Keto diarrhea is one of the best known and most common side effects that people experience, when transitioning to a low-carb diet.
If that’s the case with you, then keep reading, because we’re about to give you all the information you need to know.
There are many and different causes of this often-reported problem, which is exactly why it is of prime importance to be aware of the root cause.
With the information in this article, we’ll help you prevent and get over this sh**ty situation, pun intended.
Just a note here – Keto diarrhea is not permanent and once the body adapts to the low carb intake, it will stop.
However, it is still good to know how to treat it while it lasts, in order to minimize discomfort.
Can the Ketogenic Diet Cause Diarrhea?
Well, as a matter of fact, there is more than one factor that accounts to the occurrence of diarrhea, meaning that keto may not be the inherent reason for it.
If done properly actually, the state of ketosis, which makes the body burn fat as its main fuel source, will have NOTHING to do with diarrhea, whatsoever.
Getting into ketosis requires the individual to exclude certain foods, which ultimately means excluding certain micro and macro nutrients.
That is to say that it is mainly the mistakes made when switching to keto that are the root cause of diarrhea, and not ketosis itself.
Good news is, just a couple of tweaks to your regimen can make drastic changes and soon enough, you will be feeling fine.
What Causes Keto Diarrhea?
Now, as we know, the primary source of energy in our diets, if we are on a keto plan, is the most calorie-dense nutrient, namely fat.
When it comes to fat digestion and metabolism, your body has one pathway – The liver.
The liver produces bile to aid fat digestion and needless to say, when we’re consuming more fats than usual, the secretion of bile will be higher.
Side note – Bile is a greenish-brown alkaline fluid that aids digestion and is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Bile also lubricates your colon. And if you have an overly lubricated colon, due to the increased fat intake and the respective increased secretion of bile, diarrhea occurs.
This means that in a sense, diarrhea is the adaptive reaction of the organism, when you’re switching to high fat and low carbs.
Needless to say, this is not permanent and is mostly a side effect that occurs during the initial phase of adaptation.
Does Keto Make You Excrete More Than Usual?
When transitioning to ketosis, odds are that your “excretion habits” won’t be elevated.
In other words, you won’t be pooping more.
As a matter of fact, you might even excrete LESS… That is simply because the total VOLUME of food you’re eating will be less.
The main products in a keto diet (meats, dairy, fish, avocados, etc) are abundant of fats.
And as we know, fats are more than twice as caloric when compared to carbs and protein, at 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram for protein and carbs.
What this means is that with a lesser quantity of food, you will be getting more energy in and therefore, the stomach will do less total processing.
Now, it is worth noting that the digestive system of humans is quite efficient, meaning that these fat & protein rich foods that you will be consuming, will lead to a lesser total amount of waste.
As you transition to the low carb lifestyle more and more, you will be experiencing less diarrhea and you will be making fewer trips to the toilet.
Other Causes of Keto Diarrhea
Alright so we explained the root cause of this common problem, which is the increased secretion of bile.
However, other individuals that have reported the problem, concluded that there might as well be other causes for this unpleasant issue.
1. Food Intolerances & Digestive Issues
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, there is a unique aspect to the biology of each and every individual.
Everyone has a certain food group that is intolerable for the gut flora, meaning that some people just can’t digest certain foods.
If you happen to find such foods that just come out the same way they came in, well, avoid them!
Try and experiment and see what your body deals with best and what makes it harder to deal with.
2. Macro Distribution
Needless to say, the ketogenic diet requires a higher fat consumption, a lower carb consumption and preferably a normal protein consumption.
Many people who are new to the keto diet make big mistakes in the transition, by adding too much protein.
Of course, they read somewhere that, for example, in order for the workouts to be optimal, they would need a lot of protein.
Then, they go on to increase their protein two fold and with the lack of fiber, that turns to … You know.
To avoid this, simply limit your protein intake to no more than 20-25% of your TOTAL daily needs.
Another cause of diarrhea that is not so well discussed is the imbalance of some electrolytes in the body.
Electrolyte imbalances are very common with the lifestyle imposed by the keto diet.
To deal with this, you can supplement your nutrition plan with micronutrients, such as sodium and magnesium, that will ultimately even out your electrolyte balance.
Needless to say, everything needs to be balanced, as both too big or too less of an intake can cause this problem.
As per recommendations, you can stick to a magnesium intake of not more than 3,000 mg daily.
How to Stop Keto Diarrhea
One of the main things you can do to tweak your nutrition plan and cease diarrhea is cutting out any added fats in your meals/salads.
That means – No butter, no olive oil, no coconut oil, etc.
When you’re done doing that, simply start focusing on foods abundant of fats, such as beef, eggs, walnuts, avocados, etc.
As the diarrhea goes away, you can slowly start adding the above-listed fats to your diet.
Tweaking Nutrition to Stop Diarrhea
We now know the root cause, as well as other possible reasons why keto can lead to diarrhea.
If or when that happens, there are a couple of tweaks you can make to your food intake, as well as supplementation.
Among other things you can do to help ease this issue, in case your gut is very sensitive, are the following:
Adding foods abundant of fiber is one of the best solutions to this common problem, however, many fiber rich foods are often incompatible with the keto diet, simply because they also contain carbs.
You can look for alternate sources of fiber, such as some powders and green veggies low in carbs.
Needless to say, diarrhea causes the body to lose a lot of water, which is exactly why you have to make sure you stay hydrated.
Supplements for Keto Diarrhea
Odds are that some of you have gone once or twice to the toilet while reading this article.
Well, if the issue we are just discussing is so unbearable for you, then perhaps you can make use of a supplement.
Generally, supplements made for keto diarrhea are designed to solve the problem right away.
The fine blend of probiotics, enzymes and magnesium grants quick absorption and relief.
As per our personal and client experience, (insert supplement here) is the best product out there.
It is a fairly new supplement that was designed once the problem became more common among people.
However, through trials and refining, the Real-Zymes has been perfected to the point where it can act quickly, granting better energy and colon health.
Rest assured though that this supplement won’t compensate for the lack of a good nutrition plan, which is exactly why we advise you to take the recommendations we gave so far.