The Scoop on Poop: Bowel Changes on the Keto Diet

Hip2Keto may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

More Health Tips

woman holding poop coffee mug

You read that right — we’re talking about poop, people!

Dramatic changes in one’s diet will almost always result in temporary irregular bowel movements, which can be a little stressful! Constipation and loose stool make the top of the list of side-effects when starting a keto diet, but there’s usually nothing to be concerned about as bowel movements will typically normalize over time.

Because ketogenic foods are nutritiously dense, lower in volume, and highly absorbable, this makes it natural to produce less waste. So, if your bowel routine changes and ends up being less frequent, but you’re not experiencing any pain or discomfort, you’re likely A-OK.

Many people think constipation after starting the ketogenic diet is a result of a lack of fiber when this is generally not the case (if you are choosing good foods). It’s likely the result of the initial diuretic effect (also known as water loss), along with a depletion of electrolytes. Your gut is also changing and learning to adapt to the higher intake of dietary fat, which is why people often experience a bit of bowel irregularity.

How to manage it:

poop bowel changes keto diet – stay hydrated

  • Stay well hydrated — Dehydration can have a dramatic effect on your bowel movements. Drinking doesn’t need to be excessive, but pay extra attention to your body’s signals (headache; fatigue; dark, smelly urine; thirst; etc.) to stay appropriately hydrated.
  • Electrolytes are important — Along with dehydration, a very low-carb diet can change the way your body handles electrolytes, resulting in deficiencies and imbalances. Electrolytes (specifically sodium, potassium, and magnesium) help with muscle contraction, including those that help move food through your gut. On the ketogenic diet, consuming more foods and fluids high in electrolytes may help minimize side-effects.

To aid in digestion, try to eat keto foods with the following:

poop bowel changes keto diet – pickles on a cutting board

  • Sodium — Salt, bacon, pickles, fermented vegetables, cured meats, fish.
  • Potassium — Avocados, salmon, dark leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, nuts, mushrooms.
  • Magnesium — Nuts, artichokes, fish, spinach.
  • Fiber — Non-starchy vegetables: spinach, celery, avocado, asparagus, bok choy, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.

Other options that may help smooth the way:

poop bowel changes keto diet – a store shelf stocked with magnesium supplements

  • MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil — Not only can it help with ketosis and fat burning, but it also aids in constipation due to rapid absorption. Incorporate pure MCT oil slowly by starting with 1 Tbsp per day and increase up to 3 Tbsp per day as tolerated. Try drinking it in your morning coffee!
  • Magnesium supplement — Your need for magnesium on keto does not increase like sodium and potassium, however, studies have shown that nearly half the US population is deficient. Magnesium is also effective as a mild laxative and can help with indigestion and constipation.
  • Aloe vera juice (from inner fillet) — It contains a natural laxative and may help to soothe and calm the gut.

But what if it’s the opposite? A.K.A. Diarrhea…

poop bowel changes keto diet – humorous men and women bathroom signs

On the flip side, some people experience looser stool when beginning the ketogenic diet. Again, this is likely the result of the gut bacteria changing and adapting to the increased fat intake. Surprisingly, aside from MCT oil, the above recommendations for constipation also apply for diarrhea — increased need for electrolytes, fiber, and water.

If you are already using MCT oil, you may want to consider temporarily cutting it out and then reintroducing it slowly, in smaller doses. You could also consider adding probiotics and fermented foods.

In the end, remember to be patient with your body, and especially your gut. Give it time to adapt and heal from the many years of processing intolerable foods.

Speaking of poop, here are our fave poop-related products!

Join The Discussion

Comments 2

  1. David

    The fat that increases in you gut from new on Keto or even too much fat increases water in the intestines to help pass the fat. No definitive studies saying that bacteria levels have changed dramatically. Actually no good studies prove probiotics work.

  2. Janneyk

    The bacteria is changing because when you cut sugar out , candida die off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

OOPS! Be sure to login or register to access this feature. It's FREE!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?