The Keto diet is designed to allow the body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs. However, just as any low-carb diet can, it comes with potential side effects. One of those side effects is constipation.
Are You Struggling to Poop on Keto?
While bowel movements may often become the “butt” of jokes, constipation is a serious issue. It can become a side effect of the Keto diet, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several reasons why you may become constipated on the Keto diet including:
- A decrease in healthy gut bacteria
- Not enough pre-biotic fiber
- Not enough greens and other colored foods in your diet
- Congestion in the liver/gallbladder
Top Foods That Cause Constipation
Constipation may be caused by not getting enough fiber or stress, but often, it’s caused by what you were eating. There are certain foods that are more likely to cause constipation. Here are the top five foods you may be eating that could be responsible for your constipation. If so, you’ll want to remove them.
1. Grains and Gluten
Gluten is the protein found in grains, such as barley, triticale, wheat, and rye. It has a special globular structure our human enzymes cannot break down fully. In addition, grains not containing gluten, such as oats and corn can also wreak havoc on our digestive tract. These are not keto approved and it’s time to say goodbye.
Pod vegetables and beans are often called legumes, which include green beans, garbanzo beans, soy, lentils, and peas. These foods are harder to digest than others because they contain raffinose, which human enzymes cannot break down. Bacteria in the gut will eat raffinose and it turns it into methane.
A sticky protein found in nearly all dairy products, casein is another food item humans struggle to break down. Baby cows have a special enzyme in their stomachs known as rennet, which breaks down casein. Humans don’t have this special enzyme, which makes casein cause issues in the digestive system.
4. Seeds and Nuts
Similar to legumes, seeds and nuts contain indigestible short-chain carbs and soluble fiber. Seeds also contain enzyme inhibitors making it hard to digest the proteins found in the foods. The inhibitors, however, can be damaged through cooking.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
This category includes cabbage, broccoli, kale and many other vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables contain a large amount of raffinose, just like legumes do. This is a big reason why they are the culprit of gas and bloating.
How to Solve Keto Constipation
When you become constipated on the Keto diet, it’s important to treat the root cause. If you’re not getting enough fiber, the solution is to get more fiber. There are several ways to solve Keto constipation.
Eat more Fiber
One of the first things to try is adding more fiber to your diet. Since the Keto diet limited fruits and high carb vegetables, it can be hard to get the fiber you need. In addition, the Keto diet doesn’t allow for many grains, which is another good source of fiber.
When you don’t have enough fiber in your diet, it can lead to constipation. The key to getting enough fiber on the Keto diet is to increase the green leafy vegetables you eat. These are super low in calories and don’t contain many carbs. Some of the best choices include:
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Romaine Lettuce
Getting more greens in your diet will help you get the fiber you need without increasing your calories or carbs much.
Avocados and olives offer a lower carb option if you want the best fruits for the Keto diet.
Cut back on or Eliminate Dairy
You don’t need dairy to practice a Keto diet. Sometimes, when transitioning to a ketogenic diet, you may lean on dairy to get the fats and protein you need. Large amounts of dairy may be causing your constipation.
Drink More Water
Water is vital, no matter the diet or lifestyle you practice. Getting enough water will help with Keto constipation, as well.
Sometimes, when people transition to the ketogenic diet, they struggle with giving up sodas and juices. This can be difficult, but you need to let these beverages go and drink plenty of water.
Drink Warm Water with Honey
A glass of warm water with honey can help to improve bowel movements. If you’re not getting enough water because you’re struggling with the lack of flavor, add a touch of honey. This can help to give you a water drink you can enjoy and improve your constipation.
Add in a Prebiotic & Probiotic
Your gut bacteria may be off, causing your constipation. You can add in a soil-based probiotic, along with a good prebiotic to help ensure your gut stays healthy.
Drink Water with Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known for its many uses and it has the ability to help cure constipation. Drinking a glass of water with one or two tablespoons before meals may be the answer if you’re struggling with Keto constipation.
There are several ways to cure constipation on a ketogenic diet. If stress is the issue, it may be time to look at how you’re sleeping. You could also be overdoing it at the gym causing stress and constipation.
Take More Magnesium
An important electrolyte in the Keto Diet, yet one often miss. 300-400 mg of magnesium is important to your daily nutrition.
How to Figure Out What’s Causing Your Keto Constipation
The key to solving the issue of Keto constipation is finding the cause. If you’re new to the Keto diet plan, discovering the cause of your constipation shouldn’t be too difficult.
You’ll want to start by looking at your diet before you started the Keto diet. Compare what you used to eat and drink to what you eat and drink now. This will give you a baseline to help pinpoint the issue causing your constipation.
Often, you will have to go through a trial and error period to pinpoint the cause. For some, the cause may not be a specific thing, such as cruciferous vegetables or not drinking enough water. It may be more specific.
If you do find that you struggle with specific vegetables, you can replace those vegetables with another. You can also consider eating fermented vegetables, which are easier to digest.
When you’re struggling with Keto constipation, it’s time to figure out why. Compare your previous diet or eating habits to what you’re eating now. Once you think you have figured out which of the reasons above are causing your constipation, test your theory.
Handy hint: If your first thought at the mention of greens is the overcooked cabbage your mom used to make you eat, take heart! There is a wide range of delicious recipes which incorporate different greens, and with time and experimentation, you will find the combinations which best suit you and your family.
Generally speaking, once your body has been in ketosis for a while, it will jump back into ketosis rather quickly. I’ve tested this after eating an entire plate of spaghetti just to be back into ketosis within an hour. If you are just starting on your keto journey, it will take more to get back […]