It’s an uncomfortable topic, but I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t search Google for “keto constipation” and “can’t poop on keto” during my initial weeks following the low-carb ketogenic diet.
The fact that you’re here tells me you’re in the same circumstance, and hopefully, we’ll solve this problem naturally 🙂
When you dramatically change your diet from carbs/starch to fat on keto, it’s reasonable to wonder how it’s going to affect your poop habits.
There are 3 common observations:
#1) You experience constipation in the initial weeks on keto
#2) You poop less (both volume and frequency)
#3) You become more “normal” once your body adjusts
There was also a disturbing find called the “keto glass poo” or affectionately known as the KGP.
Apparently, if you hold it for too long, your fecal waste becomes dense and literally crystallizes.
I don’t want to think about what this means for your asshole.
I’m happy to say I have never encountered the dreaded KGP. After reading such horror, I took my diet choices even more seriously.
Your main goal must be to eat the highest-quality foods that will keep your digestive health in order.
#1 Secret Ingredient to Avoid Constipation
You may know of it as brand-name Metamucil, but you can buy this 100% fiber dietary supplement under the plant-name, Organic Psyllium Husk on Amazon.
It comes in powdered form which is better if you’d rather drink it down vs. use as a baking ingredient where it provides texture.
Viva Naturals also offers capsules for the easiest solution.
The addition does WONDERS to remedy the quality and consistency of your bowel movements.
When it’s added to liquid, it begins to thicken and almost forms a gel. This is part of what works so well as it passes through your body.
Combining psyllium husk with adequate water consumption is the best natural laxative that I’ve ever experienced.
I don’t want to get graphic, yet I can’t help it…
Don’t be surprised if your turds don’t leave any poo residue on your bum.
Psyllium husk shits are one of life’s simple pleasures.
Keto Diet & Constipation
Your body takes time to transition to burning fat and new foods. You’ve likely trained it to process high carb foods, and to some degree, healthy foods may seem foreign.
A byproduct of this is you shouldn’t expect to feel like a new person 5 days into your low-carb experience.
It could take weeks for your body to adapt to its new diet.
I clearly remember days of feeling constipated and bloated at the beginning. During this time, it was difficult to eat a normal amount of calories.
Sometimes 600 calories would fill me for the day.
Eventually, this passed and I settled into an eating routine.
However, I didn’t begin feeling a major uptick in my energy level until 6-8 weeks after starting keto.
If you haven’t reached that point, I strongly recommend sticking it out despite any short-term negative symptoms.
The Science of Digestion
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 most of us do.
Assume you were eating 2500 calories before, and you are going to eat 2000 calories on keto.
Consider that fat provides 9 calories per gram, while carbs & protein only provide 4 calories per gram.
The high-carb diet:
- 50% Carbs = 313 g
- 25% Fat = 70 g
- 25% Protein = 156 g
- TOTAL: 2500 Calories = 539 g
For the keto diet, the breakdown might be:
- 70% Fat = 156 g
- 20% Protein = 100 g
- 10% Carbs = 50 g
- TOTAL: 2000 Calories = 306 g
This is a 20% reduction in calories, and a 43% reduction in food weight (excluding water).
With the combination of eating fewer calories, plus eating more calories from fat, you eat a much lower volume of food on the ketogenic diet.
My super scientific theory is less volume of food in = less volume of poop out.
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 stool 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.
Improve Your Gut Health
One of the best ways to cure constipation long-term is by giving yourself a small dose of fermented foods every day.
Popular fermented foods include: yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, apple cider vinegar, and kombucha.
Wine and beer also fall into this list – but they are not exactly keto-friendly!
My morning routine includes throwing back a half glass of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before having a cup of coffee.
My Pooping Experience
I poop daily. I try to poo around the same time, not long after waking up.
Every now and then, I’ll go to the bathroom for round #2 if I ate a lot of food the day before or ate late in the evening.
Compared to my high-carb self, I absolutely go to the bathroom on a more normalized schedule. My stomach feels better, and so does my entire body.
While eating carbs, I’d feel crappy throughout the day until mid-afternoon, and sometimes evacuated my bowels 3-4x per day.
This was a big factor for wanting to eat healthier outside of weight loss.
The older I got, the less I could handle unhealthy meals.
I’m a firm believer that health is not only about nutrition and exercise.
Sleep and stress also play a massive role in how your body operates daily.
Feeling your best is achieved through a balancing act of all the essential metrics to your overall physical and mental health.
A significant change in any one of them can negate progress made by following a low-carb diet.
Not to mention that it could contribute to subpar bowel movements!
How to Stay Regular
- 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. This equals 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. Take a few small steps everyday 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, especially at the beginning.
Do your best to eat some fiber, drink zero calorie beverages, and be active.
If you manage these important areas, you will keep constipation at bay and achieve better gut health on the keto diet.
P.S. Give organic psyllium husk (100% fiber) a shot to seriously end your constipation!