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Keto Diarrhea: Causes And Remedies

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Keto Diarrhea: Causes and Remedies

Posted 8 months ago

When you go Keto, digestive changes often follow. Sometimes these changes are positive, but sometimes you end up with Keto diarrhea or Keto constipation.

This can be frustrating. The Keto diet is challenging enough without the GI symptoms.

But theres good news. These digestive issues usually have specific causes that can be understood, addressed, and remedied.

What causes Keto diarrhea, how can you fix it, and how does Keto affect gut health generally? Keep reading.

Dont Overdo The Protein

Remember, keto is a high fat, moderate protein, and very low carb diet. Thats how it works! However, some dieters are tempted to eat more than the recommended 20-30% protein, and this can lead to diarrhea. To digest and utilize protein effectively, your body needs an abundance of fat. Eating too much protein means youll invariably end up eating less fat, and this may increase your risk of diarrhea.

You’re Nauseous Or Throwing Up

Ugh, the dreaded “keto flu.” Many people report nausea and vomiting shortly after starting keto. If you’re not prepared to ride out a bout of these symptoms, you may want to steer clear of this diet. “Keto flu is pretty common and can last anywhere from a few days to a week or two,” says dietitian Anne Danahy, MS, RDN. She advises drinking plenty of water and boosting electrolytes to minimize the symptomswhich should go away once you’re in ketosis.

Want to learn more about the keto flu? Here’s Why The Keto Diet Might Make You Sick.

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What Is The Keto Diet Diarrhea Whoosh

The keto diarrhea whoosh, is a term used for the flushing of fluids from the body that many people experience when they begin the transition into ketosis.

Diarrhea is characterized by unexpectedly loose, runny stools. Normally diarrhea indicates some sort of problem say food poisoning or parasitic infection but not in the case of the keto diarrhea whoosh.

This whoosh carries water weight, inflammatory substances, and digestive fluids with it. Its not uncommon for keto dieters to lose 5-10 pounds in their first week on the diet.

Most of this weight is classic water weight from lost glycogen, but some of it is from your small intestine and/or colon. Dont be too surprised if your body resorts to diarrhea in a quest to shed excess water as quickly as possible.

Can Ketosis Cause Diarrhea

Pin on Diet on Again

Unfortunately, the fat-burning popular diet might upset your digestive tract and cause keto diarrhea. When you change your dietary habits, your gastrointestinal system might take a hit. If you cut out particular food groups such as carbs youll get an imbalance in your gut bacteria.

Gut microbiomes feed off short-chain fatty acids from grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, when following the keto diet, youll eat a minimal amount of these foods. Some people experience nausea and fatigue known as the keto flu for a few weeks as their gut microbiome adjusts.

However, others continue to suffer tummy trouble throughout the keto diet.

Dietary fats are harder for digestive enzymes to break down than other foods. Some peoples digestive tracts cannot adjust to metabolizing a high-fat diet. Unable to use the healthy fats they consume, their bodies attempt to get rid of them through keto diarrhea.

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What Stops Diarrhea Fast

BRAT diet

A diet known as BRAT may also quickly relieve diarrhea. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This diet is effective due to the bland nature of these foods, and the fact that theyre starchy, low-fiber foods. These foods have a binding effect in the digestive tract to make stools bulkier.

Drink Plenty Of Fluids

This one seems like a no-brainer, but its worth repeating. When youre feeling the effects of the keto flu, make sure youre drinking plenty of fluids water, bone broth, herbal teas, and even electrolyte drinks can all help.

The keto diet causes increased urination, leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. You can help offset this and avoid the keto flu by drinking plenty of fluids.

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A Healthy Gut Is Paramount On Keto

Many experts would agree that any dietary changes, let alone the hugely significant ones related to the keto diet, can sometimes present negative side effects. In short, the GI system can take a nasty knock when you change your eating habits.

More so with the keto diet than most other diets as specific fruits, vegetables and legumes are reduced, or very restricted, which can significantly affect our intestinal health. These food types provide our gut with short chain fatty acids that our microbiomes feed off. Reducing or restricting these foods can affect the balance.

In the past few years, a number of clinical studies have shown that the potential harm to your digestive system and GI tract, when following the keto diet, is indeed something to be aware of. Evidence has shown that the keto diet could negatively affect the concentration and make up of the bacteria in your gut.

The digestive tract is made up of many microorganisms, also referred to as microbiomes, that play a pivotal role in your health these include cognitive health, immunity, digestion, and the prevention of many diseases.

One study that followed several hundred people over a six-month period who were on a high-fat diet, found several unfavorable changes in the digestive system including increased inflammation and a reduction in the helpful fatty acids.

A similar study noted that the keto diet displayed damaged gut microbiome composition, compared with a control group.

Experts Say This How To Help Prevent Diarrhea While On The Keto Diet

What is Keto Flu and How Long Does it Last?
  • Drink eight or more cups of water daily
  • You should add one to two cups of liquids for every episode that has a watery stool, which will help replace the losses.
  • While its important for your diet to contain the right balance of nutrients, too much fiber can cause problems. talk with your doctor or registered dietitian about what you should do if this becomes an issue.
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    Does Ketosis Cause The Keto Flu

    When carbohydrate intake is low, metabolism changes to use a process called ketosis, where your body burns fat for energy and produces ketones.

