Ask Our Keto Nutritionist: Laxatives, Menopause, & Osteoarthritis
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Should I be taking laxatives?
I am assuming this question stems from constipation after changing to a ketogenic diet. Don’t worry, this isn’t uncommon and typically short lived. Anytime anyone makes a change in diet, bowel changes, such as constipation and/or diarrhea can occur. Very, very rarely should anyone have to use any laxatives on keto if one is following a well-formulated ketogenic diet that is full of:
- non-starchy vegetables
- healthy sources of quality fats and proteins
- adequate fluid and electrolyte intake
Electrolyte imbalances are often the issue and can be resolved with increasing sodium, potassium, and magnesium in the diet. Also, be very mindful to drink plenty of water. Consider MCT oil, which can also be used to help not only with constipation, but ketosis as well.
Are there benefits of keto for menopausal women? If so, what are those benefits?
Keto offers many health benefits for a variety of conditions including the potential to help minimize symptoms of menopause caused by hormone imbalances.
There have not been any particular trials on keto and menopausal women, but we do know that keto can help certain things disrupted by menopause. Specifically, keto:
- lowers insulin, which is tightly connected to sex hormones
- aids in weight loss
- prevents weight gain
- increases energy levels
- can improve sleep
Remember, keto is not a diet, but just a different way of eating that enables your body to tap into a better, cleaner, and more efficient fuel source (fat vs sugar) for your body… in turn, it runs better and feels better!
I have osteoarthritis and it was getting very painful. I didn’t eat beef and pork, and the pain reduced greatly.
Since this discovery, I’ve been eating mainly eggs, chicken, and salmon. Any suggestions?
Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition which affects the cartilage that cushions your joints. Certain people may feel symptoms of osteoarthritis flare up with certain foods like meats, dairy, salt, sugar, alcohol, and an over-consumption of foods high in omega 6 fatty acids (poor quality meats, processed foods, and oils).
Because meat is often served with other foods and seasonings, you may want to isolate the meat to rule out other culprits that could be causing the inflammation. Here are some things to consider:
1. What were you eating with these particular meats (sauces, sides, marinades, etc.) that may have contributed? Certain ingredients such as MSG and processed oils can exacerbate inflammation.
2. Quality of meat. There is a big difference between grain-fed, grass-fed, and grass-finished meats, and one of them is omega-6 fatty acid content, which is pro-inflammatory. There is a higher concentration of omega-6s over omega 3s in grain-fed meat. Even grass-fed cows, unfortunately, may have just eaten a blade of grass at one point in time, but were then moved to a feedlot and fed grain. Grass-finished on the other hand has been raised and fed grass the entire life of the animal as well as remaining free of hormones and antibiotics. Grass-finished has a higher concentration of omega 3s, which are anti-inflammatory.
My point is, you could try to experiment with different higher quality meats without any sauces, marinades, or side dishes, just to rule out that nothing else was triggering the inflammation.
Keep a food diary and consider seeing a doctor if you have no relief. I would also recommend taking a high-quality fish oil supplement daily, which contains omega 3s and is shown to reduce inflammation.
The good news is the keto diet lowers overall inflammation, so know you are on the right track! Unfortunately, in the end, you may just have to avoid these foods altogether, but eating eggs, chicken, and salmon are highly nutritious and you wouldn’t be lacking anything in your diet by avoiding just beef and pork.