Is the low carb, high fat ketogenic diet making you have to go to the bathroom more than you’d like?
Whether you’re going too much or not enough, having any sort of “pooping problems” when you first start your keto diet can be pretty discouraging. If you’ve been wondering whether keto makes you poop or not, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll answer everything you need to know about digestion on the ketogenic diet and whether or not the problems you’re currently facing are normal or not.
So that leads to the question…
Does Keto Make You Poop?
It depends on what you eat. Not all ketogenic diets are the same. Just like everything else in life, there’s no one-size-fits all.
But if you’re following a standard ketogenic diet at the proper macronutrient ratios, you should not have any problems with digestion whatsoever.
If you’re pooping too often (or not enough) on the ketogenic diet, it usually means you’re doing something incorrectly that may be leading to this less than fortunate side effect.
The good part is, knowing this is half the battle!
Now that you understand that going “keto” isn’t the main factor that’s making you poop, it’s important to take a step back and determine why exactly you’re facing digestive issues.
Keep reading to find out why you’re having to go to the bathroom more often than normal on keto.
Why Keto is Making You Poop
There’s a few different reasons why you may be having abnormal bathroom tendencies. The most common reasons that many beginner keto-ers fall victim to include:
Regularly consuming sugar free drinks
When you’re first diving into the low carb lifestyle, many beginners will try substituting regular soda for diet. While this may help you keep carbohydrate intake low, it may also lead to diarrhea.
Sugar free and low carb products contain sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol and lactitol which have been shown to cause gastrointestinal problems.
Out of the sugar alcohols listed above, sorbitol is the least tolerated by your body.
Eating and drinking fewers foods that contain these sugar alcohols can do wonders for your digestion.
Eating too much protein but not enough fat
A properly formulated ketogenic diet consists of:
- LOW carbohydrates
- MODERATE proteins
- HIGH fats
When you’re cutting carbohydrates out of your diet, many newbies often replace these calories with too much protein and not enough fat. After all, we’ve been raised to believe that fats are bad for you, which couldn’t be any further from the truth!
While protein is highly beneficial in almost every aspect, too much of it without enough fats can lead to digestive issues.
Make sure you’re consuming the proper amount of healthy fats without overdoing it on protein, especially as a beginner. As time goes on, you won’t have to prioritize eating fats as much since your body will get used to the higher amounts of protein you’re consuming. But in the meantime, pay close attention to your fat and protein ratio to normalize your poop schedule.
Can’t digest certain kinds of food
It may seem obvious at first, but any time you eat or drink something and it seems to go right through you is a surefire sign that your body cannot tolerate that certain food.
If you’re new to the ketogenic diet, you may be eating new foods that you haven’t regularly eaten for quite some time. For example, dairy intake is often increased on keto because of its low carb and high fat content. But, lactose intolerance has been shown to decrease with age and the majority of our population can’t digest milky products well.
Start slowly at first and assess the foods you eat for any intolerances.
Electrolyte and mineral deficiencies
Perhaps the most important thing that can make you believe that keto makes you poop is having micronutrient deficiencies. And, it’s also the most common when you start eliminating carbohydrates.
Why is that? Because carbohydrates are responsible for holding water. When you cut them out, electrolytes and minerals are excreted as well.
What to Do When About Diarrhea on Keto
Now that you know exactly why you’re having irregular bowel movements, let’s go over some tips and strategies to help normalize your pooping schedule.
Remember, it’s not that keto makes you poop, instead, it’s the lack of a proper ketogenic diet plan that’s causing it.
Here are some tips to help you with your bathroom issues:
Stay hydrated and maintain proper mineral balance
Now that you’re aware of the changes your body goes through when carbohydrates are removed from your diet, it’s time to replenish your body of essential minerals.
The 3 main minerals you should monitor include:
Use Pink Himalayan sea salt to maintain proper sodium levels. Ketogenic dieters should consume more sodium than the average person on a traditional carbohydrate diet.
Start slowly with MCT oil consumption
MCTs are a saturated fatty acid that bypasses your stomach and converts directly into energy through ketones from the liver. It can take some time for your body to get used to this new fuel source so it’s important to start with small amounts.
Stick with a tablespoon or less of MCT oil to start and work your way up.
Use a digestive enzyme
Some people may benefit from additional help with digesting fats. Especially if you’re a beginner, your body isn’t used to the extra fat intake so digestive enyzme supplementation can do wonders.
Use digestive supplements like lipase and take it on an empty stomach at night to help your body brain down the long-chain and branched-chain fats that you ate throughout the day.
Fix your ketogenic macronutrient ratios
As I mentioned previously, if you’re eating too much protein without enough fat, it may result in more frequent poops. At first, try sticking to the normal ketogenic ratio that consists of 5-10% of calories from carbs, 20-30% in protein and fill the rest of your calories from fats.
The more your body gets used to this way of eating, the more efficient you’ll become in digesting fats and proteins. Once you’ve been on keto for quite some time, you can then start consuming more protein and less fats if you’re looking to improve athletic performance. I’ll talk more about this in another article.
Change up your food selection
If you’re eating the same foods day in and day out, there may be a chance that your body can’t tolerate that specific food. Like I talked about above, many people will find that they cannot digest milky products and may find it runs right through them.
It’s also important to change up the variety of healthy fats you eat on a daily basis.
If you’re getting your fat intake from primarily for nuts or milk, consider switching it up and eating more avocados and consuming adding coconut oil to your coffee or cooking with avocado oil instead of butter.
Monitor your fiber intake
Fiber requires a delicate balance, especially on the ketogenic diet. New studies are finding that fiber isn’t as important as most people have thought. In fact, sometimes too much fiber can lead to digestive problems.
As long as you’re getting your fiber from natural whole foods like green leafy vegetables, this shouldn’t be an issue. Make it a habit to eat some form of greens in every meal. I’m not too fond on fiber supplements as I believe that you should be getting most of your nutrients from whole food sources.
An Abnormal Pooping Schedule is NOT Normal on Keto…
Now that you understand exactly why it’s happening, you can take the proper steps to avoid it altogether.
The main thing you should take out of this article is that keto should not make you poop irregularly. If that’s happening, it usually means you either cannot tolerate the new foods you’re eating, your electrolyte and mineral balances are out of whack, or you’re not following a proper ketogenic macronutrient ratio.
By following the tips above, you’ll start experiencing all of the benefits of the low carb, high fat lifestyle without any of the downsides!