    Both the brain and central nervous system use carbohydrates for fuel. In a low-carbohydrate diet, your metabolism adjusts to using ketones to replace carbs .

    The keto flu likely is caused by the transition from using carbs to fat and ketones as the primary energy source. The keto flu has never been formally studied, so there is a lot still unknown, including why it affects some people more than others.

    Different Types Of Keto Diets

    What all of these types of the keto diet have in common is their goal to get your body into the natural metabolic state of ketosis so you can burn fat, instead of carbs, for energy.

    Standard ketogenic diet

    Consuming a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb diet. The percentages of your daily diet should be about 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs.

    High-protein ketogenic diet

    Similar to the SKD, but with added protein. The ratio is about 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

    Cyclical ketogenic diet

    Involves 5-6 days of the SKD followed by 1-2 days of refeeding days where the majority of calories come from carbohydrates.

    Targeted ketogenic diet

    Eating carbohydrates around the times that you exercise. Meant for people who are regularly working out at a very high-intensity or for an extended period of time.

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    How Do You Know Youre On Ketosis

    You can find out how much ketosis is going on in your body by testing for ketones in your blood or urine. You can buy test strips to check your pee at home. Some blood sugar meters can measure ketones in your blood. If you dont know how and when to test your ketones, talk to your doctor or diabetes instructor.

    Final Words On Keto Diarrhea

    Side Effects of Keto Diet: 15 Short &  13 Long Term

    Keto diarrhea is a common side effect of the ketogenic diet. It is caused by the bodys adjustment to a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.

    The best way to avoid keto diarrhea is to start the diet slowly and increase your fat intake gradually. You could also try taking a probiotic supplement or adding fermented foods to your diet.

    If you experience persistent diarrhea, you should consult with a healthcare professional.

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    Warning Signs You Should Stop The Keto Diet Immediately

    Unless you’ve been living on a desert island, you’ve probably heard the buzz about the keto diet. This high-fat, low-carb eating plan has gained a major following in the last few years for helping people drop weight fast. In a 2020 survey, 8% of people said they had tried keto in the last year.

    Success on a ketogenic diet all comes down to adjusting your metabolism by consuming specific amounts of macronutrients. Getting your calories from 75% fat, 20% protein, and just 5% carbohydrate forces the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, in which fat is burned for fuel. It sounds like a weight-loss dream, but this macronutrient-bending eating plan isn’t for everyone. In fact, drastically changing up your macros can result in some pretty unpleasant side effects. Plus, many health professionals have cautioned that keto isn’t a healthy long-term solution for keeping weight off.

    How do you know when it’s time to stop the keto diet? Here are seven warning signs the diet may not be an ideal choice.

    Is It Just Temporary

    The good news is that diarrhea and other low-carb diet side effects are often fleeting, and that natural remedies for diarrhea like staying hydrated can help. Side effects may last for a week or so while your body adjusts to the change. After that, you may find that your digestive system normalizes. But whenever you are making a diet change, it helps to do so gradually, so your body can take more time to adjust. This may prevent low-carb diet diarrhea altogether.

    In other cases, for example, for those who are lactose intolerant, the diarrhea may persist. If you find that your new diet continues to cause digestive problems, it just may not be a good fit for you. Diarrhea that lasts longer than a few days is not only uncomfortable, but can also lead to dehydration and nutrient malabsorption. In this case, it’s best to go back to your regular diet immediately and check in with your doctor.

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    Your Definitive Guide To Conquering The Keto Flu

    • The keto flu is your bodys natural response to carbohydrate restriction.
    • Its symptoms include: brain fog, headache, chills, sore throat, digestive issues, dizziness, insomnia, irritability, and more.
    • Symptoms typically last from a few days to two weeks, and up to a month at most.
    • Metabolic flexibility, meaning your ability to adapt to different fuel sources , dictates the severity of symptoms.
    • Keto flu remedies include: proper hydration bone broth electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and sodium eating more good fat like MCTs rest and sleep mild exercise or meditation activated charcoal exogenous ketone supplements and in some cases, eating more carbs.

    You started the keto diet and are just not feeling it. Instead of all those amazing ketogenic benefits youve heard about supreme fat burn, increased energy, keto clarity, and a vibrant sense of well-being you are irritable at the breakfast table, dizzy all day, and not sleeping at night. The culprit of this miserable feeling? Oh, right: the keto flu. Its a natural reaction your body undergoes as it switches from burning sugar to fat for energy. In order to get from here to there, your body needs to make a few modifications to the way it runs.

    Read on to learn whats in store as you rev up your internal engine, keto-style.

    View keto flu remedies

    The Keto Whoosh Effect

    What Causes Diarrhea on Keto Diet?

    If youve done some reading about the keto diet on blogs and social media, perhaps youve come across something called the whoosh effect.

    As you may have guessed, whoosh is not a technical medical term. This so-called phenomenon is not backed up by scientific data.

