instead of hanging onto these nutrients.
Electrolytes help soften stools and thus you pass them easier.
So in order to keep this up, add salt to your food, eat lots of vegs, and take some magnesium- 200 to 400mg is good. Magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate is best. Taking more than 400mg could leave you open to diarrhea.
Diarrhea and Ketogenic Living
You may experience diarrhea in the first few weeks of the diet. This happens because:
Excess of MCTs
Many keto eaters use MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides to get their ketone levels up and enjoy greater energy. They are great but could cause diarrhea if you take too many.
So, keep your intake to a tsp at a time when starting this diet. You can work up to about 2 tbsp a day as the first week of keto goes on.
Your Fiber Intake Is Low
Hmm, have we heard this before? Yes! Diarrhea and constipation can result from low fiber intake. Without fiber, food goes through you quickly. So, make sure you get those low carb veggies in so your digestion stays normal.
Digestive Enzymes Are Lacking
The liver creates bile and digestive enzymes as a means of digesting fat and emulsifying it, too. However, when you begin taking in more fat from healthy sources like avocado, than your body needs, it takes the liver some time to get used to this in terms of bile and enzyme creation.
Until your body gets used to this high-fat way of life, you may experience diarrhea thanks to the fats that don’t get digested.
Here’s what you can do: If you are just beginning keto, and you do end up with diarrhea, use lipase. This is an enzyme that breaks fat down. Take it during your first week of ketogenic dieting. This helps you metabolize that fat. Your digestion will eventually get used to this by the time the first week is over.
How Much Do I Need to Worry About Pooping on My Keto Diet?
Perhaps you are experiencing diarrhea or constipation while on keto. If this is the case, don’t worry about it. The body is just taking time to get used to this way of life. It will take some trial and error to figure out what is the best balance of fiber, protein, and fat for your unique situation.
Make sure you drink lots of water, eat your fibrous veggies, and use electrolyte supplements or digestive enzymes to keep your digestion regulated.
Pooping differently while first starting keto is temporary. However, if your digestive troubles last longer than a few weeks, keto might not be the right diet for your body.
If this is the case, don’t worry. Start by adding a bit more fiber and a few more carbs, or try out a keto variant.
Everyone is different, so don’t be afraid to try things out. Eventually, you will find what works for you, feel great and get the results you want.