Constipation On Keto- Detailed Analysis: Complete Keto Overview

constipation on keto

What is a ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic diet is a diet having

  • Low carbohydrates
  • High fats
  • Sufficient protein

They are also known as low carb diet, keto diet, and low carb high fat (LCHF). The Keto diet highly forces the body to burn fats rather than the burning carbs present or taken. While on a ketogenic diet whole body fulfills the energy requirements from useless fats residing inside the body. Therefore, the keto diet results in severe fat burning in the body and ultimately results in healthy efficient weight loss.

A ketogenic diet is a restricted carbohydrate intake diet compensating by taking high-fat foods and a moderate amount of protein.  People are now getting tired of diets that pull out no improvement or feeling much better. In the 1970s, the new Atkins diet craze for low carbs popularized, leading to the south beach diet and the ultimately ketogenic diet.

Carbs contribute only 5-10 percent of the calories, and significant dietary calories are consumed through fats, i.e., 70-80 percent, and proteins 10-20 percent. The liver produces ketones when carbs are deficient in the body. And these ketones are used as a source of energy for the body, consuming stored fats. Hence, termed the “keto diet.”  People are taking low carbs diet ordeal more weight loss over three months while the results get almost similar to conventional low-fat diet over a successive period of 3 months. 

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I am often thinking of why low carbs diet is more efficient for weight loss in a short period? As a low-carb diet is high in fat and protein content, it has a satiating solid effect. Eliminating carbs such as rice, bread, cereals, pasta, and potatoes from your diet instead becomes boring to eat, restricting choices and considerably limiting calorie intake. The weight loss effect is evident with hunger reducing the effect of ketone bodies, lower insulin levels, and increased calorie expenditure to convert fats and proteins into glucose (source of energy).

 Early weight loss with constipation on the keto diet is due to the loss of water rather than the fat loss due to the depletion of glycogen stores. But the main concern with the keto diet is that people tend to eat too many proteins and lousy quality fats, and the least quantity of fruits and vegetables.

Low carbohydrates in blood provide commendatory triglycerides and High-density lipoprotein levels and increase LDL levels over a long time. While on keto, multivitamin supplements also should be taken regularly to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Most prominent being vitamin B, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber.

People consuming low carbs diet complain of bad breath, muscle fatigue, constipation, headaches, irritability, and lack of concentration.  These adversities make compliance difficult and challenging due to limited food choices. Kidney stones and gout are linked with constipation on the keto diet. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels are badly affected, taking excessive saturated fats. Adding bulky fiber-rich meals such as fruits and vegetables shoot up the feelings of fullness, delay hunger pangs, and manage weight loss for a long-term basis.

Ketogenesis:

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Ketone bodies are generated by the breakdown of the fatty acids released from adipose tissue in stress or fasting condition. Lipolysis of adipocytes is invigorated by the beta-adrenergic catecholamines and glucagon while inhibited by insulin. Hence, suppressed post-prandial and most active during fasting. In a non-fasting state, lipoprotein lipase acts on VLDL and chylomicrons, increasing the concentration of circulating fatty acids. 

Three key enzymes regulate ketone body formation, i.e., hormone-sensitive lipase, which influences the rate of adipocyte lipolysis, acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase is indirectly linked to determine the rate of entry of fatty acids into the hepatocyte mitochondria. In contrast, the third enzyme is the HMG CoA synthase, which converts acetoacetyl CoA to HMG CoA.

Give it a Read: The Keto Diet: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Keto

Ketosis:

Mitochondria of extra-hepatic organs are the primary site for ketosis, a process where ketone bodies produce energy by getting converted into acetyl CoA. This process is based on two steps. The first step is converting AcAc to acetoacetyl CoA, and in the subsequent step, acetoacetyl CoA changed into acetyl CoA. The former step is catalyzed by the SCOT (succinyl CoA-oxoacid transferase), which determines the rate of ketosis.

Weight loss and the ketogenic diet:

In today’s world, obesity, overweight, and certain other metabolic diseases have become the most significant health problems, and a vast population is prone to them. At least 2.8 billion adults die due to problems raised because of obesity each year. Many diets have been designed and followed, and few of the diets are backed up by research.

The benefits of a ketogenic diet, on the other hand, are well supported by science as a ketogenic diet is high in proteins, moderate in proteins, and extremely low in carbs. And hence the body is forced to gain energy from reserved excess fats of the body and breakdown them into metabolic products leading to excretion. The ketogenic diet makes the body enter the metabolic state called ketosis.

