One common side effect of a ketogenic diet is constipation. Constipation can be caused by many things namely: dehydration, lack of fiber, improper gut bacteria, etc.
Good news, constipation is temporary and there are many remedies you can do to reverse and prevent it, whilst still remaining on the keto diet. Below we have listed a few.
- Hydrate: Drink enough water & add salt to your water
As our bodies switch to replacing carbohydrates as a main fuel source to ketones, one loses electrolytes and fluids naturally. Loss of fluids can cause stool to dry out and lead to constipation.
Make sure you drink enough fluids each day and consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of salt twice a day to a glass of water to ensure you are getting enough electrolytes, as well.
- Eat enough fiber: Consume more low-carb & high fiber fruits and vegetables
Cutting out carbohydrates often means cutting out our main sources of fiber (i.e. grains). Fiber helps for healthy stool growth and evacuation (too much fiber can have the opposite effect).
Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet by adding low-carbohydrate fruits like avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives. Also eat plenty of low-carb, high-fiber leafy greens like kale, spinach, and lettuce.
- Consume MCT oil: Switch out your coconut oil for MCT oil
MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil has a natural laxative effect. Switch out your coconut oil for MCT oil to help with constipation.
Be careful to gradually incorporate MCT oil into your diet, because too much of MCT too quickly may cause stomach cramps, etc.
- Drink apple cider vinegar & herbal teas: Apple cider vinegar before each meal & tea after
Both apple cider vinegar and certain herbal teas have been known to aid in digestion.
Consider adding 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water before each meal. Drink herbal teas that have things like ginger, licorice, or dandelion after meals or as a replacement for coffee.
- Add proper probiotics & prebiotics to diet: Make sure your gut bacteria are healthy
Making a transition from carbs to lot of fats for fuel can have an effect on the many natural bacteria of your gut. The bacteria of your gut aid in digestion, which in turn aid in stool formation and evacuation.
To ensure you keep the proper ratios and health of these bacteria make sure that you are getting enough probiotics and prebiotics in your diet by incorporating things like whole-fat and low-carb yogurts and probiotic coconut yogurt like Coconut Cult yogurt.
- Consider supplementation: Milk of Magnesia & fiber supplements can be used
If the above changes to your diet do not work or are not feasible, try over-the-counter supplementation with things like Milk of Magnesia and/or fiber supplements.
All in all, as your body adapts to a ketogenic lifestyle and you implement a few of the above remedies, you should be able to enjoy a ketogenic lifestyle free of constipation. If constipation continues despite these remedies, see a doctor.
– Dr Jerrry Hizon