After hearing so many amazing keto success stories, who’s not excited to get started? You know – beyond anyone rushing to the bathroom singing diarrhea, cha, cha, cha because of diarrhea on keto.
The good news is a ketogenic diet is amazing for weight loss. The bad news – it’s not all that amazing when keto and diarrhea become BFFs in your new lifestyle.
While diarrhea on keto happens for different reasons, these sorts of digestive issues can be easy to improve when you learn the right steps. Keep reading to learn why keto disaster pants is a thing, and how you can get rid of keto diet diarrhea for good!
Does Keto Cause Diarrhea?
If you’ve had lots of stomach pain, abdominal cramps, and other forms of GI System distress since starting keto, you may be wondering – can eating keto cause diarrhea?
While diarrhea after starting keto is common, low carb diets like keto do not cause diarrhea. The truth is, a lot of people’s digestion is screwed up after years of following mainstream diet recommendations. Since most people don’t understand the intricacies of digestion, the easiest thing to do is to blame the new diet for the laxative effect you experience.
Since we’re all different people with different body chemistries, food intolerances that give you diarrhea may lead to constipation in others. In the event you do have constant diarrhea on keto, stopping the trots in their tracks comes down to balancing your diet with the right amount of fat for you. Then, only increase healthy fats as your body is ready.
Starting keto diarrhea can also be caused by the ingredients in some keto-friendly foods, supplementing the wrong way for your chemistry, the keto flu, and sludgy bile flow.
Even though loose stool is one of the most common side effects when adding more fat into your diet, the good news is keto diarrhea doesn’t last forever. Even better, when you learn the right way to conquer this embarrassing side effect – it could be gone in a matter of days.
Before we talk about how you too can quit running to the bathroom with the runs, let’s talk about a few of the common reasons Montezuma wants his revenge! And let’s do it now before I spout out any more loose stool synonyms that make me sound like a teenage boy who happens to be knowledgeable in digestive health.
Common Causes of Diarrhea for Keto Dieters
Does Too Much Fat In Your Diet Cause Diarrhea?
While it’s true you need to eat enough fat on a high-fat diet to trigger ketosis, you’re not doing yourself any favors if all of the fat is rushing out your backside. This is especially common if you followed low calorie diets in the past.
In order for your body to process healthy fats correctly, you need proper bile flow. Following a standard high-carb, low-fat diet can lead to sticky bile. This happens because these diets contain more than their fair-share of processed carbs. They’re also low in fat compared to keto.
The combo of highly processed carbs and very low fat leads to thick and sticky bile. Poor bile flow can result in stomach cramps and diarrhea on keto whenever you eat more fat than your body can handle in one sitting.
If you experience low carb diet diarrhea whenever you attempt to lower carbs and raise fat, try raising fat intake at a slower pace. This also means you should keep more healthy carbs in your diet until the unpleasant side effects subside.
Even though it seems counterintuitive to keep some healthy carbs in while you slowly raise fat, your body requires enough nutrients to thrive. While it’s true this may slow fat loss, sometimes slow and steady is the best approach. It’s all about finding the right balance for your body.
Also, the kinds of fats you choose matters.
When it comes to improving sludgy bile, coconut oil is a great way to increase fat. This low carb diet favorite is the easiest fat for your body to break down. While swapping other fats for coconut oil isn’t a keto diarrhea cure, it is a great way to steadily increase fat in a high fat diet with less emergency side effects.
Diarrhea and Keto Diet Foods
Another cause for the ooey-gooey in your pants is eating too many keto-friendly processed foods. Low carb protein shakes, meal bars, and keto candy – I’m looking at you. Just because a product makes claims of low net carbs on the label, that doesn’t mean it’s a great choice on a low carb eating plan.
When browsing reviews for keto gummies, you’re met with stories like: “This WILL cause your rectum to enter turbo-mode and empty your entire life out your rear.” With product reviews like that, I suppose saying sugar alcohols could be the cause of keto diarrhea might be an understatement.
Keeping these sugar substitutes in a keto plan could not only destroy gut bacteria and raise blood sugar levels, but they could also send your entire GI tract into a tizzy.