Then the body breakdown the body fats and stored fats in muscles and lymphatics into ketones, and energy is derived from these molecules. After few weeks, the body and brain get proficient in turning body fats for energy. This diet also lowers insulin levels in the body. Staple foods utilized in the ketogenic diet include meat, fish, butter, eggs, cheese, heavy cream, oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, and low carbs diet. And all carbs’ sources are eliminated, including grains, rice, beans, potatoes, sweets, milk, cereals, and even some high carbs veggies.

Evidence for weight loss by ketogenic diet:

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Strong evidence lies that constipation on a ketogenic diet is very efficient for weight loss. Researches have made it clear. It can help you lose fat and preserve muscle mass, and improve health conditions rapidly once the body gets immune to it. In one study, many people on a ketogenic diet lost 4.8 times more weight than those on a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Triglyceride’s level improves to the optimum level, and good cholesterol is also enhanced in the body. Bad cholesterol, i.e., low HDL, was removed. High fats, moderate protein, and low carbs diet promotes weight loss in the following manner:

Higher protein intake:

ketogenic diet sometimes leads to high protein content in dietary food. High proteins boost metabolism, reduces appetite, and change several weight regulatory hormones. It increases hunger hormones, i.e., peptide YY, cholecystokinin, while reducing fat-storage hormone, i.e., ghrelin.

Food elimination:

When the carbs intake has limited the food, intake is also limited due to decreased food eating options and variety. Dietary fiber intake in daily diet is also increased in the diet, which leads to the feeling of fullness as not digested in the human gastrointestinal tract. Hence, low calories are crucial to weight loss. Here constipation on the keto diet might not suit all.

Gluconeogenesis:

The carbs taken in diet are reduced to smaller components, i.e., glucose in the body to utilize energy. But in constipation on the keto diet, when carbs are reduced, no enough glucose is available to the body. Then the body converts fats and proteins into carbs, i.e., glucose, by a process known as gluconeogenesis. It burns many additional fats of the body.

Decreased fat storage:

Researches have shown that the ketogenic diet reduces lipogenesis, which is converting sugars into fats. At the same time, it promotes the lipolysis process, which is the process of breakdown of body stored fats to gain energy.

Appetite-suppressant:

Due to more increased consumption of fats and dietary fibers, ketogenic fibers can lead to a feeling of fullness. As a result, food consumption is decreased. It is also supported by positive changes in hunger hormones released from the hypothalamus, including leptin and ghrelin.

Improved insulin sensitivity:

Ketogenic diets can dramatically improve insulin sensitivity resulting in more rapid uptake of available glucose across cells leading to increased metabolism for energy and hence increased fuel consumption.

A ketogenic diet can be a victorious weight loss tool or method compared to any other low-calorie, low-fat diet, low protein, high carbs diet can be beneficial.

How do low carbs diet help?

Low carb diets contain carbohydrates in a considerable range of 0 to 260g/day. Generally, carbs in a low-carb diet contain 100g/day or contribute less than 30% of energy from carbohydrates. Diets having a restricted content of carbohydrates are based on the surplus proportion of other macronutrients referred to as “high-protein” and “high-fat” diets.  However, all low carbs diet is not necessary to be high in protein and fat contents, rather depend on the caloric restrictions and food choices.

The ketogenic low carbs diet does not have fixed macronutrient ratios. At the same time, all low-carb diets are not ketogenic. The number of carbohydrates is not fixed to induce ketosis, but the keto diet term is often linked to diets with less than 50g/day of carbs intake. Studies show that serum and urinary ketones levels are elevated in people taking carbs in the range of 58g/day and 192g/day.

The composition of macronutrients is essential for the induction of ketosis. A study conducted by Yudkin suggested that ketosis occurs when fat intake exceeds twice the carbohydrate intake and half the protein intake. Thus, restriction of carbohydrate is a significant determinant of ketosis instead of total calorie restrictions.

The mechanism by which weight loss occurs through ketogenic diet:

Different mechanisms are proposed to explain weight loss by the keto diet. Initially, weight loss is due to the diuresis effect, due to glycogen depletion and ketonuria, increasing renal sodium and water loss. Glycogen is often and mainly stored in the liver system and muscles, along with water components. The hypothesis is presented, which suggests ketones suppress appetite. And ketogenic diet has a crucial metabolic role by necessitating gluconeogenesis (a less energy-efficient pathway compared to the glycolytic pathway).

