The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular ways to lose weight and gain health. It involves eating more fat and protein at the expense of carbohydrates, usually until you reach your desired weight. It is a diet that can be really good for your body, and which provides numerous benefits, starting with a better balance of blood sugar, up to the reduction of the risk of heart disease, passing through the prevention of insulin resistance.
However, some people experience side effects when trying this diet. For example, diarrhea during keto is not so uncommon, indeed, it can be said that it is one of the most frequent keto diet problems.
In this article we will deal with the main issues related to diet ketoand how you can prevent them.
Ketogenic diet contraindications
As we just mentioned, diarrhea is one of the major side effects of the keto diet. It is caused by food and water moving too fast through the digestive system. This implies that the food remains wholly or partly undigested, and therefore, among other things, neither energy nor nutrients are absorbed.
Loose stools and diarrhea are absolutely common in all types of diets, including the intermittent fasting. However, while in the latter case it is advisable to start eating something immediately, as diarrhea during fasting - that is, in the hours when you are only drinking water - can cause dehydration and fainting, in the case of the keto diet you don't have to worry.
In fact, together with headaches, exhaustion and a swollen belly, digestive problems are the normal reaction to the new diet, so much so that they have even earned a specific name: keto fever.
Diarrhea while on keto
The ketogenic diet usually doesn't directly cause diarrhea, as you aren't eating anything that can directly negatively stimulate the digestive tract. It's unlikely that you get diarrhea, then, just by eating the foods recommended on the keto diet.
However, it is probable that you have attacks of diarrhea due to one of the following situations that we are going to list.
Too many electrolytes
Electrolytes are commonly consumed as part of the keto diet because they help keep you hydrated and help ensure you're getting enough magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium. However, an excess of electrolytes can cause diarrhea, especially when taken on an empty stomach. This is because your body tries to maintain a balance between the fluids inside and outside the cells.
Therefore, if you take in too many electrolytes, your body may try to eliminate them through the gastrointestinal tract, causing diarrhea.
Tea, coffee and other stimulants (also decaffeinated)
Caffeine is definitely a powerful diarrhea stimulant, especially when you get too much. Many people abuse coffee when they are on a diet, because it fills the stomach by blocking the appetite, and it doesn't contain calories. However, due to its stimulating power, it would be better to reduce the doses.
This also applies to tea and sugar-free drinks. In this second case, however, we must make a clarification, as the problem does not lie in the drinks themselves, but in some sweeteners which have among their side effects precisely that of causing diarrhea. Among these in particular aspartame, splenda, and sugars derived from alcohol, such as erythritol and xylitol, which cause stress on the digestive system.
The side effects of diarrhea while on keto
Now let's talk about an important aspect that you need to pay attention to. Diarrhea can cause severe dehydration when you're on a diet. And when this happens while you're losing weight, so too body fluids - because your body is burning glycogen stores and this is releasing water - you're even more likely to find yourself dehydrated.
This is why when you are on a diet it is even more important to stay hydrated to avoid dangerous situations. In any case, pay attention to these symptoms:
- blurred vision;
- dry mouth;
- abdominal cramps;
- sense of bloating.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, drink plenty of water and add salt to balance electrolytes. You can also add foods that are easy to digest, such as centrifuges or broth.
But be careful: when severe abdominal pain occurs, accompanied by fever, blood loss in the stool, loss of consciousness, a constant sense of fatigue, then we are facing a broader and more severe problem. In this case, the advice is to interrupt the diet and consult a doctor.
How to prevent diarrhea on the keto diet
There are a few steps you can take to prevent diarrhea while on the keto diet. First, drink plenty of water and add electrolytes such as magnesium, sodium, calcium and potassium, always following the recommended doses. Avoid caffeine and artificially sweetened sodas.
Also, when you go off keto, reintroduce the foods you've been phasing out so you don't shock your digestive system.