While we recommend Keto Decoded Members skip most keto-friendly food-like products for best results, I understand these foods slip in every now and then. If you want to avoid anything from slipping out of your backside, read the label of the low carb foods before you buy.
Avoid or limit products with ingredients that end in “ol” when digestive distress is an issue. A few of the popular sugar alcohols that cause digestive distress include: sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, and xylitol.
Even if the mere sight of sugar alcohols doesn’t make you wince in pain, it’s still a good thing to minimize these products. Avoiding artificially sweetened foods can keep your gut microbiome happy, help control sugar cravings, and help you avoid unnecessary blood sugar spikes.
One of the best parts of keto is indulging in the formerly forbidden dairy products previously off limits. Most conventional diets recommend avoiding foods like cheese, heavy cream, and yogurt because of the fat content. That’s precisely the reason dairy often becomes a staple on a low-carb diet. Most cheeses, creams, and some forms of yogurt, are high in fat and low in carbs.
But if you were lactose intolerant before starting keto, cutting back on your carb intake doesn’t magically cure your body of its indifference to dairy. In fact, even if you didn’t realize you and lactose weren’t BFF’s pre-keto, it could still be the cause of your emergency evacuations.
Increasing dairy intake, as many do on keto, can lead to negative side effects like diarrhea. You may have a small intolerance to dairy, which means you may not even realize it has any effect until you eat too much dairy.
If you believe dairy could be the cause of your loose stools, try an elimination diet. Remove all cheese, creams, and yogurts from your plan for at least a month. If you notice bathroom visits become less frequent, then you know you’re on the right track.
If once you add dairy back in you’re back to regular bathroom runs with the runs, then you likely found your culprit!
Too Much Magnesium
A good way to send unsuspecting keto dieters rushing for the toilet is by supplementing with too much magnesium. Even though most experts recommend you supplement with magnesium on keto, more is not always better.
This is especially true if you lean towards a catabolic imbalance, as many chronic dieters do. Soft and loose stool is only one indicator of a catabolic imbalance. To understand all of the validators of this imbalance, take the free Keto Digestion Course. The course is extremely valuable when it comes to customizing a keto diet that’s right for you.
Even though a catabolic state is normal during the day, some people can get stuck in this metabolic state most of the time. Cutting carbs low and eating some of the healthy fats recommended on keto can make this imbalance worse, as can supplementing with too much magnesium.
Even if you lean towards a catabolic state most of the time, that doesn’t mean you should avoid magnesium entirely. It does mean you should cut back your dosage. Always use a high quality form of magnesium, like Magnesium Malate sold on Natural Reference, since not all magnesium supplements are created equal.
And while improving chemistry imbalances isn’t talked about much in the keto mainstream, it’s one of the biggest steps that helped me lose 100 pounds after struggling with yo-yo diets for decades. Just because you don’t understand digestion, don’t ignore this important piece of the health puzzle.
Is Keto Flu Diarrhea A Thing?
Some who are new to a keto diet report diarrhea as one of the unpleasant side effects when switching over to a high fat plan.
Other keto flu symptoms include nausea, bloating, headaches, low energy levels, and increased cravings. Basically any flu-like symptoms you can think of can happen when your body burns through all of it’s glycogen stores to switch over to its new primary energy source of fat.
While your body can go through an entire array of fluctuations at the start of a keto diet, I don’t necessarily believe that ketosis diarrhea is a stand alone problem. When it comes to the keto flu and diarrhea – I believe this is your body’s way of adjusting to the heavy increase in fat. The best way to help your body adjust is to ramp up fat intake at a slower pace.
Learn more about how to avoid the keto flu to help make your keto transition easier. In the meantime, here’s a few tweaks you can make:
Great ways to avoid keto flu side effects:
- Avoid an electrolyte imbalance by supplementing properly for your chemistry.
- Drink enough water without drinking too much water. Please understand that drinking too much water can wash away much needed electrolytes, so find the right balance.
- Have 1-2 cups of a high quality bone broth to help balance electrolytes.
- Keep carbohydrate intake low to help transition from burning carbs to burning body fat instead.
- Avoid cheat days while becoming fat adapted. Not even occasional cheat meals are a good idea at this point – especially since some people experience diarrhea after eating carbs on keto.