    What is the whoosh effect?

    Basically, the theory is that soft and squishy areas of your body can magically become firmer and leaner by suddenly releasing fat and water.

    Some people say that watery diarrhea on keto is a positive sign of the whoosh effect.

    According to them, you wake up one morning and voilá you have wooshed your way to weight loss and look visibly thinner.

    Again, there is no data to back up this theory. Diarrhea is not something to aspire to, as it can be harmful to your body.

    What is really happening?

    What you may experience at the start of the keto diet is dramatic weight loss in the form of water loss.

    You lose water weight because having a low carb intake lowers the amount of glycogen stores. Glycogen retains water, so less glycogen means less water stored in your body1.

    So while you may lose weight quickly at first, its due to water loss, not fat loss.

    This is why you urinate more frequently on keto. It also points to why its so important to drink lots of water to stay hydrated, since your body wont be storing as much water.

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    What Are The Risks Of Ketogenic Diet

    There are a few potential risks associated with the ketogenic diet, though most of these are easily avoidable with a bit of planning.

    The keto diet may cause dehydration, constipation, and headaches in the early stages as your body adjusts to the new way of eating. It could also lead to nutrient deficiencies if youre not careful to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

    Another potential risk is the development of ketoacidosis, a serious condition that may occur when you have too many ketones in your blood.

    This is more likely to occur if you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, but its important to be aware of the possibility.

    Overall, the ketogenic diet is safe for most people. However, its important to speak with your doctor before starting the diet, especially if you have any health conditions.

    Are You Choosing The Right Sources Of Dietary Fat Some Oils Can Cause Diarrhea

    While a little bit of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fats are required from our diet, more is not better. In particular, our digestive systems have a limited tolerance for vegetable and seed oils high in omega-6 fats. Early in our human research, we found out that feeding our patients a high fat diet made with soybean, corn, safflower, or sunflower oils promptly made them feel nauseated and caused diarrhea. Given that a well-formulated ketogenic diet eaten to maintain body weight provides 70-80% of oneâs daily energy intake as fat, the majority of this fat intake needs to come from mono-unsaturated and saturated sources such as olive oil, high oleic versions of safflower and sunflower, coconut oil, lard, butter, cream, and high fat cheese.

    Here are some fats and oils that we recommend:


    Makinen KK. Gastrointestinal Disturbances Associated with the Consumption of Sugar Alcohols with Special Consideration of Xylitol: Scientific Review and Instructions for Dentists and Other Health-Care Professionals. Int J Dent. 2016 2016: 5967907.

    Speth JD, Spielmann KA. Energy source, protein metabolism, and hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies. J Anthropol Archaeol 1983 2:1â31.

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    Avoid & Stop Keto Diarrhea

    How to fix keto diarrhea?

    1. Drink plenty of water: Irrespective of the fact if you are on a keto diet or not, you should drink plenty of water and stay hydrated anyways. Its even more essential to remain hydrated when you are suffering from keto flu diarrhea. Drinking plenty of water can help replenish the electrolytes and fluids lost from your body during diarrhea.

    2. Include some low carb fibers in your diet: Dietary fiber is necessary for digestion and for regular bowel movements. It will improve the consistency of your stool, thereby reducing the symptoms of diarrhea. Add certain leafy vegetables and other low-carb food to your meal to increase your daily fiber intake to avoid digestive issues like bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Do not munch on raw veggies, as they can aggravate your diarrhea symptoms.

    3. Microbiome Changes: Add probiotics to your meals. Probiotics are inherently good living bacteria and yeasts that help you improve your digestive system. It keeps your gut healthy. Too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria in the gut lead to an imbalance in GIT. Probiotic supplements in capsule form, or powder form sprinkled over your food, can balance the bacteria levels. Some other probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and cultured yogurt can also help regulate the gut-brain axis and reduce GITs inflammation while balancing the microbiome.

    4. Avoid consuming caffeine, as it can aggravate your diarrhoeal symptoms due to its laxative effects.6.

    What Causes The Keto Flu

    Diarrhea After Normal Stool

    What exactly causes keto flu symptoms? When you restrict carbohydrates, your body must learn how to burn its backup energy source, and in order to do so, changes happen from the cellular to hormonal level.

    Specifically, there are three changes that occur when you cut out carbs:

    Water and sodium flush: When you consume fewer carbs, insulin levels drop signaling your kidneys to release sodium from the body. This causes a loss of up to about 10 pounds of water weight as water shuttles sodium out of your body. All of this usually occurs in the first five days. The glycogen loss and low insulin levels cause dizziness, nausea, muscle cramping, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea and constipation. Do your best to drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes at this point thatll alleviate some of these cellular symptoms.

    T3 thyroid hormone levels may decrease: T3 is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Dietary carbohydrates and thyroid function are closely connected, so when you cut carbs, T3 levels can fall. In conjunction with T4, another thyroid hormone, the two Ts regulate your bodys temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. As your body adjusts to a ketogenic diet, lower hormone levels may leave you with brain fog and fatigue.

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