The mitochondrial uncoupling of proteins occurs, resulting in ATP wasting as heat. Limited food choices, less palatability of low carbs diet, taking high protein, relatively enhance the satiating effect and thermogenic effect. Adipose tissue lipolysis is increased, reducing the circulating insulin levels. They are increasing fatty acid oxidation.  These procedures are not just linked to the ketogenic diet. Apply to all low carbohydrate diets.

Thus, it is concluded that weight loss is associated with calorie restriction, long diet duration, and higher baseline body weight, but not just restricted to the reduced carbohydrate content.

Medical conditions associated with the keto diet:

A bulk of literature is available suggesting using the keto diet to treat refractory epilepsy in pediatrics. At the same time, beneficial effects of a ketogenic low carbohydrate diet include diabetes type 2, polycystic ovary syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and narcolepsy.

Hypotheses have been presented about ketosis being beneficial in some cancers and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer’s diseases. And due to the effects of glucose, lipids, and obesity ketogenic diet is ideal for treating metabolic syndromes.

Health risks associated with keto diet:

Minor adverse effects commonly associated with weight loss journey through keto diet are constipation, headache, halitosis, muscle cramps, rash, and general weakness.  Some studies showed impairment of neuropsychological functioning.

Serious adverse effects of the keto diet include acute pancreatitis, exacerbation of panic disorder, severe metabolic acidosis, severe hypokalemia. In patients with epilepsy, additional effects such as electrolyte imbalances, infections, hematological disturbances, and hepatitis are even reported.

Can the keto diet cause constipation?

Constipation On Keto

People following the keto diet often experience mild constipation, which usually lasts for few days to weeks. According to the research study conducted by the National Institute of Diabetes, people having constipation experience one or more of the following symptoms separately or altogether. These include:

  • Hard, dry or lumpy stools
  • Pain or difficulty in passage of stools
  • Less than three bowel movements per week
  • Incomplete evacuation, i.e., the partial passage of stool, happens.

Drastic changes when occurring in a person’s diet, the digestive system is negatively affected. The body also needs plenty of time to adjust to the changes in diet. While gradually transitioning to the low carbs diet might give the body time to adjust to the changes and helps prevent undesirable digestive tract problems. Consuming 20-50g of carbohydrates per day is significantly less than the recommended daily body requirements of 300g of carbohydrates per day.

Keto is restricting all refined and non-refined carbohydrates, including high fiber foods, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Lack of fiber in the diet adds no bulk to stool, and feces hardens, creating difficulty for passage of stools. Fibers in diet do not break up in the digestive tract, hence, staying in the GI tract and creating bulky stools withdrawing water from the intestines. This added bulk and water keeps stools soft and regular bowel movements. Constipation is more likely to occur without fiber.

Treatment of constipation due to keto diet:

Transitioning the body towards keto, resulting in some side effects clear up once our body adjusts to the change. Perhaps, these side effects might influence people to discontinue the diet. People experiencing persistent constipation or those who have just begun with their keto journey should manage their symptoms by staying hydrated, exercising regularly, taking walks after meals, eating meals high in fiber, and low in carbs cauliflower, cabbage, and berries.

If symptoms don’t improve with lifestyle and dietary changes, low carbs laxative such as polyethylene glycol is used.  Fiber-based supplements relieve constipation, but these contain carbohydrates hindering the formation of ketone bodies. Before starting any medication, consult healthcare professionals.

Preventing constipation:

Transitioning to the keto diet could be more accessible by lowering the side effects, such as constipation. The following points must be focused on while on the keto diet. I am drinking plenty of water and avoiding simple carbs. Chia seeds, berries, and vegetables which are sources of low carbs and high in fiber are added to the diet: processed foods, fast foods, or any food which might upset the digestive system and should be avoided. But most important is the gradual daily reduction of carbs over few weeks.  

Ketogenic diet hacked.

Ultimate hacks to make your keto diet way easier to carry out than ever before:

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Some super easy ways to follow up keto diet:

Use eggs and pepperoni over cereal:

We all know breakfast is an energetic meal of the day as it provides energy to be productive and highly efficient throughout the day long. But sugar-based breakfast to start the day results in high-calorie intake like cereals.

