Pooping and Constipation on Keto Diet

everyone-poopsIt’s an uncomfortable topic, but I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t Google this early on while starting the keto diet!

When you dramatically change your diet from carbs/starch to fat, it’s reasonable to wonder how it’s going to affect your poop habits.

After all, everyone poops.

What you’ll find are three common observations:

  • You don’t poop every day
  • You poop less
  • You are more “normal”

There was also a disturbing find called the “keto glass poo” or affectionately known as the KGP.

Apparently, if you hold it in too long, your fecal waste becomes dense and literally crystallizes. I don’t even want to think about what this means for your asshole.

I’m happy to announce I have never encountered the dreaded KGP.

In fact, after reading such horror, I took my diet choices even more seriously. My goal was to eat high-quality foods that keep me regular.

My Pooping Experience

I poop daily. I try to poop around the same time, not long after waking up. Every now and then, I’ll go for round two if I ate a lot of food the day before or ate later in the evening.

But compared to my high-carb diet self, I absolutely go on a more normalized schedule and my stomach (entire body for that matter) feels better.

While eating a lot of carbs, I’d often feel crappy throughout the day until mid-afternoon, and sometimes vacated my bowels 3-4x per day. This was a big reason for wanting to eat healthier.

The older I got, the less I could handle unhealthy meals.

The Science of Digestion

I’m not here to give you an impossible-to-follow lesson, but we can increase our understanding of pooping by learning about digestion.

The first thing to discuss is simple weight.

Let’s say that you are transitioning from a high-carb diet to the ketogenic diet for weight loss, as I did. For this example, assume you were eating 2500 calories before, and you are going to eat about 2000 calories on keto.

Consider that fat provides 9 calories per gram, while carbs and protein only provide 4 calories per gram.

Doing simple math, if we assume the high-carb diet was 50% carbs, 25% fat and 25% protein, this results in 313 grams of carbs, 70 grams of fat, and 156 grams of protein. 2500 calories would equal 539 grams of food, without water weight.

For the keto diet numbers, let’s assume we’re shooting for 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs. This would be 156 grams of fat, 100 grams of protein, and 50 grams carbs. 2000 calories equals 306 grams of food, without water weight.

So the combination of eating fewer calories, plus eating more calories from fat, you will eat a much lower volume of food on the ketogenic diet if you are attempting to lose weight.

I can’t point to a study proving this, but I’m going to guess less volume of food in = less volume of poop out.

But we can also think about how your body digests different types of food.

Breaking food down into the macronutrients, it’s known that simple carbs are digested the fastest, and thus spike your blood sugar within minutes. Complex carbs and proteins take a bit longer to digest. And fats take the longest to pass through your stomach!

Not only are you eating less food, but the food you eat on the keto diet will take longer to pass through your body.

This explains why people don’t poop daily, or at least less often when they transition to keto.

Important note: Your poop should not look oily or contain fat. This is a sign that your body isn’t properly breaking down the fat and may be a cause for concern. Consult with a doctor if this is the case.

Staying Regular

How do I do it?

  • Eat Fiber – Some people are so strict with eating fat, that they purposely ignore carbs with a lot of fiber. Not me. I eat vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, psyllium husk (a.k.a. Metamucil). I’d guess I eat around 20-30 grams of fiber per day.
  • Drink Water – Staying hydrated flushes a lot of bad shit out of your body, literally and figuratively. Your body requires water for digestion, so it’s especially important after you eat. My answer to almost every ailment these days is drinking more water. I usually feel noticeably better within hours.
  • Exercise/Walk – Staying in motion increases your metabolism, and keeps your body functioning properly. I still think you should focus on diet first, but take a few small steps towards living an active lifestyle.
  • Drink Coffee – Almost without question, if I didn’t have a good poo upon waking, I need to go 15-60 minutes after having my morning cup of coffee! Whatever compound is causing this, I can’t say. But it works for me.

So there you have it. Don’t be alarmed if you aren’t pooping as much, but do your best to eat fiber, drink water and be active.

If you can manage these things, you shouldn’t have to stress about keeping your body and bum regular on the keto diet!