- Eat enough fat to transition into ketosis. Keep in mind, MCT Oil isn’t the best idea right now since this can loosens stools.
- Keep protein intake moderate since high protein can kick some sensitive individuals out of ketosis.
- Avoid seed oils, no matter how many times the American Heart Association tells you these fats help you avoid heart disease.
- Avoid too many sweeteners since artificial sweeteners can keep some keto dieters out of ketosis.
Sludgy Bile Flow
Finally, we get to the piece de resistance of this blog. (Hopefully you read that with the fancy French accent as was intended when I typed out the phrase piece de resistance). That fancy phrase is code for – thick and sticky bile flow is my jam! But mostly because I dealt with this issue for decades, yet had zero clue.
Throughout my two decade weight loss struggle, I suffered through medical conditions like painful gas, cystic acne, and nausea. These conditions worsened anytime I cut out carbs.
Even though the mainstream touts the health benefits of a balanced diet, that so-called healthy diet is what aided and abetted my sludgy bile flow.
That’s because too many whole grains, combined with medications to cover the symptoms from diet foods made from too many whole grains, led to thick and sticky bile flow. When this happens, your body doesn’t have the best ability to break down healthy fats you eat.
PS – birth control is the worst when it comes to sludging up bile and it can indeed make you fat … but so can getting pregnant and having a baby. So choose your fat, I guess 😉
Add in the fact that I wasn’t eating a whole lot of healthy fats while following low calorie plans, and this set me up for the perfect storm of bile flow gone wrong.
I tried all of the over the counter stuff, like Pepto, antacids, and Gas-X, yet my digestive system was always distressed. I was on all of the acne solutions, including two rounds of the heavy duty Accutane – yet I had chronic cystic acne well into my early 30’s.
Nothing cleared up any of these symptoms for good until I took the steps to un-sludge my bile flow.
How to Stop Keto Diarrhea
While you can take steps mentioned in this article, like backing off dairy or avoiding sugar alcohols, and you can remain hopeful that’s your reason for keto diarrhea – nothing will work for most people as well as taking the steps to improve bile flow.
This, of course, assumes your bile flow is sticky. If you’ve spent any length of time battling the bulge, it’s safe to assume it is!
Starting a low carb diet is a great first step. Also, getting rid of grains and processed foods that slow down bile can make a noticeable difference. Unfortunately, that’s not always the only step necessary.
If you’ve read any of my books, you’ve heard me mention Beet Flow. This is a highly concentrated beet green supplement that can help bile flow more smoothly. Adding this to your supplement routine can stop diarrhea in its tracks for most people in the matter of a few days.
What if you’re like me and your bile flow is extra stubborn? You can also try the suppository Xeneplex.
Yes, I said suppository. Yes, that means you put it in your butt. Sometimes if you want to not run away from social situations screaming in pain, putting a little something-something in your butt is what it takes … or something like that.
You could also try a coffee enema to get sludgy bile moving – but that sounds like a whole lotta something-something in your butt, so I prefer the Xeneplex route.
Get the directions on how to add Beet Flow here. If you’re interested in adding Xeneplex, take the free Keto Digestion course since there are instructions in the course beyond some blogger telling you to stick pills in your butt.
Conclusion: Does Keto Give You Diarrhea?
I’m at a bit of a loss on how to end this blog. I just told you to put pills in your butt, and you didn’t even buy me dinner first.
Let’s just go with the standard – we’re all different and keto diarrhea can occur in different people for different reasons. Surely something jumped out at you and made you scream “A-HA!” as you were reading this blog. If that’s the case, try that. If nothing jumps out, then start with the steps to improve bile flow.
No one ever started these steps and regretted the amazing improvements they saw in their health – so that’s a great place to start.
Want More Scoop When It Comes to Your Poop?
Register for our free Keto Masterclass to learn how to be consistent with keto so you get results! Digestive problems always seem to top the list of reasons people can’t stick to keto.
You’ll also learn 3 BIG mistakes most dieters make when it comes to weight loss. If you make these mistakes on a daily basis like I did, it will be hard to stick to a high-fat lifestyle long term.
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