So, by switching to eggs and pepperoni in the breakfast. It is high protein and low carb essential for a low carb diet.

Rice pasta replaced with veggie rice or pasta:

These two staple products rich in carbs and calories, so replacing these two with a healthier version of food that is cauliflower rice veggie pasta increases vitamins and minerals and low carbs.

Avoiding acidic foods and drinks:

Acidic foods and dairy products such as alcoholic beverages, sodas, and coffee hurt our health and alter the alkalinity and pH of bodily fluids essential for human health—no need to cut off entirely. Just avoid a bit.

Regular flour replaced with coconut flour or gram flour:

Just as replacing rice and pasta, similarly replace the regular flour with gram flour or coconut flour. It enhances the flavor as well as can be used in the baking to treat.

Buying vegetables in bulk:

the most valuable and affordable way to save money is to buy vegetables in bulk and store them in the freezer to maintain quality for a longer run.

Consuming more vegetables in meals causes lower carbs content and high vitamin intake.

It is to make sure that we need to stick or follow up the weekly plans while on the keto diet. In this way, you know the exact amount of ingredients and calories of the entire week.

Get an accountability partner:

To have a partner while being on the keto diet is good. He/she can help you to succeed in challenging times while being on a diet. Friend helps you through the journey quickly.

Choose tasty keto carbs:

Times turn tough in the start as suffering from bad carbs withdrawal. Rather than curling up crying or ending up being depressed, try eating healthy carbs, which aid in weight loss even. Such as blueberry pancakes or coconut pies work best up to the task.

Why ketogenic diet? The benefits

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As explained above, when you are on a ketogenic diet, your whole body switches its fuel supply to be fulfilled from fats residing useless inside your body. Thus, ultimately ketogenic diet becomes a cause of dramatic fat burning and production of ketones inside the body. Here are the benefits of the ketogenic diet.

Weight loss

When the body switches its fuel supply to run its circuit with fats inside the body, the breakdown of fats starts to produce energy molecules to supply to the body. This burning of fats causes weight loss dramatically. The best way to lose bulk weight is by fasting (Not to eat anything), but it cannot last forever, so an alternative way is to switch to a low-carb diet.

Mental Focus

Our brains can happily run on ketones produced from fats by burning them to get their required energy rather than running on burning carbs. When the brain runs on ketones made from fat, the mind gets more focused, and the body gets more energized compared to when the brain runs on carbs.

Increase in physical stamina

Carbohydrates stored in a body can only last for few hours so as the energy gained by them. Contrary to it, the energy carried out from fats stored in the body can last for weeks, even months, as fats can be stored in a body for the long term. As a ketogenic diet is a low-carb and high-fat diet, it can immensely increase your physical stamina.

Control on epilepsy without drugs:

Children suffering from seizures and epilepsy are referred to follow up this special diet with high good cholesterol content, i.e., HLDL and triglycerides and low carbs in the diet. As a result, the body fuel is mainly obtained from fats and not from carbs, i.e., glucose, which helps control seizures in some people who have epilepsy. And this diet is mainly recommended to children whose seizures are not controlled by medication. It is prescribed by physicians and carefully monitored according to the patient’s condition.

Reverse type 2 diabetes:

Keto diet makes the body utilize fats as body fuel instead of carbs as this is low carbs high fats diet. It makes our body potentially the way our body stores and uses energy, easing diabetes symptoms. It serves as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. The keto diet may improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while reducing insulin need in the body. Most diabetic patients are overweight, and the keto diet is efficient in making weight loss by using stored body fats for energy consumption. As a result, the type 2 diabetes condition is reversed.

 Keto diet plan

A Keto diet plan is an excellent follow-up to remain healthy and lose body weight. But before knowing the keto diet plan and not have constipation on keto, you should need the following rules for the keto diet;

Eliminate carbs:

Before adding any of the food into your diet, you should check the number of carbs in it. Also, check food labels carefully. Aim for 30 grams of carbs per day to minimize your daily calories.

Stock up on staples:

Staples should be listed and stick to it with slight alterations. Buy meat, whole eggs, nuts, cheese oils, avocados, oily fish, and creams as these are staples for the keto diet (high in fats).

Eat your veggies:

Fat sources are pretty high in calories, so base each of your meals on low carbs veggies to fill up the plate and give you the feeling of fullness.

Experiment:

You can experiment with making new diet food for yourself; hence keto diet can be more enjoyable. You can make keto pasta, loaves of bread, muffins, brownies, puddings, ice creams, etc.

Build a plan:

It can be hard to find low carbs meals when you are on the go or traveling around. So as with any diet, it is essential to have a plan and go-to snacks or meals.

 Track progress:

Take photos, measurements and check your weight every 3 to 4 weeks. If progress stops, try reducing portions of meal sizes slightly.

Replace minerals and supplements:

Ketosis develops in this diet which changes your fluid and mineral balance. Due to this reason, salt your diet and take electrolytes and add magnesium to your diet. You can take ketone salt supplements or MCT oil (5-10 grams) or use coconut oil regularly to boost up.

Be consistent:

There is no shortcut to success. With any diet, consistency is the most critical factor.

You should monitor ketone levels in urine or blood since it let you know whether you are keeping carbs levels down sufficiently to achieve ketosis.

Ketogenic diet meal plan:

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Ketogenic diet recipes and meals should be kept simple and easy to prepare. Check your daily caloric intake and make the ketogenic dishes.

Some diet recipes have more carbs than others, so a mixed and matched diet plan is made. You can get constipation on keto if the mixing of various amounts is not m.  Now take a look at my ketogenic diet food list.

Breakfast:

The keto diet has the lowest carbs content, so carbs managed to be taken during the daytime as for breakfast. Smoothies are a bit higher in carbs. Don’t eat the fruits with omelets if they fit into your macros, but raspberries are loaded with fibers to bring down your net carbs content and give a feeling of fullness, reducing appetite.

  • Raspberries protein pancakes
  • Raspberries protein shake
  • Egg muffin cups
  • Green smoothies
  • Low carbs quiche
  • Low carbs fruits and cheese muffins
  • Low carbs smoothies
  • Low carbs fruits
  • Black coffee
  • Protein shake recipes
  • Scrambled eggs

Lunch:

for lunch, most of the time, I chose spinach salad as it has more fibers than lettuce. Additionally, it won’t go soggy in your lunch. Following meals can be included in your meals;

  • Spinach and peri chicken
  • Keto Cobb salad
  • Fat burning ginger beef
  • Egg muffin cups
  • Steamed fish with hummus
  • Coconut shrimps
  • Chicken and cabbage soup
  • Butter paneer chicken curry
  • Lamb chops
  • Thin crust low carbs pizza

Dinner:

I want a lot of spices to make things a bit more exotics and tasty for dinner. I also keep bit carbs but very low. This meal could include;

  • Keto stir fry beef
  • Keto pasta
  • Steamed fish with veggies
  • Spinach and tomato soup
  • Low carbs keto bun burgers
  • Cheese spinach omelet
  • Low carb chicken salad
  • Low carb egg salad
  • Broccoli slaw with thin crust low carbs pizza

Deserts:

  • Paleo chia pudding
  • Whipped cream frosting
  • Buttercream frosting with raspberries pancakes
  • Low carbs coconut macaroons
  • Low carb chocolate chip muffins
  • No-bake cheesecakes
  • Low carb peanut butter cookies
  • Low carb pie crust

Ketogenic snacks:

  • keto deviled eggs
  • egg muffin cups
  • flatbread
  • basil pesto
  • mock chili corn chips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Stuffing’s
  • High fiber rolls
  • Low carbs biscuits
  • Tasty salmon spread
  • Cheese onion biscuits
  • Cheese crackers
  • Low carbs avocado sauce
  • Low carbs appetizers

Conclusion:

Going on a diet is fantastic if appropriately followed. The keto diet will benefit a lot as constipation on keto is quite common. It is the only reason for weight loss as the body is made up of carbohydrates and gives a fuller look. For the best keto plans, consult your physician before opting for any plan available.

Also Read: Sacred Heart Diet- The Complete 7-Day Diet Plan: Pros and Cons

Arwa Ali Asghar

My name is Arwa Ali Asghar, and I currently work as an associate professor. Having the degree of MBBS makes me learn the wonders of science and medicine. I love to experiment with different techniques and hence thought to enter content writing as it is the place to churn my thoughts into reality. This site is the place for me to share the knowledge and update the audience about recent developments. It also entails various articles catering to all age groups and both genders to learn about nutrition, health, and benefits.

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